CABAH Annual Symposium

From 4–8 November 2019, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) held its 3rd Annual Symposium at Monash University. Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Mike Jones attended on behalf of the Research Centre for Deep History.

CABAH is a large, multidisciplinary program of work which aims “to tell a culturally inclusive, globally significant human and environmental history of Australia.” Each year project investigators, associates, early-career researchers, postgraduate students, and professional staff from institutions around the country come together to share their work.

Projects span the continent and surrounding regions, with flagship initiatives located in the Northern Gateway to Australia/Sahul, the Top End, the north-eastern Coral Sea, and the South East. Themes include people, climate, landscape, wildlife, time, and models, all with community partnerships and collaboration at the forefront.

There were many interesting sessions throughout the week, starting with an opening workshop titled You Have Excavated It—Now What? which provided tips and techniques for lifting and conserving objects during fieldwork, led by Holly Jones-Amin and Dr Matthew McDowell. CABAH Director, Distinguished Professor Richard ‘Bert’ Roberts, opened the second day with an overview of the centre’s mission, goals, and progress to date.

A series of presentations, ‘pico’ talks, and posters followed on a range of topics. To sample just a few, we heard about migration and the modelling of routes through South East Asia; rock art in Australia’s north; the use of drones and photogrammetry to explore fish traps in the Gulf of Carpentaria; Queensland’s Holocene Indigenous fisheries; explorations of the deep history of Bass Strait; research into fire and vegetation change around Gariwerd; the interaction between people, climate, and water scarcity in relation to megafauna extinction; pollen research; dating techniques; and new research into people’s use of Cloggs Cave in eastern Victoria.

Along with the Research Centre for Deep History, CABAH shows the growing interest in expanding our understanding of the deep past of Australia and its peoples. Thank you to Professor Lynette Russell and the CABAH team for allowing us to attend a fascinating week filled with new insights and connections.

To find out more about CABAH, visit: