Water Stories

Water through history

Water is a human problem.
We need to examine water from an historical and cultural perspective as the key to solving current water management problems. WRaIN has the expertise to examine historical contexts through a range of approaches and methodologies and the ability to conceptualise water issues through historical and cultural comparisons. Through our research we seek to show how, overtime, cultural beliefs, attitudes and concerns about water have influenced water management in Australia, in order to design effective evidence based water policy for the future.

We welcome you to join us in contributing to the future of Australia and our water systems.

Dr Louise Noble
Louise Noble teaches English Literature and Nature Writing in the School of Arts. Her major research focus is literature, landscape history, and cultural memory and the mapping of a culture's past, present and future relationship with their environment. In collaboration with Dr Stephen Harris, Louise is currently working on the project, "Australian Water Stories: Myths of a Dry Continent," which attempts to get to the heart of what water means for Australians and how this has influenced water policy since European settlement.

Assoc. Professor Wendy Beck
Wendy Beck is an internationally renowned archaeologist. She completed her PhD at La Trobe University on Aboriginal plant processing technology. She has worked on the archaeology and ethnography of hunter-gather subsistence and food-processing technology in Australia. She has also been involved in multi-disciplinary research, and current research is on the archaeology of New South Wales. 

Assoc. Professor Hugh de Ferranti
Hugh de Farranti trained in musicology and composition and several genres of Japanese traditional music. He pursued practical study of biwa, a form of lute, and studied biwa performance traditions. de Ferranti has always worked with Japanese poetic narrative texts and their musical vehicles, the singing and declaiming voice, and instrumental sound. 

Assoc. Professor Janis Wilton
Janis Wilton has an Order of Australia (OAM) for 'service to the community as historian, author and researcher, to historical associations, and to the Chinese heritage of New South Wales, Her research interests are in Oral history theory and practice; ethnic community and family histories; history and museums; local and regional histories. 

Assoc. Professor Adrian Walsh
Adrian Walsh is a philosopher who works in Applied Ethics, Political Philosophy and Environmental Ethics. He is interested in issues of distributive justice and the role of the market and of economic theory in the formation of public policy, and in particular the role of virtue and other moral notions in the development of models of institutional design. In recent times he has focussed his attention on the use of market incentives in sport and health care. Currently he is interested in exploring ideas on the just allocation of fresh water in the Australian context. 

Assoc. Professor Don Hine
Don Hine is a psychologist whose major research interests are human judgment and decision-making. He conducts research in the area of environmental psychology. This work focuses on understanding psychological factors that underlie environmental problems such as resource over-consumption, global warming, and air pollution. He is particularly interested in identifying strategies to help people change their destructive patterns of behaviour into more environmentally sustainable ones. He has also conducted numerous studies on cognitive factors (expectancies, mental models, risk perceptions) that guide decisions related to aggression, smoking, alcohol use, and anti-poverty activism. He is particularly interested in dual process models that suggest human behaviour is controlled by two distinct information-processing systems: (1) an experiential system that is predominantly preconscious, automatic, and driven by emotion, and (2) a rational system that is conscious, effortful and logic-based.

Dr Stephen Harris
Stephen Harris is currently a Lecturer in English and unit coordinator of units in English and Communications. He has published in the areas of American and Australian Literature, with a particular interest in the literary treatment of history, and most recently in the area of ecopoetics in the Journal of EcoCriticism on the topic of Judith Wright's "poetics" of water. He is at present collaborating with Dr Louise Noble on a book-length project that focuses on the literary and artistic depictions of water ecologies in Australian cultural history, under the working title "Australian Water Stories: Myths of a Dry Continent."

Ms Lorina Barker
Lorina Barker is an Associate Lecturer in History at UNE. In 2007 Lorina was awarded the History Council of New South Wales' John Ferry Award for her essay "Hangin' out" and "Yarnin": Reflecting on the Experience of Collecting Oral Histories. Lorina is currently undertaking a PhD in family/community history. The key objectives of Lorina's research entitled People, Place and Time: The Weilmoringle Community, are to document peoples' connections to and memories of place and their associated water stories. As part of her research, Lorina is also endeavouring to record both traditional and contemporary Aboriginal land care management beliefs and practices.

Ms Rose Williamson
Rose Williamson is completing a PhD in the School of Arts. Her primary areas of research are rhetoric and magazine writing. One of her particular interests is the ways in which Australian newsstand magazines translate, for populist audiences, concerns about water and environmental sustainability.