Around 50 people, comprising numerous Flinders geographers as well as family, friends and other former colleagues of Dr Les Heathcote, gathered at the Parkside home of Dr Alaric Maude for the launching of Drought and the Human Story: Braving the Bull of Heaven, Dr Heathcote’s posthumously published work.
Drought, its manifestations and the various responses of human populations were career-long research interests of Dr Heathcote, who was appointed Senior Lecturer in Geography at Flinders in 1966.
Dr Heathcote died in 2010, but the draft of his book was edited and completed for publication by Dr Maude, Dr Heathcote’s daughters Liz and Caroline, and his widow, Sheila, who spoke at the launch.
The audience also heard brief speeches from Dr Lance Brennan, Flinders historian and long-time research and teaching associate of Dr Heathcote, from Professor Andrew Millington, Head of the School of the Environment , and from Dr Heathcote’s daughter Liz, who related how family holidays invariably gravitated to arid destinations.
Former Flinders (now Adelaide University) academic Professor Andrew Beer also introduced the newly released issue of the South Australian Geographical Journal that contains an article dedicated to Dr Heathcote’s life and scholarship by Sheila Heathcote.