457 pages, 60 colour & b/w photos, illustrations, maps
George Goyder was the first European explorer to see great salt lakes in the inland in flood and to witness the amazing transformation that follows the breaking of drought. His experience put him decades ahead of his contemporaries in understanding the Australian climate. When he attempted to adapt the pattern of settlement by defining the border of the zone of reliable rainfall, his repeated warnings about the threat of drought were scorned. Today we can see the ruins of those who attempted to settle beyond the Goyder line in South Australia. Nature's line tells the story of Goyder's life and examines his work in the context of our current understanding of climate.
"George Goyder introduced settler Australians to the idea of variability of climate, and the limits to agricultural possibilities for the inland. Janis Sheldrick has brought us a wonderfully crafted biography of the man and his Line."
– Libby Robin
"A careful, rounded and detailed analysis and account. Sheldrick's easy style of writing never falters [...] Recommended reading."
Jill, M/C Reviews
"Janis Sheldrick has done a marvellous job in sharing her research and highlighting for the first time the life of this extra ordinary man."
– Nic Klaassen, Flinders Ranges Research
"Stunningly published by Wakefield Press [...] a rare book about a rare bloke."
– James Waite Morgan, Crikey.com
"Beautifully presented in hardback, with detailed maps and colour plates, Nature's Line represents a significant contribution to our understanding of an important Australian and, more importantly, to our understanding of Australian environmental history."
– Ruth Morgan, Australian Garden History Journal
"A respectful, well-written and dynamic account of a remarkable man who deserves his time in the sun. Sheldrick is rapt in her subject and the narrative is all better for her admiration."
– Stephen Davenport, Indaily
"Hopefully, Janis Sheldrick's detailed and well-researched book will go some way to honouring the man who understood the challenges of agriculture long before the rest of us."
– Johanna Leggatt, Weekly Times
"This biography is a monumental study of a great Australian who is still not fully appreciated."
– Robert Wilson, SMH
"A highly detailed professional and personal biography of a complex man whose energy and vision did much to shape the South Australian landscape in the nineteenth century."
– Don Garden, Australian Historical Studies
"Painstakingly researched and told in an engaging style, its story is as relevant to modern use of rural land as it was to the squatters of the nineteenth century."
– Judge's comment, 2014 Queensland Literary Awards
"An important study which lifts our understanding of Goyder and his public achievements to new levels. It will undoubtedly become the standard reference in the field for many years to come."
– Colin Harris PSM, Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia, No. 42
"Janis Sheldrick's account of Goyder's life is extensively, even exhaustively, researched, and almost overwhelming detailed [...] it lucidly explains the scientific and intellectual milieu of its protagonist, demonstrating just how insightful and revolutionary his thinking on the climate and environment was at that time [...] An impressive volume."
– James Drown, Historical Records of Australian Science, Vol. 26, No. 2
"The character and personality of Goyder, his achievements and occasional mistakes comes across very effectively. One hopes that this fine biography may go a long way towards seeing Goyder accorded his rightful place in Australia's history."
– Roger Andre, Bibliofile, Vol. 13, No. 4
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Janis Sheldrick is a lifelong resident of Melbourne who has always been strongly attracted to the landscapes of South Australia. She studied philosophy at the University of Melbourne, has a Graduate Diploma in Librarianship, and was awarded a PhD by Deakin University in 2000 for work on George Goyder and Goyder's Line. Working as an independent scholar, she completed the rest of the biography in the years that followed.