Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course treats the environmental history of Australia, examining the impact of humans 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 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Design and conduct research projects in Australian environmental history

2. Evaluate 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.

4. Demonstrate intermediate written and visual communication skills, and information literacy skills, relevant to history.


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 Australian 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, environmental activism, and climate change. Lectorials will be supplemented with practical demonstrations.


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 (40%)

In Term Test: Examination: Class (20%)

Online Learning Activity: Online task (40%)

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.