Eric Rolls was a poet, historian, environmentalist, farmer philosopher and prolific author, including a two-volume history of Chinese immigration, and his classic work A Million Wild Acres, a history of the conquest and destruction of Australia’s wilderness. Eric has been described as 'the finest historian of our natural landscape, who writes books about rabbits, forests, dingoes and turtles, yet can’t stand greenies.' He died in 2007. The Library holds the personal papers of Eric Rolls, as well as oral history recordings, photographs and publications.

The Eric Rolls Lecture was established in 2010 as a bi-annual lecture, organised by the Watermark Literary Society and funded by Elaine van Kempen, the widow of Eric Rolls and executor of his estate. The lecture aims to continue the work of Eric Rolls, highlighting the work of Australia’s environmental scientists and writers.

Eric Rolls Memorial Lectures

Mother Earth 

Presented by Bruce Pascoe on 28 November 2018

Gifts From China

Presented by Professor Nicholas Jose on 20 March 2016

The Landscape Behind the Landscape

Presented by Nicholas Rothwell on 22 October 2014

A Meander Down a River or Two: How Water Defines Our Continent and Its Future

Presented by Professor Richard Kingsford on 17 July 2012

Fire in 1788: the closest ally

Presented by Bill Gammage on 20 October 2010