Idling in Green Places: A life of Alec Chisholm
Australian Scholarly Publishing, $49.95 pb, 285 pp, 9781925801996
Australian nature writing has come a long way in recent years. Not only do we have an abundance of contemporary nature writers, but we are also rediscovering the ones we have forgotten. The neglect of Australia’s nature writing history, with its contributions to science, literature, and conservation, is happily being redressed with recent biographies of Jean Galbraith, Rica Erickson, Edith Coleman, and now a new biography of Alec Chisholm.
Chisholm is one of the best-known Australian nature writers. His first and most famous book, Mateship with Birds, was republished by Scribe in 2013. Born in 1890 in rural Victoria, and spending his working life in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, Chisholm lived through much of the twentieth century and was a leading figure in the golden age of Australian nature writing and the birth of the modern conservation movement. Russell McGregor’s biography documents Chisholm’s long life in scrupulous detail, aided by a significant body of archives and Chisholm’s own autobiographical work.