Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Environmental History Network

Our purposes:

To provide a means to communicate with each other and exchange information about forthcoming events and new publications in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

To provide a portal with links to other organisations in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand with interests in environmental history, and to provide a portal to Australia for international groups with interests in global environmental history.

Who are we?

The Environmental History Network was established in 1997 to facilitate communications between scholars working across a range of departments at the Australian National University and surrounding government, business, cultural and scientific institutions and independent scholars. Since its foundation, it has expanded to include all states in Australia as well as Aotearoa New Zealand, and there are members in a range of other countries with interests in Australian and/or New Zealand environmental history. Anyone researching environmental history in all or any of its many manifestations is welcome to join the e-mail list and have their profile on our website.

How to join: Subscribe using the form to the right or e-mail the Network Convenor Alessandro Antonello at Flinders University (alessandro.antonello@flinders.edu.au). Jess Urwin of ANU is the website and newsletter editor, and you can contact him too (jessica.urwin@anu.edu.au).

What is environmental history?

Environmental history is the study of the interactions between people and nature in the past, and how they have changed with time. Australasian environmental history includes:

  • the environmental history of Australia and New Zealand,
  • environmental history that compares Australia and/or New Zealand with other places, and
  • environmental history being done in Australia or New Zealand about other places

Environmental history is a rich collection of inquiries into the transformation of the natural world by human action and the consequences for both nature and people. It takes nature as an actor in history as much as it takes people as actors in nature. It aims at a synthesis, although the weighting given to human or natural agency varies considerably between inquiries.

It overlaps many areas of the humanities, the sciences and the social sciences and draws in archeologists, foresters, geographers, historians and scientists of many sorts, for example. It includes or is closely related to fields such as agricultural history, forest history, garden history and historical climatology.

Environmental history is often stimulated by a concern for current environmental problems. If we know more about how they arose, perhaps we can do better in the future.


The image at the bottom of this website is from a work by Mandy Martin (1952 — 2021) entitled ‘Groundplane’. For more information on the artist and her work, please see http://mandymartinartist.com/.