Shortlist year: 
2020
Shortlist category: 
Australian history
Published by: 
La Trobe University Press in conjunction with Black Inc.

About the book

'Sludge: Disaster on Victoria's Goldfields' by Susan Lawrence and Peter Davies

Everyone knows gold made Victoria rich. But did you know gold mining was disastrous for the environment? Mining effluent, or 'sludge', contaminated three-quarters of Victoria's creeks and rivers and still affects our rivers and floodplains today. Children and animals drowned in sludge lakes. Sludge submerged Victoria's best grapevines near Bendigo, filled Laanecoorie Reservoir and flowed down from Beechworth over thousands of hectares of rich agricultural land.

'Sludge' is the compelling story of the forgotten filth that plagued nineteenth-century Victoria and how the battle against it helped lay the groundwork for the modern environmental movement.