Seminar – Black Saturday at Steels Creek: initial directions and decisions

Dr Peter Stanley Centre for Historical Research, National Museum of Australia Time: 4.15-5.30pm, Wednesday 31 March 2010 McDonald Room, Menzies Library Australian National University On 7 February 2009 bushfires devastated large parts of rural Victoria, eventually killing 173 people and burning over 45 square kilometres of bush and farmland and 2000 buildings. Among the many places affected was the small ‘locality’ of Steels Creek, home to about 200 people living around a valley 10 kilometres north of Yarra Glen and 5 km south-east of Kinglake. Steels Creek lost ten people killed and over 50 dwellings destroyed when the fire roared out of the Kinglake National Park late on the afternoon of Black Saturday. In the fire’s aftermath leaders of the local community wisely decided that they needed more than help repairing fences. They invited historian Tom Griffiths to consider framing a project involving historians helping to understand what had happened. Tom invited the National Museum to join him and soon enough I became part of a small team (including Tom and film-maker Moira Fahy), the Victorian Bushfire Project. As a part of this project I am now writing a book, Black Saturday at Steels Creek: Fire and an Australian Community, due to be published by Scribe in 2012, which will trace what happened and reflect on how people experienced this traumatic event. Through this study we might better understand the place and its people, and even larger issues about fire and ‘community’ in modern rural Australia. In this paper, about six months after starting serious work, I want to discuss how I’m approaching a venture new in subject matter...

Dispossession and Forest Conservation

Fenner School Public Seminar 1-2pm Thursday 25th March 2010 Fenner School Forestry Lecture Theatre, Forestry building 48 Dispossession and Forest Conservation John Dargavel and Edwina Loxton Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU. Dispossession is the obverse, the hidden face of forest conservation and the struggles to create national parks and protect forest biodiversity in special reserves. In this seminar, we sketch its presence from mediaeval Germany and imperial India to the impacts of global environmentalism in Tanzania and the Sundarbans, and to the national parks and wild rivers movements in present-day Australia. Dispossession has led to peasant wars, encroachments and protests, and attempts in Australia to offset the impacts with structural adjustment payments. The history of the intimate relationship of forest conservation with dispossession displays the increasing and extending scale of state...

Professor Elliott Sober masterclass and talks, Sydney and Canberra, Mar/April 2010

Elliott Sober, Hans Reichenbach Professor and Wiliam F. Vilas Research Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison will be working with members of The Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science, running a masterclass, and giving talks, in Semester 1, 2010. Professor Sober’s research is in the philosophy of science, especially in the philosophy of evolutionary biology. His books include: The Nature of Selection – Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus (1984), Reconstructing the Past – Parsimony, Evolution, and Inference (1988), Philosophy of Biology (1993), Unto Others – The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior (1998, coauthored with David Sloan Wilson), and Evidence and Evolution – the Logic Behind the Science (2008). March 30: Masterclass March 31: Colloquium with University of Sydney Department of Philosophy April 15: Colloquium at Australian National University April 19: HPS seminar at University of Sydney April 22: Sydney Ideas Open public lecture Further information:...

E.H.F. Swain and the Battle of Forestry Versus Agriculture

Dr Gregory Barton Centre for Environmental History, ANU Time: 4.15-5.30pm, Wednesday 10 March 2010 Venue: McDonald Room, Menzies Library, Australian National University Some foresters began to question the dominance of agriculture during the early to mid twentieth century. They did so by advocating massive global afforestation programs that would redefine state land management policies. E.H.F. Swain is one such example. A forester who served as chair of the forestry board in Queensland from 1920- 1931 and chief commissioner of the New South Wales forestry commission from 1935-1948, he voiced the most extreme perspective of any forester throughout the British Empire. He used his position as a chief commissioner in New South Wales during and after World War II to advocate an entirely new vision of society and its economy: instead of supporting the advance of the wheat belt across the world, he sought to create a society more heavily based on forestry. A prophet and bureaucrat that wrote in the style of Thomas Carlyle, he advanced a radically green vision of wholeness that died with the British Empire. Dr Gregory Barton is a Research Fellow with the Centre for Environmental History at the Australian National University. All welcome. Please contact Shino Konishi (shino.konishi@anu.edu.au) if you have any...