Community and Education news

2015 Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture speaker, Professor Iain McCalman
16 November 2015

Annual lecture brings history to life

History stories comes to life for this year's Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture.

Cawthron Institute Trust Board in association with the Royal Society of New Zealand is proud to announce historian and social scientist Professor Iain McCalman as distinguished speaker for the 2015 Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture in Nelson on 9 December. Register here.

Professor Iain McCalman

Professor McCalman is a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sydney where he is Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute, a think-tank established to understand the relationship between human communities and the natural world they inhabit and how society can adapt positively to environmental change.

"Professor McCalman combines an intriguing blend of history and science, highlighting stories from our past so that we might better understand our future," Cawthron Institute Trust Board Secretary Judene Edgar says.

"This year we are really pleased to once again have the support of the Royal Society of New Zealand who have brought Professor McCalman to New Zealand as part of the 2015 New Zealand Aronui Lecture Series."

Sharing passionate stories

In his lecture, 'Great Barrier Reef Passions – why history stories matter', Professor McCalman will share historical tales from the Great Barrier Reef.

“Over time, human encounters with the dazzling 2,300 kilometre swathe of corals, islands and lagoons have evoked passionate, if diverse, responses which are shaping the reactions of the reef communities of today. In this lecture I’d like to share some of these passionate ‘Reef’ stories with you,” Professor McCalman says.

These stories include an account of when Captain Cook first sailed the Endeavour through the Great Barrier Reef calling it an ‘insane labyrinth’, and the harrowing tale of a French cabin boy shipwrecked in the 1860s and living happily with Aboriginal rescuers for 17 years until forcibly returned to white ‘civilization’. Professor McCalman will also show the first dazzling paintings of Reef sea creatures produced by a marine scientist in the 1890s, and share the story of how a woman poet, bohemian artist and forester joined forces to save the Reef from mining.

Event details:

What: Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture 2015 – ‘Great Barrier Reef Passions – why history stories matter’ presented by Professor Iain McCalman
When: 7.30pm-9.30pm Wednesday 9 December, 2015
Where: Rutherford Hotel Conference Centre, Nile Street, Nelson

The lecture is preceded by music and concludes with a light supper. Free entry, but registration is essential. 

Professor McCalman will also be speaking at venues around New Zealand as part of the Royal Society's 2015 New Zealand Aronui Lecture Series, from 2 to 10 December.

About the Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture

The Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture is a free annual community event held by the Cawthron Institute Trust Board for the people of Nelson since 1917 to commemorate the legacy of Thomas Cawthron and to share science with the public.

Many distinguished scientists and scholars have featured as lecturers, sharing their knowledge on a wide range of subjects. Past lecturers include Professor Thomas Easterfield, Sir Ernest Rutherford, Sir Edmund Hillary, Professor Robert Winston and the Rt Hon Helen Clark.

For more information please contact:

Judene Edgar Secretary, Cawthron Foundation
Phone: +64 3 548 2319 ext 390 or +64 21 54 1927