Inaugural Robin-Griffiths Environmental History Lecture: Prof. Katie Holmes

Inaugural Robin-Griffiths Environmental History Lecture: Prof. Katie Holmes
Sunrise over Lake Hattah, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. Image by Dancar79 via Wikimedia Commons.

About the Birds and the Trees: Reading Robin and Griffiths and writing environmental history

The work of Libby Robin and Tom Griffiths has been foundational to the field of environmental history – nationally and internationally. This paper reflects on their legacies and the ways they have shaped my own work. Gathering together my interests in gender and oral history with environmental history and environmental humanities, I embark on some time-travelling to Victoria’s north west. There, at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, I find evidence of deep-time history; campaigns to protect the birds, the trees and the water; and an array of characters whose passionate engagement with this place created a shared sense of wonder and meaning, and a firm belief that this Country was to be cherished and protected.


This lecture was held in hybrid format, in-person in the Forestry Lecture Theatre at ANU and online via Zoom, on 8 December 2022, 5:30-7pm. 

The ANU Historical Journal has published an edited version of Katie's lecture.


About the Speaker: 

Katie Holmes is Professor of History and co-director of the Centre for the Study of the Inland at La Trobe University. She lives on unceded Wurundjeri country. Her work integrates environmental, gender, oral and cultural history and she has a particular interest in the interplay between an individual, their culture and environment. She is currently working on projects researching the cultures of drought in regional Victoria, and water cultures and conflicts around water in the Murray Darling Basin. Her books include Spaces in Her Day: Women’s diaries of the 1920s-1930s (1995), Between the Leaves: Stories of women, writing and gardens (2011), and the co-authored Mallee Country: land, people, history (2020). Katie will hold the 2023-24 Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Visiting Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University.


About the Robin-Griffiths Annual Environmental History Lecture:

The Australian National University's Centre for Environmental History is pleased to announce the Robin-Griffiths Annual Environmental History Lecture. This Annual Lecture honours the Centre's founders, Emeritus Professors Libby Robin and Tom Griffiths, who have so generously fostered the field of environmental history and cultivated a community of scholars. We hope this annual event will go a small way to recognising their enormous contribution to the field and to share new research in environmental history.


Image gallery

Date & time

Thu 08 Dec 2022, 5.30–7pm


Forestry Lecture Theatre, Forestry Building, 48 Linnaeus Way, Canberra, 2601


Prof. Katie Holmes


Rohan Howitt


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