The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

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Andrea Gaynor

Assoc/Prof Andrea Gaynor

Associate Professor
Western Australian History, Centre for

Contact details
Centre for Western Australian History
The University of Western Australia (M208)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2137
+61 8 6488 1069
Room 1.03, Arts Building, Perth campus

Associate Professor

Contact details
The University of Western Australia (M208)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2137
+61 8 6488 1069
Room 1.03, Arts Building, Crawley campus

Associate Professor
Oceans Institute and Graduate School

Contact details
Oceans Institute and Graduate School
The University of Western Australia (M208)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2137
+61 8 6488 1069
Room 1.03, Arts Building, Crawley campus
BA PhD W.Aust.
Andrea was born during the turbulent Whitlam years. At primary school she played the violin and was fascinated by the germination of seeds. In high school she played some mediocre cricket and hockey, but excelled in the bloodthirsty sport of fencing. Leaving school with good marks, an interest in chemistry and literature, and a passion for the environment and social justice, she decided to commence an Arts degree. After studying in areas from environmental science to law to desktop publishing, working nights and weekends as a waitress, she found a home in environmental history. In 2001 she finished writing a PhD thesis and rode her bicycle through China, Laos and Cambodia before returning to lecture in Australian History at UWA.
Key research
I am primarily an environmental historian, and while I have pursued various questions relating to the historical relationships between the human and non-human, I have always remained concerned with understanding three main questions: what factors have shaped human dealings with the natural world? How have people changed the environment? And how has environmental change (anthropogenic or otherwise) affected people’s lives? My research is also relevant to a range of other fields, including Australian studies, urban history, cultural history, gender history, and cultural heritage. To some extent, the strength of my research, taken as a whole, lies in its breadth rather than specialisation, as I am often seeking to derive new understandings, ask new questions and answer open ones by bringing approaches and knowledges from one area to bear on another, especially across the humanities/science divide.
See for publication list with citations.

• Richard Broome, Andrea Gaynor, Katie Holmes, Charles Fahey, Big Skies: Land, People and History in Australia’s Mallee Country, Monash University Publishing, Melbourne, 2017
• Carolyn Oldham, Gregory Crebbin, Stephen Dobbs and Andrea Gaynor, Engineers Engaging Community: Water and Energy, Morgan & Claypool, San Rafael, 2013.
• Edited with Jane Davis, Environmental Exchanges: Studies in Western Australian History, no.27, 2011. Pp.239.
• Wandoo in Health and Decline: A History, Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth, 2008 (55pp)
• with A. Kendrick and M. Westera, An Oral History of Fishing and Diving in the Capes Region of South-West Western Australia. Project CM.01a July 2008, University of Western Australia, School of Humanities and School of Plant Biology, Report to the South West Catchments Council
• Harvest of the Suburbs: an Environmental History of Growing Food in Australian Cities, UWA Press, Crawley, 2006.
• Edited with Marnie Leybourne, Water: Histories, Cultures, Ecologies, UWA Press, Crawley, 2006.
• Edited with Mathew Trinca and Anna Haebich, Country: Visions of Land and People in Western Australia, W.A. Museum, Perth, 2002

Book chapters:
• Andrea Gaynor and Tom Griffiths, ‘Spoils and Spoilers: Geoffrey Bolton’s environmental history’, in Jenny Gregory, Lenore Layman and Stuart Macintyre (eds), A Historian for All Seasons: Essays for Geoffrey Bolton, Monash University Publishing, Melbourne, 2017
• ‘Shifting baselines or shifting currents? An environmental history of fish and fishing in the South-west Capes region of Western Australia’, in Joseph Christensen and Malcolm Tull (eds), Historical Perspectives of Fisheries Exploitation in the Indo-Pacific, MARE publication series, Springer Verlag, 2014, pp.231-250.
• ‘Environmental transformations’, in Alison Bashford and Stuart Macintyre (eds), The Cambridge History of Australia, vol. 1: Colonial Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013, pp.269-293.
• ‘Fowls and the contested productive spaces of Australian suburbia, 1890-1990’, in Peter Atkins (ed.), Animated Cities: Urban Historical Insights into Human-Animal Interaction, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, forthcoming, 2011.
• ‘Colonists and the Land: An environmental history of nineteenth-century Australia’, in Deborah Gare and David Ritter (eds), Making Australian History: Perspectives on the Past Since 1788, Thomson, South Melbourne, 2008, pp.144-153.
• with Jane Davis (50%), ‘People, Place and the Pipeline: Visions and impacts of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, 1896-1906’, in Marnie Leybourne and Andrea Gaynor (eds), Water: Histories, Cultures, Ecologies, UWA Press, Crawley, 2006, pp.15-26.
• ‘Looking Forward, Looking Back: Towards an Environmental History of Salinity and Erosion in the Eastern Wheatbelt of Western Australia’, in A. Gaynor, A. Haebich and M. Trinca (eds), Country: Visions of Land and People in Western Australia, W.A. Museum, Perth, 2002, pp.105-124.

