Impact: A changing land

The environment of New South Wales has been marked by dramatic human impact since 1788. From the first European settlement, priorities of survival and growth have been powerful forces for social, rural and industrial change. These priorities, enacted in a new country and with a poor understanding of the effects of development, often led to environmental damage. We have, for example, overexploited natural resources, and have inadvertently contributed to global warming.

Throughout the history of European settlement in Australia, there have been people who cared for, and worked to protect, the land. Their actions form a long, encouraging thread through the story of our relationship with the environment.

This exhibition shows some of the history that has led to the current state of the environment in New South Wales, and in other parts of Australia. Human impact is demonstrated here in four places: City, Coast, River and Island.

There are no easy solutions to the issues arising from human impact on the environment. But by assessing past attitudes, and by maintaining the search for further knowledge, we may be able to minimise the damage currently being caused to our environment.

Important note:

Impact: A changing land focuses on changes to the Australian environment since 1788. We do not examine the complex and varied relationship with the environment demonstrated by Aboriginal peoples prior to European settlement.

Open: 10 November 2007 – 24 February 2008
 Galleries, Mitchell Wing
State Library opening hours
Admission: Free

Supported by the Nelson Meers Foundation