We can tell a lot from the way that people grow. The extent to which we are able to attain our genetically programmed height depends upon the conditions we encounter in utero, early childhood and adolescence. Poor sanitation, insufficient diets and other environmental insults can all impact on the timing of growth and the stature we attain in adulthood. In recent years, historians have started using records that provide details of height to explore variations in the conditions encountered by children born in different places. This presentation uses information about soldiers and prisoners recruited or discharged from gaol in the period 1865-1920 to explore variations in growth patterns in Victoria and Tasmania for men born in the period 1850-1899.
Hamish Maxwell-Stewart is a professor of social history at the University of Tasmania. He was born in Nigeria but brought up in the UK. He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh (MA in History, PhD in Economic and Social History). He worked for the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Glasgow before migrating to Tasmania in 1997. Since then he has worked on both the Launceston and Hobart campuses of the University of Tasmania as well as spending extended periods of time at the University of Texas, Austin, and University College, Dublin (where he held the Keith Cameron Chair in Australian History). In recent years he has worked closely with the Tasmanian Archive to build cradle to grave population datasets in order to explore the long-term impacts of convict transportation and the pathways responsible for the intergenerational transmission of inequality.
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