Friday, 4 July 2008

RHSV & RHS lecture - A land specially dedicated to the unforseen

The El Nino droughts of 1864-1869.
This is a joint event held with the Royal Societyof Victoria
Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Don Garden
Where:Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
When: Thursday 7 August
Time: 6.00 pm Delicious savoury refreshments - 6.30 pm Lecture
Cost: $15.00 members of RHSV & RSV - $20.00 non members

Bookings essential: 9326 9288 or

The 1864-1869 drought was one of the most damaging and severe in colonial history. The talk focuses on the effects of the droughts on the eastern colonies, particularly on the pastoral industry.

This was a critical time in the expansion of the pastoral industry as it moved increasingly into arid and semi-arid regions. Unfamiliarity with the environmental conditions in the regions combined with a couple of good seasons in the early 1860s had encouraged overconfidence and misjudgements in stocking the land.

The unpredictable and punishing nature of the climate caused considerable pain and promoted reflection on the nature of the colonial experience. It also resulted in the first significant but vain attempts to 'drought proof' the colonies.

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