Oceans

The floor of Sydney Harbour

A cultural history

The project is to undertake research on the underwater history of Sydney Harbour. It is concerned with an eco-critical, cultural and visual history of representations of the Harbour from the viewpoint of the undersea.

The project embraces European history and Indigenous country. It aims to find out how the underwater of Sydney Harbour has figured in the history of exploration, everyday life, art, military activity, science, industry, diving, fishing and tourism. It asks to what extent these areas of social and cultural life are linked to European and Indigenous representations of the underwater realm.

The project is also interested in mapping historical transitions in cultural representation ranging from sublime wonder in wilderness, to the utility of measurement and exploration through science and technology, and more recently, environmental damage through human impact.

To the best of our knowledge this stands as the first cultural history of the spaces, animals, plants and peoples of Sydney Harbour from the viewpoint of the underwater.