A Sunburnt Country: Australian Environmental History


This course treats the environmental history of Australia, examining the impact of human beings on the continent from ancient times to the present and attempting to understand the cultural assumptions about the environment which guided human practices. It will engage with contemporary debates within the literature on environmental history and provide students with opportunities to conduct original research in the field.



  • Semester 2 - 2016


  • Semester 2 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

1. Design and conduct research projects in Australian environmental history

2. Discuss the historical impact of Australians on their environment and the attitudes which underpin the human use of the environment.

3. Critically analyse issues in Australian environmental history in both written and oral form.


This course will begin with an introduction to the field of environmental history, its principal proponents and its approach to the study of the past. It will then proceed chronologically and thematically through a range of specific aspects of environmental history, which may include: the relationship between traditional Indigenous society and the environment, the impact of systematic burning by Aboriginal peoples, the early European perceptions of the Australian environment, the impact of pastoralism, cities and the environment, the concept of drought, the role of naturalists and captive animal display, the environment and Australian national identity, the environmental movement including heritage legislation, and global warming. Lectures and seminars will be supplemented with practical demonstrations.

Replacing Course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): HIST3065. Students who have successfully completed HIST3065 are not eligible to enrol in HIST2065.


This course replaces HIST3065. If you have successfully completed HIST3065 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed Knowledge

20 units in History at 1000 level or equivalent

Assessment Items

Written Assignment: Essays / Written Assignments

In Term Test: Examination: Class

Participation: Group/tutorial participation and contribution

Contact Hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Classroom discussions will be supplemented with practical exercises on campus.