My essays and features have appeared in Griffith Review, Meanjin, Inside Story, Overland, The Guardian, Australian Book Review, The Canberra Times, and Best Australian Science Writing, among others. I co-edited a book of personal essays with Kirsten Wehner and Jenny Newell called, Living with the Anthropocene: Love, loss and hope in the face of environmental crisis (NewSouth 2019).
Currently I’m spending time in some of Australia’s most damaged ecosystems where I’m following people and communities striving to heal them. I’m learning about what it takes to do this work, joining scientists, cultural practitioners and locals in the field. These stories are for a narrative nonfiction book exploring ‘shadow places’ – the places from which we extract our material resources or to which we outsource our pollution, waste and disorder, but prefer not to know about.
I’m also part of a Gomeroi/Kamilaroi-led team renewing culture and ecology through on-Country learning at the Gwydir wetlands in western NSW; collaborating with Kungarakan leaders and my colleague Dr Lilian Pearce to develop community resources on the history and heritage of the former Rum Jungle uranium mine in NT; and, contributing to a project at the National Museum of Australia led by Dr Kirsten Wehner and Prof Thom van Dooren called ‘Living on the Edge,’ exploring how Australians might better appreciate and care for our threatened ecological communities.
I’ve worked on public history projects such as the One River art + writing project, which was part of the Centenary of Canberra celebrations. I was Curator of Stories on the Everyday Futures project, a collaboration between the National Museum of Australia and the University of Sydney. I collaborated with artists on Water Walks, a public walking, photography, and urban nature program with PhotoAccess. I’ve consulted for urban design and history projects including a City of Sydney Indigenous heritage project on ‘Aboriginal Redfern’ with Cox Inall Ridgeway.
In 2013/14 I was a Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Germany, where I finished writing my book, The Broken Promise of Agricultural Progress: An Environmental History (2014). It was shortlisted in the 2015 NSW Premier’s History Awards.
I helped edit and complete Tony McMichael’s posthumous book, Climate Change and the Health of Nations: Famines, Fevers and the Fates of Populations (OUP 2017).
I’ve been awarded the Griffith Review Emerging Writers’ Prize, an Australian Society of Authors Mentorship (with Bruce Pascoe), a Griffith Review Contributor’s Circle Varuna Fellowship, shortlisted for the 2019 Bragg Prize for Science Writing and was a finalist in the 2019 Eureka Prizes for Science Journalism.
I have a PhD in environmental history from the Australian National University. I live in Canberra with my partner and three sons
I was raised on the western plains of New South Wales. (Do you know what a gilgai is? Or a cowal?) When I moved to Sydney I spent a year washing cars, volunteered for a youth anti-racism organisation, and studied in the writing program at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Last modified: November 17, 2023