The Cabinet of Curiosities
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By Peta Cross
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First Section - First Tray

Remaking the land - 'Views of Tower Hill'

Australia was often presented as a cornucopia of scientific delights and novelties. But such novelty also made the environment seem alien and forbidding, unsuited to European settlement. Scientists have been integrally involved in attempts to remake the land to suit the needs of European settlers - whether it be by introducing songbirds to soothe their spirits, or diverting rivers to power their homes and irrigate their farms. But while scientists attitudes towards the land have been shaped by their European preconceptions, they have also transcended them, drawing attention to the limits of the remaking process. What are the consequences for the environment? How can a balance be achieved? By remaking, science has also been remade.

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Prepared by Tim Sherratt (
for publication on ASAPWeb. Last modified 22 June 1997.