A very great idea? Acclimatisation in Tasmania, 1862 – 1895

This lecture focuses on Tasmania’s acclimatization experience with British animals and birds, with particular reference to the Tasmanian Acclimatisation Society formed in 1862. Acclimatisers were motivated to introduce birds like pheasants, partridges and quail and animals like rabbits, hares and deer for game hunting and hares for the sport of coursing. When introduced animals and birds reacted in unpredictable ways, they demonstrated the limits of scientific knowledge, how adaptable they were and how vulnerable native species and the Tasmanian landscape were to the new arrivals. The lecture ends by critical assessing acclimatisation’s impact by the 1890s.

Emeritus Professor Stefan Petrow taught Australian, Tasmanian, European and family history at the University of Tasmania until his retirement in June 2020. His research interests include all aspects of Tasmanian history, but he has had a longstanding focus on legal history, cultural history and health, urban and town planning history of Hobart and Launceston.

The lecture follows The Royal Society of Tasmania’s Annual General Meeting, to which all members and supporters are invited.

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