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Climate Change in Australian Narratives
Project Lead: Dr Deborah Jordan
(Status : Public)
Coordinated by Climate Change
  • Storm on Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges. Wikimedia Commons.
  • [Melbourne, 2041] The pilot had lost his first awe of the Old City and the vast extent of the drowned ruins below; this was for him a routine trip. He carried hundreds of historians, archaeologists, divers and sightseers in the course of a year. His thought now was simple pleasure that the sun had power enough to have made it worth-while to shed his clothes and enjoy its warmth on his skin.

    George Turner, The Sea and Summer (1987)

  •  Welcome to the Climate Change in Australian Narratives project.

    This special AustLit project is designed to shine a light on the ways that Australian writers are currently addressing and have, in the past, explored what has been correctly described as the most urgent environmental, social, and technological concern of current generations. Post-apocalyptic speculative fiction has explored this territory for some time and now these themes are emerging in other forms of writing. Through this project, we aim to highlight Australian creative and critical writing that examines the impacts of human-induced climate change and to provide necessary contextualising information on the science and consciousness-raising work at the community level. 

    The project includes the following sections: climate writing, climate activism, and climate science.

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    Climate Change in Australian Fiction includes tracking Australian works that discuss climate change in all its forms. As well as informing the work for this project, we hope that this bibliographical dataset will enable further research into this vital topic.

    Records affiliated with this project will be identifiable by the image (shown to the left) of an extratropical cyclone forming off the southern coast of Australia in 2019 (courtesy of Japan Meterology Agency's Himawari-8 satellite).

  • Or view all works in the dataset.

    Note: The link to 'poetry' above is to collections with a strong through-theme of climate change. For individual poems on the subject, try this search instead.

  • How Can You Use This Project?

  • Ilparpa swamp fire, Northern Territory (Wikimedia Commons)
  • Readers? Find new works on climate change, especially from Australian authors. Explore the history of climate fiction in Australia, from its earliest roots.

    Teachers? Find age-appropriate works to explore climate change in the classroom. Seek out works set in your school's suburb, to help students explore the consequences to their local environment.

    Teachers might also consider the following teaching resources:

    You can also make use of our Necessary Conversations series on natural disasters to begin discussions around bushfires: the works in these series are selected, as far as possible, on their accessibility and the availability of teaching resources.

    Librarians? Localise your collection by supplementing international authors with a rich collection of works by Australian writers.

    Researchers? Situate your analysis within the bibliographical framework of Australian climate change fiction as a whole.

  • Project Team

  • Project Lead: Dr Deborah Jordan

    Dr Deborah Jordan, award-winning historian, biographer, and Petherick Reader at the National Library of Australia, research fellow (adj) in History Monash University, and associate researcher with the T J Ryan Foundation at the Queensland University of Technology, has published widely in Australian cultural history and women’s history. She has held research fellowships at The University of Queensland, the National Library, Deakin, and Flinders University, and is author of six commissioned history books and numerous reports. She has also worked as a co-operative weather observer for the Bureau of Meteorology. For several decades, she grappled with Vance and Nettie Palmer's little-understood preoccupations with the environment and environmental aesthetics. Her selection of their love letters, Loving Words: Letters of Nettie and Vance Palmer, 1909 - 1914, was published by Brandl & Schlesinger in 2018.

    Scholar (Thylacines and the Anthropocene, 2022): Samantha Schraag

    Samantha Schraag is a literature student and researcher, with experience in Library Services and Arts Administration. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and first-class Honours in English Literature from the University of Queensland, and is completing a Master of Writing, Editing and Publishing (MWEP). Samantha is a recipient of the George Essex Evans Scholarship, and was selected for the 2018/19 UQ Summer Research Program, the 2019 Asian Studies Research Camp, and as a 'Class of 2019' UQ Future Leader. Her research interests include nonhuman animal representations in Australian literature, fairy tale transformations, and Australian-Japanese literary relationships.

    Research Assistant (summer 2018-2019): Chloe Cooper

    Chloë Cooper is a writer and a bookseller at Avid Reader Bookshop and Where the Wild Things Are Bookshop in Brisbane. Her non-fiction has been published in The Lifted Brow, Kill Your Darlings, Overland, and others. She regularly holds in-conversations with authors at their book launches and has appeared as a reviewer on ABC Radio National’s The Bookshelf. Find out more at her website:

    Among Chloë's contributions to the project is the exhibition on climate-change topics in Australian short fiction.

    Research Assistant (semester 1, 2019): Nina Clark

    Nina Clark was an undergraduate student at The University of Queensland, completing a Bachelors focusing on zoology, film and television, and writing, when she interned on the Climate Change in Australian Narratives project. She is interested in climate change in both a scientific and communications aspect. Her role as a student scholar in the climate change project allowed her to dig deep into the treasure trove of literature that is AustLit and build a project combining science and literature. Her research project focused on 'Climate change representation of coastal areas in Australian literature over the past 100 years', using the concept of a sediment core as her theoretical framework.

    Research Manager: Dr Catriona Mills

    Dr Catriona Mills began work with AustLit in 2010, and has since worked on a range of research projects. She holds degrees from Macquarie University and The University of Queensland, and has published on adaptations of penny-weekly serials to the English suburban stage, authorship attribution in Australian nineteenth-century periodicals, steampunk, and Doctor Who.

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