Railways in Australian & New Zealand Environments

From colonial times, Australians and New Zealanders have used railway construction to alter not only their economies and polities but also their environments. 2021 NLA Fellow, Dr André Brett uses the development of railway networks to interrogate the strong and enduring linkages between economic growth and environmental change. Railways were not simply a means of overcoming what Geoffrey Blainey famously dubbed the tyranny of distance; they were agents of change that remade every landscape through which they ran. 

Dr André Brett is a vice-chancellor’s postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wollongong. He is a versatile and accomplished historian of British settler colonialism in Australasia. Dr Brett is the author of three books, most recently No End of a Lesson: Australia’s Unified National System of Higher Education with Stuart Macintyre and Gwilym Croucher (Melbourne University Publishing, 2017). His fourth book is currently under review at Otago University Press, working title Can’t Get There from Here: New Zealand’s Shrinking Passenger Rail Network, 1920–2020. Dr Brett is currently researching an enviro-economic history of railways in Australasia before WWI. 

Dr André Brett is a 2021 National Library of Australia Fellow, supported by the Stokes family. 

Type Fellowship presentation