André Brett awarded a National Library of Australia 2021 Fellowship

Dr André Brett received one of ten prestigious National Library of Australia fellowships, which will support 12 weeks of research in Canberra during 2021.

Dr Brett’s fellowship, supported by the Stokes family, is for his project entitled “Scars in the Country: Railways in Australian and New Zealand Environments, 1850s–1915”. This project uses the development of railway networks to interrogate the strong and enduring linkages between economic growth and environmental change. It seeks to redefine our understanding of how railways affected Australasian landscapes, offering a critical perspective on the outcomes of economic growth and resource use.

Railways were not simply a means of overcoming what Geoffrey Blainey famously dubbed the tyranny of distance. They were agents of change that remade every landscape through which they ran. By extending our understanding of transport’s dynamic role in settler colonialism, Dr Brett’s research will expose the tensions between economic growth and environmental change and how these intersect in large nation-building railway projects.

Dr Brett has already performed research for this project at all state libraries and archives in Australia, and at New Zealand’s national equivalents. This residency in Canberra will enable him to complete his primary research and advance the writing of his book manuscript.