Refereed articles:
• •Andrea Gaynor, ‘Self-sown crops, modernity and the making of mallee agricultural landscapes’, Agricultural History, vol.91, no.2, 2017 (in press, accepted 19/1/2016). [originated from DP130102169]
• Andrea Gaynor, ‘Lawnscaping Perth: Water supply, gardens and scarcity, 1890-1925’, Journal of Urban History, 2017.
•Andrea Gaynor (70%) and Joy McCann (30%), ‘“I’ve had dolphins ... looking for abalone for me”: Oral history and subjectivities of marine engagement’, Oral History Review, vol. 4., no.2, 2017 (in press, accepted 15/9/2016).
• Andrea Gaynor, ‘Entangled Nature: The Stirling Range National Park’, RCC Perspectives, no.1, 2017 (in press, accepted 23/9/2016)
• Andrea Gaynor, Jodi Frawley and Kathleen Schwerdtner Máñez, ‘‘Slim female records the same old story’: Newspapers, gender, and recreational fishing in Australia, 1957-2000. Geoforum, vol.77, 2016, pp.114-123.
• ‘How to Eat A Wilderness: The past and future of the wheatbelt’, Griffith Review, no.47, 2015, pp.169-180.
• ‘State, Scientists and Citizens: Conserving Lake Magenta and Dragon Rocks, Western Australia’, Historical Records of Australian Science, vol.25, no.2, 2014.
• Andrea Gaynor and Greg Crebbin, ‘How can engineers learn from the past? A potential role for history in engineering education’, International Journal of Engineering, Social Justice and Peace, vol.2, no.2, 2013, pp.43-54.
• ‘Antipodean Eco-nazis? The Organic Gardening and Farming Movement and Far-right Ecology in Postwar Australia’, Australian Historical Studies, vol.43, no.2, 2012, pp. 253-269. ERA A; Thomson Arts & Humanities Citation Index listed.
• with Brooke Fowles, ‘The Challenge of Creating a Scientifically-Robust Historical Description of Changing Finfish Populations in the Ningaloo Marine Park’, in A. Gaynor and J. Davis (eds), Environmental Exchanges: Studies in Western Australian History, no.27, 2011, pp.99-124.
• with Ian McLean, ‘Landscape Histories: Mapping Environmental and Ecological Change through the Landscape Art of the Swan River Region of Western Australia’, Environment and History, vol. 14, no. 2, 2008, pp.187-204.
• with Sarah Brown, Steve Dovers, Jodi Frawley, Heather Goodall, Grace Karskens and Steve Mullins, 'Can Environmental History Save the World?', History Australia, vol.5, no.1, April 2008.
• with David Trigger, Jane Mulcock, and Yann Toussaint, ‘Ecological Restoration, Cultural Preferences and the Negotiation of ‘Nativeness’ in Australia’, Geoforum, vol.39, 2008, 1273-1283. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2007.05.010
• A. Gaynor, ‘Animal Agendas: Conflict Over Productive Animals in Twentieth-Century Australian Cities’, Society and Animals, vol.15, no.1, 2007, pp.29-42.
• A. Gaynor (50%) & I. McLean (50%), ‘The Limits of Art History: Towards an Ecological History of Landscape Art’, Landscape Review, vol.11, no.1, 2005, pp.4-14.
• ‘“Like a Good Deed in a Naughty World”: Gardens on the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia’, Australian Humanities Review, no.36, 2005.
• ‘Animal Husbandry and House Wifery? Gender and Suburban Household Food Production in Perth and Melbourne, 1890-1950’, Australian Historical Studies, vol.24, 2004, pp.238-254.
• ‘Report on the History of the Arrival of the Feral Cat Population in Western Australia’, CALMScience, vol.3, no.2, 2000, pp.149-179.
• ‘Regulation, Resistance and the Residential Area: the Keeping of Productive Animals in Twentieth-Century Perth, Western Australia’, Urban Policy and Research, vol. 17, no. 1, 1999, pp.7-16.
• ‘From Chook Run to Chicken Treat: Speculation on Changes in Human-Animal Relationships in Twentieth-Century Perth, Western Australia’, Limina, vol. 5, 1999, pp.26-39.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
- Convenor, Ecology, People, Place (EcoPeoPle) Research Group
- Director, Centre for Western Australian History
- Communications and international liaison, Australian and New Zealand Environmental History Network
- Urban environmental history
- Western Australian environmental history
- Animals in history
- History of fish and fishing
- Agricultural history
- Water history
Future research
• Wild cities: an environmental history of nature in urban modernity 1880-2010
