Learning about landscape: Archaeology of water management in colonial Victoria

01st June 2012

Landscape learning provides a model for examining how colonists in Australia came to terms with the landscape, positioning the environment at the centre of investigations into settler activity. The successful management of water was crucial in the colonising process, and settlers rapidly developed a sharp awareness of climate, soils and topography in their manipulation of environmental resources. Upon learning about climatic variability they built dams, races, reservoirs and other features to capture, store and divert water, which have left extensive archaeological traces. This paper explores the archaeological remains associated with water use on the goldfields of Victoria’s central highlands, and the ways in which settlers learned the possibilities and limitations of natural landscapes.

Susan Lawrence and Peter Davies
June 2012
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