Emeritus Professor Patrick De Deckker '200 years of data for Lake George; facts, myths and legends’

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Thursday, 22 July 2021 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Patrick will discuss some of the myths and legends that are attributed to the lake, along with current suggestions for returning to original name, and the important relevance for lake level records in line with current climatic changes.

Abstract   Lake George is a fascinating site and has interested people for millennia.  More recently, it has inspired artists, photographers, choreographers and many more. Many scientific investigations have been associated with the lake and its geological history was also conducted over the years.

In his travel diary, on October 28, 1820, when Governor Macquarie visited the lake, he re-named this large body of water “in honour of his Majesty George IV”. Patrick will argue that it is opportune that we return to the original name of the lake, which must have been visited by numerous generations of early Australians, well before Governor Macquarie did. In his talk, he will discuss the current suggestions for returning to an original name.

Patrick will document the history of lake level fluctuations recorded by Europeans, commenced by H.C. Russell who, at some stage, was President of the Royal Society of NSW and, importantly, was in charge of the Observatory in Sydney when he restarted meteorological observations. He will also discuss the important relevance for those lake level records in line with current climatic changes and will discuss some of the legends and myths that are attributed to the lake, including the proposal that the capital city of Australia be established along its shore. There were also amazing schemes that were proposed around the lake, as well as numerous activities conducted when the lake held much water.

Biography Emeritus Professor Patrick De Deckker is at the Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University. Patrick is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Originally from Belgium, Patrick arrived in Australia close to 50 years ago where he continued his university education in geology, micro-palaeontology and zoology at several institutions. He has been at ANU since 1981 except for 2 years at Monash and has worked on salt lakes, their biota and geological history, plus on the evolution of the oceans in our region related to climate changes and on airborne dust (a topic which he presented to the Friends of the ANBG a couple of years ago).

This talk will be held in the ANBG Theatrette.

Bookings are essential because of the COVID-19 guidelines related to the Thursday Talks and limited seating (tickets are free). Bookings will open on the Friday before the talk; they will close on the following Wednesday night or when seating limits are reached.

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Please be aware that COVID-19 outbreaks and isolation requirements are subject to change at short notice.

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- You have not been in a hotspot or prohibited area before attending Thursday Talks.
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Tickets are limited, please notify us if you are unable to come on 0437 298 711 or 0407 299 704.