• Comparing historical approaches to nature's diversity in South Africa and Western Australia
• Water histories of Australian cities
• An environmental history of Australian modernity
Funding received
• Katie Holmes, Richard Broome, Andrea Gaynor, Charles Fahey, Ruth Ford, 2012 ARC Discovery – Projects Changing landscapes, changing people: Australia's southern mallee lands, 1830 - 2012, $613,000
• Jo Lindsay, Seamus O’Hanlon, Lionel Frost, Andrea Gaynor, Jenny Gregory, Peter Spearritt, Meredith Dobbie, Kelly Fielding. 2012 CRC for Water Sensitive Cities Project A2.2 Understanding social processes to achieve water sensitive futures, $100,000.
• Richard Hobbs, Andrea Gaynor, 2011 UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Professor-at-large scheme$17,500
• Joint Chief Investigator on ARC Linkage – Infrastructure, Equipment, Facilities Grant 2011: $600 000 for ‘Establishment of the Australian data archive: an integrated research facility for the social sciences and humanities’.
• Project team member on Australian Learning and Teaching Council Grant, 2010-2011: $135 000 for ‘Engineering Education for Social and Environmental Justice’.
• Lotterywest Gordon Reid Conservation of Natural Heritage Grant (through WWF) 2007, $31,695 for historical component of ‘Toward Woodland Recovery’
• UWA Research Grant Scheme 2006, with Assoc. Prof. Ian McLean (Fine Arts): $29 100 for a Pilot Ecological Art History of the Swan River Region, 1827-1950
• Co-recipient of grant from Humanities and Social Sciences Research Program 2003, with Prof. David Trigger and Dr. Jane Mulcock, Anthropology: $14 800 for a research project: ‘Nature, culture and belonging in regional Australia’.
• UWA Research Grant Scheme 2002: $14 630 for a research project entitled ‘Environmental history of suburban food production in Perth and Melbourne 1880-2000’.
Industrial relevance
• Understanding how human-environment relationships operate and change is essential for the creation of ecologically sustainable societies.
• History of urban agriculture informs current local government, community and NGO initiatives in this area.
• History of urban wild nature informs current urban greening and conservation initiatives
• History of Landcare informs current renewal strategy
Australian Historical Association
European Society for Environmental History
The Beeliar Group: Professors for Environmental Responsibility
Australian and New Zealand Environmental History Network Steering Group
Ecology, People, Place Research Group (EcoPeoPle)
Honours and awards
2015Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich
2014Faculty of Arts Excellence in Teaching Award - High Commendation for Individual Teaching (Div.1)
2006Margaret Medcalf Award for excellence in research and referencing: special commendation (Harvest of the Suburbs)
2004 Western Australian History Foundation Award for best new work in the field of Western Australian history (Harvest of the Suburbs)
2003 Excellence in Teaching Award - High Commendation for Individual Teaching (Div.1)
Previous positions
2016 Visiting Fellow, School of History, ANU Canberra
2015 Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment & Society, LMU Munich
2010 Deputy Head of the School of Humanities (Research and Research Training), UWA
2007 Discipline Chair, History, UWA
2004 Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (Teaching and Learning), UWA
I currently teach units in Australian history, environmental history, urban history and historiography. I supervise MA and PhD candidates and Honours students in the areas of Australian and environmental history.
Useful links
Australian and New Zealand Environmental History Network:
Ecology, People, Place Research Group:
The Beeliar Group:
New and noteworthy
See my historical work on urban agriculture featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, February 2017:
Current projects
- environmental history of the southern mallee lands
- environmental history and emotions in Australian urban wildlife encounters
- history of Landcare in WA
- history of urban agriculture in Australia
Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM