History Matters: Water and Drought Histories

The new decade has been heralded in Australia by drought, bushfires and flood capturing the attention nationally and making headlines around the world. Environmental histories in Australia bring into focus our challenging relationship with waterscapes, fire, drought and climate change and highlight the memories of those who live through these catastrophic events. How can professional historians help shape the dialogue around our environmental future? A panel of environmental historians will discuss their approach to contested histories and knowledge of weather and climate in Australia.



Emily is a environmental and cultural historian at Macquarie University. Emily’s research has focused on the Murray-Darling Basin: environmental histories of rivers and wetlands; and scientific approaches to weather and climate from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Emily aims to develop the role of environmental history to understand waterscapes of this region and initiate dialogue with the environmental humanities.


Rebecca Jones is an historian of climate, the environment, rural health and wellbeing. Her book  Slow Catastrophes:

Living with Drought in Australia followed histories of eight farming families, stretching from the 1870s to the 1950s with a focus on private lives and inner thoughts, revealed by personal diaries. The book was written while Rebecca was postdoctoral fellow in the School of History and Centre for Environmental History at the Australian National University and was shortlisted for the  NSW Premier’s History Book Award 2018.



Lisa Murray is PHA NSW President and the City Historian, overseeing a diverse program at the City of Sydney Council encompassing community, civic and urban history.


Due to legislation prohibiting this being a physical meeting, it will take place online via Zoom Cloud Meetings.

When: May 6, 2020 05:30 PM Eastern Australian Standard Time (QLD, NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS)

Register in advance for this meeting:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For further information see: https://www.oralhistorynsw.org.au/events/2020/5/6/history-matters-may?fbclid=IwAR1glD12pI2EUPMCWnIEOvjw40tzpjXW2IW4CNE2rlBi6XQ6r2xV8Do-8Ic