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Environment and History

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Environment and History

From 'Useless Brutes' to National Treasures: A Century of Evolving Attitudes towards Native Fauna in New South Wales, 1860s to 1960s

Brett J. Stubbs

Environment and History 7(2001): 23-56

The emergence of native fauna as a theme in conservation is used to explore the changing relationship between nature and human culture in late nineteenth century and early to mid-twentieth century Australia. Ideas about fauna conservation are traced through a century-long stream of protective legislation and associated parliamentary debate in the colony of New South Wales. During this period, animal protection legislation evolved in purpose from the protection of introduced game in the 1860s, to the protection of native birds, and eventually to the protection of other native fauna, particularly marsupials. In doing so, it conflicted with laws which encouraged the destruction of marsupials in the interests of agricultural and pastoral production.

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