Historical Records of Australian Science Historical Records of Australian Science Society
The history of science, pure and applied, in Australia, New Zealand and the southwest Pacific

State, Scientists and Citizens: Conserving Lake Magenta and Dragon Rocks, Western Australia

Andrea Gaynor

Historical Records of Australian Science 25(2) 202 - 216
Published: 11 November 2014


The story of efforts to establish two major nature reserves in the south-eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia illuminates some of the many factors shaping the interaction of citizens, scientists, land management bureaucracies, and other stakeholders around the creation of conservation reserves in a semi-arid region in the mid-20th century. This article highlights the significance of citizen scientists as well as professionals in the reservation process, and traces the increasingly strained relationship between Lands and conservation bureaucracies in the context of the rise of the new environment movement. It also points to the importance of international ideas about conservation aims and methods, and suggests that although shifting appraisals of the productive potential of the land were critical to the outcome of negotiations over the proposed reserves, in this period these semi-arid lands were increasingly valued for their scientific and intrinsic qualities.


© Australian Academy of Science 2014

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