Health, Height and History in Victoria and Tasmania 1850 – 1920

We can tell a lot from the way that people grow. The extent to which we are able to attain our genetically programmed height depends upon the conditions we encounter in utero, early childhood and adolescence. Poor sanitation, insufficient diets and other environmental insults can all impact on the timing of growth and the stature we attain in adulthood. In recent years, historians have started using records that provide details of height to explore variations in the conditions encountered by children born in different places. This presentation uses information about soldiers and prisoners recruited or discharged from gaol in the period 1865-1920 to explore variations in growth patterns in Victoria and Tasmania for men born in the period 1850-1899.