Grace Karskens

Membership:  2012

Member Bio

Grace Karskens’s research interests include urban/environmental humanities, Australian colonial history, and cross-cultural history. She is interested in promoting historical understandings and awareness to wide audiences and is currently a trustee of the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales and the online Dictionary of Sydney project. Her books include Inside the Rocks: The Archaeology of a Neighbourhood and the multi-award winning The Rocks: Life in Early Sydney. Her latest book, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney, won the 2010 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for non-fiction and the US Urban History Association’s 2009–2010 Best Book (Non-North American) award. Grace was elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2010. Grace Karskens is an associate professor of history in the School of Humanities at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Her present project is an environmental history of the Penrith Lakes Scheme and the lost colonial landscape of Castlereagh in Western Sydney.


  • The Colony: A History of Early Sydney. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2009.
  •  “Naked Possession: Building and the Politics of Legitimate Occupation in Early New South Wales, Australia.” In Investing in the Early Modern Built Environment: Europeans, Asians, Settlers and Indigenous Societies, edited by Carole Shammas. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2012.
  •  “Red Coats, Blue Jackets, Black Skin: Aboriginal Men and Clothing in the Early Colonial New South Wales.” Aboriginal History 35 (2011): 1–36.
  •  “Can Environmental History Save the World?” History Australia 5, no. 1 (2008) 3.1–3.32. With Sarah Brown, Jodi Frawley, Steve Dovers, Andrea Gaynor, Heather Goodall, and Steve Mullins.
  • “Water dreams, earthen histories: Exploring Urban Environmental History at Penrith Lakes and Castlereagh.” Environment and History 13, no. 2 (2007): 115–54.