The months of January and February have marked the first of a number of research trips to come during my PhD. I have spent four weeks in Canberra working with our project partner, the National Library of Australia. adobe creative cloud . The library treated me to the privileges enjoyed by the NLA’s 2010 summer scholars, providing me with an excellent opportunity to discuss ideas and resources with other historians.
With the invaluable advice of the staff at the NLA, I uncovered a wealth of information and potential sources. My time was spent reading manuscripts (predominantly diaries and letters), newspapers, rare books, looking through the pictures collection and getting a feel for the breadth of the unique map collection.
The manuscripts collection contained, for example, first-hand accounts of the effect of flood on a farm near Wollongong, of the Black Thursday bushfires in Victoria and years of agricultural and pastoral returns.
Rare newspapers provided editorials criticising the continued poor state of roads following yet another destructive wet season and called for agricultural societies to promote research into crops that were resistant to the ravages of the Australian climate.
Material from the library’s collections will be very helpful for developing in-depth case studies of how past weather and climate conditions influenced society over the 1788–1860 period.
Along with my time spent at NLA, I also researched the Australian Agricultural Company records at the Noel Butlin Archive at ANU, presented a poster at the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society’s 17th Annual Conference and gave a seminar at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.
– Claire Fenby, PhD Candidate