A Fine Country to Starve in? Australian Geography Past and Present
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This paper describes the development of the academic discipline of geography in Australia from the beginning of European settlement in 1788 to the present day. While the subject material of Australian geography has been strongly focussed on the nation’s physical and human environments and potential, the short history of the development of geography in Australia and the country’s colonial and postcolonial circumstances have meant that intellectually distinctive Australian approaches to the discipline have largely failed to evolve. This paper is therefore mainly concerned with the broader social, political and administrative contexts within which Australian geography has developed over the last two centuries or so. Its main argument is that, by virtue of its distinctive, diverse and dynamic nature, Australia has consistently provided a fruitful environment for geographical scholarship. However, for most of Australia’s post European settlement history, government and official support for the discipline has been limited. Readers are invited to compare this Australian experience with the history of the discipline of geography in Brazil.
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