Victoria's Native Vegetation: History, Heritage, Politics

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 05:00 PM


Zoom webinar
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Google map and directions

Event contact

Margaret Birtley

0418 814 957

This webinar was recorded and is freely available for online viewing and sharing:

In recognition of 2020 as the UN International Year of Plant Health, this webinar will illuminate the challenging and contested past, present and future of Victoria’s native vegetation.

Professional historian Dr Gary Presland, author of many books about Victoria’s natural and human heritage (including Understanding our natural world: the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria 1880-2015) will speak on 'The nature of Melbourne’s history', about the importance of native vegetation in understanding past human activity.

Professor Mike Clarke from the Research Centre for Future Landscapes at La Trobe University will consider the place of fire in the history of Victoria’s vegetation: 'The Bush will be OK, it’s evolved to cope with fire…hasn’t it?'.

Dr Lilian Pearce is an environmental historian and a research fellow on the ARC-funded project Owning nature: mapping the contested country of private protected areas (University of Tasmania & RMIT). Her presentation, 'Critical Histories for Ecological Restoration', will consider the changing role of history in ecological restoration theory and practice.

The discussion will be chaired by Professor Alistair Thomson of Monash University.

To register and receive the Zoom link a few days before the event, please click the Send RSVP button at the foot of this page. 

Mountain Ash 2013 - burn edge from 2009   International Year of Plant Health - logo, 2020

Image credit: Mike Clarke, Cambarville, Victoria. This 2014 photograph shows a dead Mountain Ash tree that most likely began its life before Europeans landed in Australia. The dense saplings surrounding it germinated in the weeks following the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009.

This webinar is part of an ongoing seminar 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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Our calendar lists all upcoming public events arranged by the History Council of Victoria (HCV), plus events in Victoria, Australia, that are added by our Friends and Members.

If you are organising an event that relates to History, we encourage you to publicise it on our website.

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As the peak body for history in Victoria, the History Council makes submissions on current issues. In doing this, the HCV Board is guided by its Advocacy Policy and by the Value of History, a statement developed co-operatively by the HCV and the History Councils of New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

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Since 2015, the HCV has been pleased to sponsor the Years 9 and 10 category of the Historical Fiction Competition organised by the History Teachers' Association of Victoria.

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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.

As the peak body for history, the HCV has both ‘outward-looking’ roles (including advocacy and representation to government and the wider community, consultation, community education, and networking with allied interest groups) and ‘inward-looking’ roles (including member support, information dissemination, and networking between members).



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