Australia’s Marine Environment: The History and Politics of Exploitation and Conservation

Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 05:00 PM


Melbourne, VIC 3000
Google map and directions

Event contact

Alicia Cerreto

0422 519 322

Australia’s Marine Environment: The History and Politics of Exploitation and Conservation

A recording of this event can be found here: 

Climate change and resource exploitation is posing acute challenges for Australia’s marine environment. In this webinar three historians draw on their research in different contexts and cultures and together address key issues in the history and politics of marine exploitation and conservation. Lynette Russell (Monash University) reflects on ‘Looking Out, Looking In: visitors from the sea rethinking ocean voyages and Indigenous Australians’.  Alessandro Antonello (Flinders University) examines the history of ‘Protecting and possessing the cold Southern Ocean’. Joseph Christensen (University of Western Australia) considers 'Reconstructing a history of recreational fishing in Western Australia'.

Lynette Russell (Monash University), ‘Looking Out, Looking In: visitors from the sea rethinking ocean voyages and Indigenous Australians’: This presentation will consider maritime history and voyages to Australia of the deep past (65,000 years ago) up to the 18th century.

Alessandro Antonello (Flinders University): ‘Protecting and possessing the cold Southern Ocean’: Whales, seals, penguin, fish and krill in the Southern Ocean have all been variously exploited, studied, and protected across the centuries, and Australia has played a prominent and particular role in this history.

Joseph Christensen (University of Western Australia),   'Reconstructing a history of recreational fishing in Western Australia': This presentation outlines some major changes in recreational fishing activity post-1950 and reflects upon the value of historical knowledge for marine scientists and managers in the 21st century.

Presenter Bios 

Alessandro Antonello is a historian at Flinders University, Adelaide, who works on the environmental history and history of science of Antarctica and oceans globally in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He is the author of The Greening of Antarctica: Assembling an International Environment (2019).

Joseph Christensen works on the maritime and environmental history of Western Australia. His publications include the co-edited volumes Historical Perspectives on Fisheries Exploitation in the Indo-Pacific (2014) and Pearls, People and Power: Pearling and Indian Ocean Worlds (2020).

Lynette Russell AM is Laureate Professor and director of Global Encounters and First Nations People: 1000 years of Australian history


Al Thomson, Professor of History at Monash University, will host the evening and HCV Executive Officer Alicia Cerreto and Monash University's Dr Susie Protschky will facilitate the discussion.


The seminar is part of an ongoing series, Making Public Histories, that is offered jointly by the Monash University History Program, the History Council of Victoria and the Old Treasury Building. Each seminar aims to explore issues and approaches in making public histories. The seminars are open, free of charge, to anyone interested in the creation and impact of history in contemporary society. Click HERE to learn about other events in the series.

We thank the series sponsors, Monash University Publishingthe Monash University History Program and the Old Treasury Building:

Monash University Publishing - some current titles         

Old Treasury Building                                      Monash University History Program

and the organising partners:

Old Treasury Building     Monash University History Program      HCV



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The History Council of Victoria Incorporated (HCV) is the peak body for history in the Australian state of Victoria. Its vision is to connect Victorians with history and to inspire engagement with the past, their identity and the world today. The HCV champions the work of historians and the value of history. It recognises that history can be written about any place, any person, any period. The HCV advocates why history matters.

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The HCV was formed as an advisory body in 2001 and incorporated in 2003. It comprises representatives from cultural and educational institutions and heritage bodies; history teachers and curriculum advisors; academic and professional historians; and local, Indigenous, community and specialist history organisations.

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The History Council of Victoria acknowledges the State Library of Victoria and the Public Record Office Victoria for supply of the archival images that appear on this website.

We acknowledge the National Film and Sound Archive for the right to use of the video footage on the home page, titled "Melbourne: Life in Australia (1966)".

Image credits

  • Italian sailors on ship at Port Melbourne 1938, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese procession in Collins near Elizabeth Street 1901, Harvie & Sutcliffe, photographers, State Library of Victoria
  • People’s homes, Aboriginal station Coranderrk 1878, Fred Kruger Photographer, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese nurses at Children’s Hospital under scholarship 1947, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Ladies physical culture class VRI Melbourne c1931, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001, 011/02
  • Melbourne Cup, Derby and Oaks Day, Flemington Racecourse 1936, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001/4802, 372/30
  • Flinders Street viaduct at foot of Market Street with advertisement for McRobertson’s Chocolate on bridge, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12800/P0003, ADV 1342