This lecture focuses on Tasmania’s acclimatization experience with British animals and birds, with particular reference to the Tasmanian Acclimatisation Society formed in 1862. Acclimatisers were motivated to introduce birds like pheasants, partridges and quail and animals like rabbits, hares and deer for game hunting and hares for the sport of coursing. Birds like sparrows and starlings were introduced for the familiarity of their songs and for their insect killing abilities. When introduced animals and birds reacted in unpredictable ways, they demonstrated the limits of scientific knowledge, how adaptable they were and how vulnerable native species and the Tasmanian landscape were to the new arrivals. The lecture ends by critical assessing acclimatisation’s impact by the 1890s.
Emeritus Professor Stefan Petrow taught Australian, Tasmanian, European and family history at the University of Tasmania until his retirement in June 2020. His research interests include all aspects of Tasmanian history, but he has had a longstanding focus on legal history, cultural history and health, urban and town planning history of Hobart and Launceston. His books include Sanatorium of the South? (1995) and (with Carey Denholm) Dr. Edward Swarbreck Hall: Colonial Medical Scientist and Moral Activist (2016). His most recent book (March 2023) is Look After The Missus and Kids: A History of Hobart Legacy 1923-2023. He has completed a book manuscript called Tasmanian Anzacs, Families and The Impact of World War One: Volume 1: The 12th and 52nd Battalions.