Sludge by Peter Davies, Susan Lawrence | Black Inc.

Sludge: Disaster on Victoria's Goldfields

Awards for Sludge

  • Shortlisted, 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Australian History
  • Highly commended, 2020 Graham Connah Award for Best Publication

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About the author

Peter Davies

Peter Davies is a research fellow in archaeology at La Trobe University whose work focuses on the social, industrial and environmental archaeology of colonial Australia. His previous books include Henry’s Mill: The Archaeology and History of …

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Susan Lawrence

Susan Lawrence is a professor of archaeology at La Trobe University and has spent thirty years studying the goldfields. She is the author of Dolly’s Creek: An Archaeology of a Victorian Goldfields Community and, with Peter Davies, An …

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Praise for Sludge

Sludge is a fascinating, entangled story of human endeavour and environmental destruction. An exciting and timely reminder that history is a dirty business, precisely because it oozes its way into the present.’ —Clare Wright

‘Sludge, slurry, slickens or porridge: call it what you will, mining waste made a mess of Victoria’s environment. In Sludge, Susan Lawrence and Peter Davies carefully investigate this murky history of greed, mismanagement, reform and forgetting. It is a gripping account of an environmental catastrophe, and it vividly conveys the long-term costs of short-term gains.’—Billy Griffiths

‘This is the book about the goldfields I most wanted to read but didn’t think could be written. It’s a remarkable achievement.’—Tom Griffiths

‘If Victorians dreamed of glittering gold, what they got was a tidal wave of sludge that covered the land like a poisonous blanket and made the rivers run thick as gruel. Susan Lawrence and Peter Davies vividly recreate the forgotten landscapes of nineteenth-century Victoria, revealing how people and mining destroyed the country that nurtured them, and how that silent legacy is still with us today. Here is a powerful parable, a work of brilliant rediscovery and a wakeup call for our own times.’ —Grace Karskens

‘Susan Lawrence and Peter Davies’ landmark work, Sludge, represents the most ambitious and compelling work to date when it comes to exploring the environmental impacts and legacies of Victoria’s relationship with gold and mining.’ —Benjamin Mountford, Victorian Historical Journal

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