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"Pretended to the theory of farming"@Allport Library and Museum

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Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

91 Murray Street

Hobart, TAS 7000

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Imogen Wegman presents: ‘Pretended to the theory of farming’: how a group of incompetents
didn’t make Little England in Van Diemen’s Land

In 1803 Lt John Bowen compared his new Van Diemonian surrounds favourably to Britain. The climate was more mild than in New South Wales, and parts of the landscape were reminiscent of the Lake District. Commentators would later complain about the rough agricultural techniques followed on the island, while also complimenting those few settlers who were apparently doing it properly. But they did not see the varied intentions and circumstances that informed the creation of several distinctly different patterns in the Van Diemen’s Land landscape. These patterns have become clear throughthe extensive application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to land records, digitisation of historic maps, and analysis of the practical implementation of official policy. The diversity of approaches by former convicts and free settlers as they expanded out across land farmed for millennia by the Tasmanian Aborigines, became apparent. Britain was reflected in the landscape, but this was because the settlers manipulated British ideas of agriculture to their own advantage. By drawing together evidence from a large dataset and individual examples, we see that the Van Diemonian agriculturalist was largely the product of local pragmatism, rather than imported ideals.

No need to book.

This talk forms part of The Professional Historians of Australia (Tasmania) and the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office program of public lectures held in the Allport Library, Ground Floor, 91 Murray Street, Hobart.

Image: [The peaceful farm], unknown artist, oil on board, ALMFA, TAHO

#tasarchives #allportlibraryandmuseumoffinearts

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91 Murray Street

Hobart, TAS 7000

Australia

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