07 November 2010
Rugged Beyond Imagination
Matthew Higgins. Rugged Beyond Imagination: Stories from an Australian Mountain Region, National Museum of Australia Press, 2009.
Shortlisted for the 2010 ACT Book of the Year*.
Grand, wild and windswept, the Australian Alps have played a big part in forging the identity of our nation. Rugged Beyond Imagination examines the lesser-known northern Alps, defined by the Namadgi–Tidbinbilla region of the Australian Capital Territory, and pursues its historical links with Kosciuszko National Park.
Drawing on a rich oral history, this book captures the experiences of stockmen and skiers, scientists and surveyors, dam builders and brumby runners to paint a vivid picture of how people were shaped by the mountain environment and how they endeavoured to shape it. Rare and iconic images help to convey the beauty and history of a very special part of Australia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matthew Higgins has been working professionally as a historian for the past 25 years.
He has worked as a Senior Curator at the National Museum of Australia since 2004.
Matthew moved from Sydney to Canberra to begin his career at the Australian War Memorial in 1982. At the Memorial he worked on various exhibition projects, publications, the research grants scheme and annual conferences.
In 1989 Matthew launched a freelance historical consultancy during which he completed a broad range of projects for a variety of government, professional and community clients, and he published very widely.
From 2001 to 2004 Matthew was a conservation officer at the Australian Heritage Commission, subsequently the Heritage Division of the Department of Environment and Heritage. During this period he worked on the Register of the National Estate and the introduction of the new National and Commonwealth Heritage Lists.
Matthew follows RH Tawney's dictum that historians need 'a good pair of boots'.
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What else was shortlisted for the 2010 ACT Book of the Year?
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*The ACT Book of the Year recognises quality contemporary Australian literary works including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. To be eligible for the ACT Book of the Year the author must either reside in the ACT or strongly demonstrate an ACT literary practice, and the book must have been published in the calendar year preceding the year of nomination.
The ACT Government, through the ACT Arts Fund administered by artsACT, has offered an ACT Book of the Year award since 1993. The 2010 winner will be announced in November from the shortlist selected by a panel comprising Ms Mauren Bettle (ACT Cultural Council), Ms Kathryn Favelle and Mr Anthony Eaton.