The ANU Archives and the Friends of the Noel Butlin Archives Centre are hosting a lecture by Associate Professor Ruth Morgan titled “Archives for a Dry and Drying Land”. The lecture will be online on 20 October 2020, 6-7pm (Canberra time). Register here.

By all accounts, 2020 has been a remarkable year.
Bushfires of unprecedented duration and spread, then a pandemic, have led us all to wonder, when will this be over? When will we return to normal? But what is normal in a dry and drying land is especially elusive.
The archives can offer insights into how peoples past grappled with similar uncertainties, as non-Indigenous peoples reckoned with the continent’s unfamiliar climes. Through their stories, this lecture explores what the disasters of 2020 have revealed about our relationships with the environment, and how we live on the driest inhabited continent on Earth.


Ruth Morgan is an environmental historian and historian of science at the Australian National University where she is Director of the Centre for Environmental History. Ruth has published widely on the climate and water histories of Australia and the British Empire, with the support of the Australian Research Council and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

She is the author of Running Out? Water in Western Australia (UWA Publishing, 2015) and is a Lead Author for Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, contributing to the Sixth Assessment Report due in 2021.
Ruth undertook her doctoral studies at the University of Western Australia, and was until recently based at Monash University in Melbourne.