Layers of Settlement

Event status:

Join us for a stimulating conversation about the history and future of this vibrant, multicultural cornerstone of rural Australia.

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Thursday 04 April 2019 11:00 am until Saturday 06 April 2019 05:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Dr Kerry Nixon
(03) 9479 3327;
Presented by:
Centre for the Study of the Inland
Type of Event:
$30 - $300

The distinctiveness of the Mildura region has emerged over millennia through movements of people and the slower accretion of environmental change. The Layers of Settlement symposium recognises the unique history of this region, stretching back into the deep time of Australia’s past, the more recent history of pastoralism and agriculture, and contemporary migration patterns. Mildura is currently home to 67 different cultural groups, including First Nations people and immigrants from around the world. The region has been shaped by global developments which have taken their own distinctive shape in interaction with the environment and history of area. As agriculturalists and residents respond to the particularities of the environment, and the cultures of water it has generated, climate change presents new challenges and horizons.

This symposium aims to peel back some of the different layers of settlement, and interrogate the meanings of community, environment and change that stem from the layering effect.

Thursday 4 April

Registrations at 11.00am, followed by lunch at 12.00pm.

1.00pm - Session 1 - Deep time

Our understanding of the age of the whole continent was radically reshaped by evidence of human occupation at Mungo in the 1970s. The first session will look at what we now know from people involved in the ongoing project to understand life in Aboriginal Australia.

3.00pm - Session 2 - Opening the Mallee

The Mallee was the last region of colonial Victoria to be opened for land settlement in the 1890s, but prior to that, European settlers were reshaping the environment to suit their own purposes. The second session will explore the colonial expansion into the Mildura region and the history of land settlement in the Mallee.

6.00pm - Bold Thinking - "Dried out? The future of inland cities."

Mildura's first Bold Thinking event will be held opening night of the Layers of Settlement symposium at La Trobe University's main campus in Benetook Avenue.  All attendees of the Layers of Settlement symposium will gain a free ticket.  Please contact Dr Kerry Nixon on to secure this free ticket.

Friday 5 April

Come with us on a bus trip to Mungo National Park, where Associate Professor Nicola Stern and Dr Jillian Garvey, in conjunction with local rangers will provide information about the landscape and archaeological features, based on their research.

To whet your appetite of this magnificent place, visit the Mungo National Park website.

Saturday 6 April

Morning tea and lunch served, followed by nibbles and drinks at exhibition opening at The Art Vault.

9.00am - Session 3 Inflows and Outflows

Mildura and its environs have been attractive to new settlers throughout the second half of the twentieth century, and continues to receive new communities of people from a variety of backgrounds. This session will consider what those different communities contribute to the shaping of the Mildura region.

  • Emeritrus Professor Richard Broome (Chair)
  • Dr Makiko Nishitani - Anthropologist, La Trobe University
  • Dean Wickham - Executive Officer, Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council
  • Jenny Donovan - Author, Designing to Heal
  • Seher Ozonal Ozer - La Trobe Student Learning Associate Lecturer, alum and member of local Kurdish community
11.00am - Session 4 - New Layers of Settlement

This session will contemplate the role of water, cultural tourism and agriculture in the continuation of Mildura as a major inland settlement.

  • Stefano de Pieri (Chair)
  • Melissa Kennedy - Planning academic, La Trobe University
  • Professor Mike Clarke - Biologist, La Trobe University
  • Uncle Tinawin - Ngintait Elder and deputy chair of the FPMMAC board; The Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations
  • Dr John Cooke (Chair) - Chair of La Trobe Mildura Campus Regional Advisory Board and Deputy Chair of the Mallee Catchment Management Authority
3.00pm - Session 5 - An Arts Driven Future?

Another way to view the development of the Mildura community is through the lens of art. Could there be an arts driven future for inland Australian communities such as Mildura? Join us at The Art Vault for a discussion and exhibition of art that indicates alternative visions of the Mildura region, both literally and figuratively.  This exhibition will be opened by Sandra Bruce, Director of the La Trobe Art Institute.

Image credits: 

Brian Robinson, Ancient land 1, 2018, Coloured silk screen print, ed.2/10,56 X 76cm

GW Bot, Lake Mungo Glyphs - A Portrait, 2018, linocut on BFK paper, 57.0 x 38.2cm, edition 30


La Trobe University, CBD Deakin Avenue Campus

29 Deakin Avenue, Mildura

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