Swamplands: human-animal relationships in place

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Toowoomba, a city in south-eastern inland Queensland, Australia, is built on swamps. The swamps have been central to the history of this city. From the midnineteenth century, European colonists sought to control and contain them as a source of disease and damaging floods while also being reliant on their aquifers for water supply. This chapter takes up one part of this history, examining the ways in which animals were entangled in colonists’ relationships with the swamps as a source of disease. The first section provides background on the town being built on the swamps and engages with European colonists’ views of the swamps as a changeable space and source of disease from 1840 to 1900. A range of interacting factors, pathogens, and organisms, including animals but also aquifers, vegetation, and bacteria, shaped colonists’ views of the swamps and of the spread of disease in the period, the latter underpinning their efforts to control the swamps, including through drainage works. The second section focuses on a particular kind of animal, mosquitoes, examining the eradication campaigns conducted from 1900 to 1940. These insects were targeted as potential vectors of disease and underpinned further attempts to control the swamps. At the same time, the lives of mosquitoes were shaped by the actions of people in Toowoomba, who had co-created ideal breeding grounds in the swamps and then sought to eradicate these insects from the town.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnimals count
Subtitle of host publicationhow population size matters in animal-human relations
EditorsNancy Cushing, Jodi Frawley
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781351210645
ISBN (Print)9780815381365
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Environmental history
  • More-than-human geographies
  • Australia


Dive into the research topics of 'Swamplands: human-animal relationships in place'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this