Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeEnvironmentLand and People – People and Environment Blog

Land and People – People and Environment Blog

My name is Patrick Bailey. This is the last of three articles I prepared as an intern at the National Museum of Australia (as part of the Australian National Internship Program), which explored the interaction between human and non-human forces in southern New South Wales and the formation of ACT The expression of continuity and change of community identity. The final article will explore how this land has been affected by humans and formed an ongoing relationship that resonates with today’s inhabitants.

Animal husbandry

A more common stereotype of the Australian high mountains involves the presence of brumbies and cattle and their environmental impact. However, these two animals have only recently been added to the area. Before the arrival of Europeans, such animals did not exist here.These new species, along with rabbits, dogs and sheep, and plants such as wheat and barley, changed the landscape forever and always. However, it wasn’t until the 1850s that animal husbandry really changed the environment. Starting in the 1850s, herders developed new and innovative methods to cultivate the land. One technique is to use alpine terrain in summer. This has opened up large fertile land for cattle, sheep and horses that were not previously used in animal husbandry. Horses allow people to cross the landscape in an unprecedented way.Implement Snow rental According to 1884 Land law Further transform the landscape into a more controlled landscape. With the introduction of new species and strict grazing in the highlands, the land has undergone major changes, including severe soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, and the spread of animal “pests”.

Despite disagreements on this issue, many local communities believe that these animals represent the region’s animal husbandry heritage and are an example of living heritage. Their existence is a constant reminder of how the environment can give new forms of identity and human life. /Non-human interaction.

Gold mining

Perhaps the most significant direct impact on the Australian Alps in the 1850s was the gold found in Kiandra. This led to a gold rush in the area, and it is estimated that more than 10,000 people have gathered in the area. Lasting only about two years (1859-1861), this sudden (and equally sudden outflow) human influence profoundly changed the environment and human interaction with it.

Among the 10,000 immigrants, more than 700 Chinese immigrants settled in Kendra as mining workers, ranchers and shop owners. Especially the Yan family, known for being the focal point of the old Adaminaby community. NMA’s CJ Yen collection contains many handicrafts, from exquisite women’s clothing to food and ski equipment. These handicrafts represent the general trend of Chinese immigrants and include a large number of imported goods such as tea. Other handicrafts include ladies’ crochet gloves tailored specifically for middle-class customers. The diversity of the collection also represents the diversity of Old Adaminabi and other high mountain areas, where all kinds of people live together.

CJ Yen’s grocery store in Old Adaminaby, provided by Odette Yen,
National Museum of Australia

A phenomenon, although not unique to Kiandra, is the seasonal basis of mining. In the summer months when the land is vibrant and the soil is fertile, “miners” will become “farmers” or “herders” in order to best integrate with the land. In winter or those unfair agricultural months, these groups will once again become “miners”. This seasonal rotation is uniquely influenced by the environment and guides the professions of people who depend on the seasons. It is the connection with the land and the community established by the Yan family and others that transform the alpine environment into a diverse landscape. The result is the establishment of communities that gain contact and identity through direct contact with the surrounding environment. In this way, non-human forces guide a way of living and a community, and become a symbol of the region in which they are located.


Perhaps the most significant long-term impact on the alpine environment is the manipulation of water throughout the region.Especially construction Snow Mountain Hydropower Project Unambiguously changed the environment. So far, in the construction of hydropower projects, the interaction between humans and the land has been guided by the natural contours of the environment: the flow of rivers, the curves of hills, and the steep sides of mountains. Hydropower projects have changed the relationship between human and non-human environments. Humans are now directing environmental activities on an unprecedented scale. The plan was built between 1949 and 1974 and required more than 100,000 people from more than 30 different countries to provide services. It contains 16 dams, 12 tunnels with a total length of 140 kilometers and 7 power stations (the largest of which is Tumut 3, which provides 1.5 million kilowatts of electricity per year). The impact of the plan can best be summarized as: “The Snow Mountain Project has greatly changed the countryside and formed its own landscape” (Snow Mountain Project, Environment and Heritage Office).

Snow map

Map of the Snow Mountain Hydropower Project. source: Wikipedia

For hundreds of years, the high mountain regions of Australia have embodied the dynamic interaction between human and non-human forces. It is the bond formed between humans and the environment that makes this relationship a continuous fusion dialogue. More than 21,000 years ago, the Aboriginal people and the Capital Territory of southern New South Wales first established this kind of community. Although some of their traditions and rituals have been lost, the influence of the land and the traditions and identities derived from it are enduring. Whether through alpine skiing, bushwalking or conservation sports, this relationship is maintained. Tom and Jean Moppett and Myles and Milo Dunphy are just a few of the many people who have gained a sense of identity and belonging from their connection with high mountain lands. Other companies, including animal husbandry, mining and water harvesting, have changed the environment to meet the needs of more humans, but the relationship with the land is also a landmark of the area and has formed the identity of many communities, such as in Ada Adaminaby and Kiandra. It is through the connection with the land that we can access the wonders of this land and enjoy the beauty that makes Australia’s mountains and its communities unique in the world.

For me, this research prompted me to really think about my impact on the land and how it affects me. I looked at the collections in the NMA and other handicrafts in the high mountain region, and thought to myself: This land brings people together, shows identity and incorporates core human values, especially miracles. What can we learn from interacting with the environment? If we actively participate and respond, what can it teach us?

Above: Snow Mountain, December 2012, Flickr Creative Commons.

[1] what– Dicky Cooper Cottage, Kosciuszko Lodge Association. Available from:

[2] Deirdre Slattery Australian Alps: Kosciuszko, Alpine and Namadgi National Parks, CSIRO Press, 2015.

[3] Josephine Flood, Moth hunters: the prehistory of aboriginal people in the Australian Alps

[4] Andrew Denning Sliding into modernity: cultural and environmental history, Oakland, University of California Press, 2014.

[5] Daniel George Moyer Historic Kiandra: A historical guide to the Koma region in Australia.

[6] Encyclopedia of World Heritage, Kendra Pioneer Ski Club, Project Gutenberg. Available from:

[7] Irene Mitchell. The endless snow-capped mountains, South Melbourne, Macmillan, Australia, 1988.

Source link


Most Popular

Recent Comments