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Landscape Learning in Colonial Australia: Technologies of Water Management on the Central Highlands Goldfields

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posted on 2023-10-02, 06:33 authored by Susan LawrenceSusan Lawrence, Peter DaviesPeter Davies

Water was a crucial but often limited resource on the goldfields of central Victoria in the nineteenth century, and miners quickly developed a range of techniques to respond to water scarcity. This paper uses a landscape learning model to examine these human/environmental interactions in the recent past. It combines archaeological and historical evidence to understand and interpret cultural changes to natural landscapes, especially in relation to water management in colonial Australia. A range of archaeological features preserved in the landscape reveal responses to the challenges posed by climate and topography when capturing, storing, transporting and using water for industrial, agricultural and domestic purposes. Water in this context provides a focus for exploring the complex relationships between people and the natural world, integrating evidence of small-scale, local activities with broader transformations of physical environments.


Publication Date


Book Title

Archaeology in Environment and Technology: Intersections and Transformations


Frankel D Lawrence S Webb J



Place of publication

New York and London


Routledge Studies in Archaeology




15p. (p. 149-163)



Rights Statement

© 2013 Taylor & Francis This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Archaeology in Environment and Technology: Intersections and Transformations, 2013, available online: It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.