SER seminar series 


Noel Preece presents ‘Fire and water: a short forgotten history of Indigenous management of the savannas’ on Friday 23 February from 1pm to 2pm.

More than two centuries of documented history show that since colonisation, Aboriginal people of the north Australian savannas managed the landscape with fire, throughout the dry seasons, contrary to recent claims that the burning was seasonally restricted.

Management with fire by Indigenous people is a well-accepted phenomenon, and this research supports and reinforces this understanding. But the documented history shows also that Indigenous people managed their resources in other ways, including water and grain harvesting, and modified waterways and constructed fisheries, and that they were populous across the landscape. Much of this history was forgotten, and although the database is depauperate it shows clearly that assumptions about people being at the mercy of the environment were flawed.

Noel Preece was a student of the Northern Territory University and Charles Darwin University, doing his Masters in Zoology on small vertebrates in the desert and his PhD on IEK in the tropical savannas.

Noel is currently an Adjunct Research Fellow with the School for Environmental Research, and an environmental consultant working on some major NT projects.

This seminar takes place in room 1, building 23 (23.01), Casuarina Campus, Charles Darwin University.