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Nature, Progress and the 'Disorderly' Fitzroy: The Vain Quest for Queensland's 'Noblest Navigable River', 1865-1965

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In the nineteenth century, engineers deformed and reshaped the natural environment in the name of progress, particularly in new settler societies like Australia. This article focuses on attempts, some experimental but all ultimately unsuccessful, to render Queensland's Fitzroy River suitable for large-scale shipping by constructing 'training' walls and dredging intensively. In addition to examining the motivations for these efforts and their environmental legacy, the paper argues that both engineers and men of commerce saw nature as 'untamed' and female and in need of training or 'husbanding' through the application of modern technology, irrespective of the financial cost.
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Keywords: Australian environment; river training; training walls; waterway engineering

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2018) of 0.800. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.918.
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