Gretel Evans

Associate student
Gretel Evans

Gretel Evans’ research engages with disaster studies, migration and environmental history by using oral history and memory studies to investigate migrants’ memories of emergencies in Australia. She is especially interested in how natural hazards influence identity and belonging within the Australian community and environment. While her PhD is predominately focused on bushfire experiences of migrants, she is also interested in stories about flood from across Australia.

Gretel authored the chapter titled ‘Shaped by fire: how bushfires forged migrant environmental understandings and memories of place’ for the 2020 book, Disasters in Australia and New Zealand: Historical Approaches to Understanding Catastrophe. The chapter draws on her PhD research and focuses on migrants to bushfire-prone locations in regional Victoria and how their understandings of the Australian environment were challenged by their subsequent experience of bushfires. Gretel now tutors at the University of Melbourne and the University of Southern Queensland.

Student project

This research explores histories of migration and natural disasters in Australia by investigating migrants’ memories of bushfires and floods, and the long term legacy of such events. Oral history interviews will be conducted with people who were born overseas, migrated to Australia and happened to experience a natural disaster here. The study examines how the migration experience, coupled with a fire or flood, affects our understanding of place, home community and environment

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