Studying rural history and environmental history in Australian Historical Studies reveals a shared effort to challenge the colonial narrative of the settlement of rural Australia that continues to hold sway in popular representations of the national past. Rather than finding distinct spheres of urban and rural Australia, it reveals instead the processes by which these areas have been mutually constitutive, whether through cultural representations, economic exchanges, or the application of science and technology. Rather than confirming the dichotomy of nature and culture of the city and the bush, it highlights instead the wider cultural and ecological implications of settler Australians’ diverse engagements with an ancient and Aboriginal land. By transcending disciplinary and spatial boundaries, rural and environmental historians reveal the complexities of colonisation and the networks of exchange that have shaped Australians and their environments since 1788. In their hands, history becomes an important form of knowledge for making sense of rural and environmental change in the twenty-first century.