How have individuals and communities responded to change and interacted with the physical environments around them? In Earth and Industry Erik Eklund and Julie Fenley assemble contributors to examine historic and contemporary relations of people and the environment in an area – Gippsland, Victoria, Australia – built upon a many-layered history of environmental modifications and once again on the cusp of rapid economic and social change.
Taking account of Aboriginal and ‘white’ relations, ‘old’ and ‘new’ forms of pastoralism and agriculture, water and coastal management and fishing, mining and industrialisation, forestry, heritage management, and increasing political tensions in relation to the environment, the result is a story of challenges, hardships and conflicts, as well as resourcefulness and innovation.
The collection offers an encompassing portrait of the region, exploring its historical, social and geographical diversity. It takes us to parts of the region which belie the predominant media image of the smoke stacks of the Latrobe Valley, but will also be of interest to those seeking to understand the complex interplay of ‘country’ and ‘city’ within a world of international economic connections and flows.