Dry Continent Dreaming: Australian Visions of Using Antarctic Icebergs for Water Supplies

Ruth Alice Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article traces the little-studied development of Australian interest in iceberg utilisation from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Fostered by Cold War global anxieties about water availability, iceberg utilisation offered a means to overcome hydrological limits to growth. Drawing on Patrick McCray’s characterisation of the ‘visioneer’, this article examines the arguments that Australian scientists raised in support of iceberg utilisation during the 1970s and 1980s. Focusing on Perth, Western Australia, as a prospective destination for harvested Antarctic icebergs, Australian visioneers appealed to settler narratives of heroic water engineering, and Antarctic exploration and exploitation. Although their scheme for iceberg utilisation was unrealised, its study reveals the particular circumstances that shaped the visioneers and their vision as well as the circumstances that hindered their achievement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Review of Environmental History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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