Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Melbourne Day Lecture - Reconstructing the natural history of Melbourne

Speaker: Dr Gary Presland
Where: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Monday 31 August
Tea / coffee 12.30 - Lecture 1.00pm
Members Free - Non members $5.50

Melbourne is built upon a variety of geological formations ranging in age from more than 400 million years to as little as 5,000 years. It is difficult now to appreciate this diversity of urban setting, which is unusual in itself, but it is even more difficult to recognise that these features have had enduring impacts on the history of this city. The natural landscapes of the Melbourne area have in fact played a dominant role in the siting and subsequent development of this city. In the process of turning John Batman's place for a village into the vastly different place we see today, much about the original environment has been lost.

However it is still possible to see how the city we have built owes something to local natural features. Gary Presland will explain how he went about reconstructing the physical environments encountered by the original white settlers in this area. He will demonstrate how Melbourne was shaped by its natural setting.

Lecture - 100 years of the Bureau of Meteorology

Speaker: Dr David Day
Where: Royal Society of Victoria, 9 Victoria Street, Melbourne
Thursday 27 August
Members $20 - Non members $25

Bookings essential - 9326 9288

A joint Royal Historical Society of Victoria / Royal Society of Victoria Lecture

For decades meteorologists were derided by cartoonists for getting their forecasts wrong. It was not just the comfort of Australians at stake, it was also their livelihoods and sometimes even their lives. Floods, bushfires and cyclones all took their toll, while pilots and their passengers regularly risked their lives in absence of timely storm warnings.

For most of the twentieth century meteorologists did not dare to make seasonal predictions. That has now changed. Meteorologists now make confident predictions about the weather for the coming week whle climatologists now make hesitant predictions for the coming seasons. The climate records collected over the past century have become a vital tool in assessing the pace and direction of climate change. David Day discusses these and other issues in his talk.

RHSV Lectures - New Historians Evening

Speakers: Dr Marina Larsson and Dr Adrian Threlfall
Where: RHSV 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Tuesday 11 August
Tea / coffee 5.15 Lecture 5.45
Members & students Free - Non members $5.50

Shattered Anzacs: Living with the scars of war is the title of the talk, based on her book of the same title, by Marina Larsson. The book documents the story of thousands of Australian families who welcomed home soldiers disabled by the First World War. Her talk will provide a poignant account of the lasting impact of the physical injury and shell shock upon returned soldiers, and explores the profound consequences of disablement for their kin.

WWII troops response the shift from desert to jungle training is the topic of Adrian Threfall's talk. A complete transformation of Australian Army's doctrine and training was necessary if a successful transition from combat in the vast featureless wastes of the Western Desert to the oppressive and claustrophobic tropical jungle of the South West Pacific Islands was to occur. How did this transition occur? How did the Australian Army transform itself into one of the most professional, experienced and highly trained forces in jungle warfare?