Course Title: Environment and Culture:Ecological and Aboriginal understandings of Country

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Environment and Culture:Ecological and Aboriginal understandings of Country

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Bruce Partland is the teacher for this course. It is the Aboriginal contacts and networks developed during the last 15 years or so teaching in this area that inform the structure and much of the content of this Course. 


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


155T Vocational Health and Sciences


Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


174T School of VE Engineering, Health & Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 2 2021


City Campus


530T Built Environment and Sustainability


Sem 1 2022,
Sem 2 2022

Course Coordinator: Thierry Demathieu, Program Manager

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 8359

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

You will explore the cultural and ecological underpinnings of Aboriginal knowledge and land use.

In the course.

  • You will be immersed in the iconic Aboriginal ‘cultural landscape’ of Lake Mungo in south western New South Wales or Lake Condah in Western Victoria.
  • You will examine the environmental and social perspectives relating to the interaction between a local Aboriginal group and a unique Australian landscape over millennia.
  • You will conduct field research to examine the relationship between environment and seasonal availability of resources. Emphasis is placed on the Aboriginal group’s historical manipulation of resource availability.
  • You will explore examples of conflict, and co-operation, between Aboriginal and European people in the management of heritage and natural resources.

NOTE: There are material fees associated with this course to cover the cost of the major field trip.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

You will develop the following capabilities:

  • Environmental and cross cultural awareness
  • Use and respect of cultural protocols
  • Appreciation for Aboriginal technological manipulation of the environment
  • Ability to analyse and evaluate information to complete a range of activities
  • Ability to transmit knowledge, skills and ideas to others
  • Ability to write a reflective journal for academic purposes

The objectives of the course are to: 

  • Develop field research investigation skills and capabilities in making and recording accurate observations.
  • Develop knowledge and awareness of the relationship between environment and culture.
  • Identify key stakeholders in Aboriginal land management and develop awareness of culturally appropriate protocols
  • Develop the ability to apply knowledge of fundamental properties of the environment to local and broader environmental science issues.
  • Conduct and report on a field investigation
  • Recognise the impact on the environment by successive land managers contributing to the modern day cultural landscape
  • Develop reflective writing skills

Overview of Learning Activities

This course will run as an intensive and consist of the following:

  • Preparatory seminars and workshops
  • Extended field trip
  • Post immersion reflections and presentations

Overview of Learning Resources

  • Information and course materials will be available through Canvas.
  • Additional resources will be made available as required during the course.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is predicated upon participation in all Learning Activities

Assessment may include a combination of written reports, case studies, reflective journal and presentations.