Illustration of two brown birds.

Published in 1931, the now-classic book What Bird Is That? is more than merely a field guide, but gives voice to the passions of birdwatching; the focus of Russell McGregor's research in his 2021 NLA Fellowship.

In this presentation, Russell will share his work in compiling a history of birdwatching in Australia, from the late nineteenth century through to the present day, drawing on a wide diversity of sources on birds and birding, including books, magazines, newspapers, photographs, paintings, diaries and personal papers.

This talk will not only highlight the changes in birdwatching practice over the years but also look at the rise of an environmental ethos and the ways in which settler Australians have embraced nature to cultivate a sense of national belonging.

This event is free to attend but bookings are essential.

About the speaker

Russell McGregor is an Adjunct Professor of History at James Cook University and the author of several award-winning books. His latest, Idling in Green Places: A Life of Alec Chisholm, was shortlisted for the 2020 National Biography Award. As befits his project, Russell is a passionate birdwatcher. 

Adjunct Professor Russell McGregor is a 2021 National Library of Australia Fellow, supported in memory of Averill Edwards. 

Type Fellowship presentation