Last Saturday was the coldest morning in Brisbane for over a hundred years – so I was wondering how long it would take for someone to claim it for partisan purposes in the never-ending debate over climate change.
Sure enough someone raised the point during the debate yesterday, as our current government abolished the tax on carbon, at the moment the only legislation keeping us on track to meet our international commitment to reduce carbon emissions. It was really cold in Brisbane (2.6°C) so we don’t need to worry about rising temperatures. What a pity our politicians are such lousy statisticians that they can’t tell the difference between a trend and an outlier. Continue reading
Posted in australian history, environmental history, maritime history, world history
Tagged australian labor party, carbon tax, climate change, Dorothea Mackellar, el nino, indigenous weather, meteorology, southern oscillation
I’ve just spent 5 days at the Australian Historical Association conference, held this year at the University of Queensland, and I’m all conferenced out.
I won’t attempt to summarise a conference with so many papers, so many parallel sessions, so many evening events that I didn’t get to. For those who are interested, the abstracts are here and almost single-handed, Yvonne Perkins @perkinsy tweeted the conference.
Instead, here are a few of my general impressions on the state of history in Australia today that I’ve picked up by osmosis during the last week.
- I hope the conference was a success. The numbers were good, though I gather there were more postgraduates and fewer senior historians than usual. This has financial implications as postgraduates get in at a concessional rate. (So do I, as ‘unwaged’ – which was Autocorrected to ‘unwanted’ on my iPad. Sigh). I wonder whether the shortage of senior people reflects workloads. Postgraduates have to present their work to a wider audience, but perhaps tenured staff are just too tired by the end of semester, to spend a week of their precious non-teaching time interstate. Which brings me to –
While I’m sorry, of course, that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, there’s a little bit of me that feels he had it coming to him. I speak not on behalf of Serbian nationalism, but on behalf of Antipodean wildlife.
Last year when I was in Vienna I visited the Natural History Museum. There are some wonderful items in this rather fusty old museum, including the Venus of Willendorf and other archaeological treasures, but also far too many dead animals and birds, which don’t really do it for me. Franz Ferdinand shot an amazing number of these animals during a world tour on the Imperial battle cruiser Kaiserin Elizabeth in 1893, accompanied by his own personal taxidermist and a zoologist from the Imperial Natural History Museum. Continue reading
Posted in australian history, biography, environmental history, european history
Tagged Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Austria, kakapo, Pacific History, Sarajevo, thylacine, vienna, World War I