Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery is the director of the South Australian Museum and chair of the state’s Science Council. He is the editor of The Explorers: Stories of Discovery and Adventure from the Australian Frontier (2000).

On 25 January 1788, HMS Supply eased her way between the imposing sandstone cliffs that mark the entrance to Port Jackson and into a waterway that John White, the First Fleet’s surgeon, proclaimed as ‘the finest and most extensive harbour in the universe’. The hyperbole was perhaps understandable, for the Britons were seeing Sydney Harbour through eyes wearied by months at...

Monstrous Carbuncle: In the Coal Hole

Tim Flannery, 6 January 2005

Edward I knew a thing or two about coal. He hated its stink, and in 1306 banned the burning of it in his kingdom, threatening offenders with ‘great fines and ransoms’. There are even records of coal-burners being hanged, tortured or decapitated (sources don’t agree on the punishment: it’s possible all three were applied). After reading Barbara Freese’s book, you...

Can you imagine a winter so cold that the sea is frozen over all the way from Norway to Denmark? Not even the last Ice Age saw such a thing, for then the sea level was lower, and all of Scandinavia was joined together by dry land. Yet in 1837-38 the Norwegians survived such a season. And what of having to watch as every day the sea rises another 15 centimetres, until after two years what was...

Hell Pigs: Before there was Europe

Francis Gooding, 2 January 2020

Sixty-five million years ago, after an asteroid struck the Earth, Europe’s little dinosaurs were obliterated along with all the others – all the others that weren’t birds, anyway – and much besides.

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences