Pictures of Time Beneath

eBook - April 2010 - eRetailers Google Books Kobo

An original perspective on our understanding of place, time, nation and science.

Pictures of Time Beneath examines three celebrated heritage landscapes: Adelaide’s Hallett Cove, Lake Callabonna in the far north of South Australia, and the World Heritage listed Willandra Lakes Region of New South Wales. It offers philosophical insights into significant issues of heritage management, our relationship with Australian landscapes, and an original perspective on our understanding of place, time, nation and science. + Full description

Glaciers in Adelaide, cow-sized wombats, monster kangaroos, desert dunes littered with freshwater mussels, ancient oases and inland seas: a diverse group of deep-time imaginings is the subject of this ground-breaking book. Ideas about a deep past in Australia are central to broader issues of identity, belonging, uniqueness, legitimacy and intellectual community. This journey through Australia’s natural histories examines the way landscapes and landforms are interpreted to realise certain visions of the land, the nation and the past in the context of contemporary notions of geological heritage, cultural property, cultural identity and antiquity.

- Short description


No longer available in a print edition.


"If the reader has handy access to a dictionary and possibly to Google, they will not only have an interesting and educational foray into the deep time of Australia, but will also learn a few new words in the process; surely a good outcome! "
John Magee, Quaternary Australasia, pp.53-54, Vol 29 (2), 2013

"The author’s familiarity and ability to encompass historical, cultural and scientific domains is impressive. While at one level, the book is about the history behind the preservation of three heritage landscapes of Australia, at a deeper level, it challenges every reader to step outside the comfort zone of their own discipline or interest area. This is a relatively small book, but very broad in its liveliness and demands; a spirited source of intellectual stimulation."
Bob Paddle, Australian Catholic University, 2010

"Douglas successfully overcomes the disciplinary divide of science and the humanities. The result is an excellent history of the development and professionalisation of the historical sciences in Australia, and the influence of the Australian continent’s geology on shaping international debates on geological change and human antiquity.

But her narrative is so much more than a history of science because it reveals through these sites of geological heritage the many and diverse ways that Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians have forged a ‘sense of place’ on this continent."
Ruth Morgan, LIMINA: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies, 2011

"Pictures of Time Beneath is such a well-thought-out and generally solid effort that it is sure to be a staple of heritage studies’ reading lists for years to come."
Rebecca Sanders, Melbourne Historical Journal, 2010

"Her book is remarkable, and her vision highly original. She brings together geology, glaciology, biology, palaeontology, climatology, archaeology, anthropology, geography, cultural history, heritage studies, politics, museology, environmental history, local history, national history, world history, philosophy, literature, poetry and, and … I could go on! It is an astonishing synthesis."
Tom Griffiths, Australian National University, 22 June 2010

Read the full transcript of Tom Griffiths' speech when he helped launch the book 22 June 2010 at the National Museum of Australia.


ePDF | April 2010
ISBN: 9780643100251
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers

ePUB | April 2010
ISBN: 9780643101944
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • Novel interpretation of cultural identity and deep time in settler societies including Australia
  • Insights into heritage management in Australia and the USA
  • Summary of the history of palaeontology, glaciology and archaeology in Australia


Introduction. Science, landscape, heritage and the uses of the deep past
Part One. ‘Like a precious cameo’: Hallett Cove, geological heritage and the glaciological imagination
Treading on classic ground
Chapter 1. Preservation and change in an ‘outdoor museum’: a modern diorama
Chapter 2. ‘Bent upon covering the whole continent with ice’: glacial studies in the nineteenth century
Chapter 3. The Battle for Hallett Cove
Hallett Cove and geological knowledge
Part Two. Dirt, bones and the Diprotodons of Lake Callabonna: discovering the lost worlds of vertebrate palaeontology
Chapter 4. The lost worlds of Lake Callabonna, 160 000 000 BP – 1970
Chapter 5. ‘A world previous to ours’, 1795–1892
Chapter 6. Finding Lake Callabonna, 1892–1901
Chapter 7. Finding Lake Callabonna again, 1913–1970
Skeletons in the cabinet and the lost world of Lake Callabonna
Part Three. Lake Mungo, human antiquity and the watered inland: reading the scripture of the landscape
Chapter 8. Arid glaciation and the land of lakes
Chapter 9. Human antiquity and the scripture of the landscape
‘The desired future’
Afterword. Quaternary science, landscape and the deep human past


Kirsty Douglas is a heritage specialist with a background in geology and history. She has been an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian National University and completed her PhD in history at the same institution in 2004.