Coorong and Irish in print

Revealing insights of South Australia’s social and ecological history are the focus of two new books that have recently launched, featuring the work of Flinders University academics.

The trials of early Irish settlers in South Australia is explored in detail in the new book Irish South Australia: New Histories and Insights.

Irish South Australia: New Histories and Insights (Wakefield Press, RRP $39.95), edited by Flinders academics Susan Arthure, Stephanie James and Dymphna Lonergan, and Fidelma Breen (University of Adelaide), was launched by Ambassador of Ireland, Breandán Ó Caollai, at Adelaide Irish Club on 1 February.

This book serves as a significant precursor to Flinders University hosting an Irish Women In History conference in Adelaide (9-12 December, 2019) entitled ‘Foregrounding Irish Women: the Antipodes and Beyond’.

In related research, Flinders University researcher Dr Cherrie De Leiuen studies the lives of four of 4000 young Irish women who took assisted passages to the new colony where they entered a Victorian-era English settlement. It shows that the ‘Irishness’ of Irish settlers was commonly ‘buried’ during British colonisation of South Australia, at a time when landowners were known to describe their servants as uncooperative, rebellious and lazy ‘biddies’ (a corruption of Bridget).

Helping to promote good science for the Coorong region, The Royal Society of South Australia has produced a new book, Natural History of the Coorong, Lower Lakes, and Murray Mouth Region (Yarluwar-Ruwe) (University of Adelaide Press), featuring valuable contributions from Flinders experts.

Launched on World Wetlands Day (February 2) in Goolwa by the SA Environment Minister David Speirs along with river advocate Gloria Jones, the book covers landscape evolution over millions of years, including the retreat of the Ngarrindjeri as sea levels rose about 18,000 years ago, through to modern flora and fauna and management issues.

One of the editors, Associate Professor Steve Hemming, says the book focuses on research findings under the Murray Futures Program during the Millennium Drought between late 1996 and mid-2010.

His introduction, with input from local Ngarrindjeri history, complements other chapters with input from fellow Flinders researchers Professor Daryle Rigney and Dr Samantha Muller, including advice on management, resource use and conservation, titled “Towards Ngarrindjeri Co-management of Yarluwar-­Ruwe (Sea Country — Lands, Waters and All Living Things).”

Among the book’s 26 chapters, Flinders Associate Professor Sophie Leterme has written a chapter with co-authors on identifying the plankton communities of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray. Her research work focuses on the ecology of the Coorong wetlands, focusing on the impact of environmental change on microbial and plankton communities.

Professor Sabine Dittmann has written a chapter in the Biological Systems section on “The composition of sediment-dwelling invertebrates in the Coorong and Murray Mouth estuary”, which includes how these were severely impacted by the Millennium Drought.

The publication is available as a hard copy, or a free PDF download.

Posted in