The August edition of the History Matters seminar series hosted by the Professional Historians Association (NSW & ACT) and the State Library of NSW is happening on 4 August 2021, 5:30pm to 6:30pm (AEST), virtually via Zoom. Registration available here. The theme of this seminar: “Saltwater Histories”

Environmental history is a critical research area in a time of changing climate and the pressures of over-development and over-harvesting on biodiversity. Grappling with historical change in ocean and estuary places shows new ways to think about the collective future. Our speakers share their projects that steer a path through saltwater zones.  How has history made a difference to oyster reefs in NSW estuaries and the way we understand the Southern Ocean? 

Alessandro Antonello is a senior research fellow in history at Flinders University in South Australia. He is an environmental historian working on questions of international environmental protection, knowledge, policy, and geopolitics in the second half of the twentieth century, currently concentrating on the world ocean and Antarctica. He is the author of The Greening of Antarctica: Assembling the International Environment (2019). 

Charlotte Jenkins is an aquatic ecologist and fisheries manager with the NSW Department of Primary Industry. She is a key project team member undertaking oyster reef restoration in estuaries along the New South Wales Coast. Oyster reefs were once a common feature of estuary life in Australia, however, since 1788 colonisers have destroyed 98% of them. One aspect of this project is historical research to map the early locations of oyster reefs.

Chair: Anna Clark is an Associate Professor in the Australian Centre for Public History, University of Technology, Sydney. While her academic focus is on the history of education, she is also a keen fisherwoman, travelling all over Australia to cast a line and set a net. Her passion led her to author Australia’s first comprehensive history of fishing, titled The Catch: The Story of Fishing in Australia.