Some Trees. "Words for Country: Landscape and Language in Australia", by Tim Bonyhady and Tom Griffiths (eds) and "Forests of Ash: An Environmental History", by Tom Griffiths. [review]
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Tom Griffiths, one of our most stylish and imaginative historians, has now produced a loving book about the mountain ash. These great Victorian forests are read under a number of rubrics, linking the natural environment with history and culture in twelve narratives or inquiries. It moves from its opening account of the tall forests north-east of Melbourne to the ironical ‘improvements’ brought by white settlement, including the quaint Acclimatisation Society of Victoria, on to the histories of gold-mining and, later, tourism in the mountains. Another book with its roots in the Australian landscape is "Words for Country", co-edited by Griffiths and by the art historian Tim Bonyhady. This work is more of a mélange or gallimaufry, assembling essays that deal with the historicity — even the provisionality — of place names.