A Natural History of Sydney: Alec Chisholm’s Nature Fantasy in Australia
With Russell McGregor
The back-cover blurb of Alec Chisholm’s 1932 book, Nature Fantasy in Australia, claimed it as an Australian version of Gilbert White’s eighteenth-century classic, The Natural History of Selbourne. Like White’s book, Nature Fantasy was not only a study of plants and animals but also an affectionate tribute to a particular place. Chisholm extolled the glories of nature around Sydney, to arose his readers’ love of the environment and desire to preserve it. Emotional attachment to place was a pervasive motif in this pioneer conservationist’s writings. Russell McGregor's talk will explain why Chisholm considered intimacy with nature essential to a conservationist ethos.
Russell McGregor is an Adjunct Professor of History at James Cook University. His publications include several prize-winning books and numerous articles on historical representations of Aboriginal people, environmental history and Australian nationalism. He is currently writing a biography of the popular natural history writer and pioneer conservationist, Alec Chisholm.