The 2019 George Seddon Lecture

1 August 2019


E/Professor Don Bradshaw

Perth City

No Sense of Place?

The 2019 George Seddon Memorial Lecture by Don Bradshaw,
Emeritus Professor, Zoology.

It is over forty years since the publication of George Seddon’s Sense of Place, a masterly evocation of the city of Perth and its environs. Perth has grown and changed much in the interim and is now beset with a number of problems with which it grapples. Finding enough water to satisfy the needs of a rapidly-growing population, urban sprawl, vehicle congestion and the continuing destruction of biodiversity-rich banksia woodlands are just a few. Planners struggle to respond to the divergent agenda of developers and environmentalists and many question the sustainability of our current life style. Have we lost our sense, and are we in danger of losing our place?

Professor Emeritus Don Bradshaw was appointed to the Foundation Chair of Zoölogy at The University of Western Australia in 1976, at the age of 34. He has worked extensively in overseas laboratories in England, France and the United States and has been involved in numerous field missions to the deserts of North Africa. He is a Membre Correspondant of the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris and has held appointments there as a Professeur Invité and as Directeur de Recherche of the École Pratique des Hautes Études. He has worked with Professeur François Morel at the Collège de France on hormone action in the kidney and was appointed Professeur Invité at L’École Normale Supérieure in Paris in the newly-formed Institut d’Ecologie. He was elected a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London in 1985 and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Biology in 1991. He was awarded the Kelvin Medal of the Royal Society of WA in 2010 and in 2015 received a Special Commendation Whitley Award of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales for “the promotion of knowledge and conservation of Australasian fauna through many outstanding publications over an extended time period.”

In his scientific career he has made major contributions to the field of comparative endocrinology and has been pivotal in the development of the new discipline of Ecophysiology, both overseas and in Australia. He has worked with all the major vertebrate groups (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) with his primary focus being on desert animals. His career has involved sophisticated physiological techniques that he has used to study and analyse animals living undisturbed in their natural environment, rather than constrained in laboratories where stress is an ever-present problem.

Don Bradshaw’s career could easily have been played out in overseas laboratories, but he early made the decision to return to Australia, believing that the preservation of our unique wildlife is a challenge and a charge that must be assumed by all Australian scientists, and underpinned much of his teaching to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Since retiring from UWA in 2005, he has devoted his time to conservation issues, both of native animals and plants, publishing on the increasing impact of fire on the long-term survival of endangered species.

The annual George Seddon Lecture is sponsored by the UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and UWA’s Friends of the Grounds.

About Emeritus Professor George Seddon AM

George Seddon (1927-2007) was an Emeritus Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Melbourne and a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in English at The University of Western Australia. He was a Fellow of the Royal Australian Planning Institute, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences, and the Australian Academy of Humanities. His books include Swan River Landscapes, A Landscape for Learning and Sense of Place. He was awarded the Eureka Prize from the Australian Museum in 1995, the Mawson Medal from the Academy of Science in 1996 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Planning Institute of Australia.