Dr Melissa Harper

Senior Lecturer

School of Communication and Arts
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 7 334 69454


Dr Melissa Harper’s research interests include Australian cultural history, representations of landscape, attachments to place, recreational use of land, environmental issues, national identity, food and dining out in Australia.

Her current research interests include a history of bushwalking and environmental politics, with a particular focus on the period from 1945 to the present. She is exploring the way bushwalkers have faced a number of challenges to their self-apointed position as custodians of the Australian 'wilderness'. Challenges have come from other recreational users, governments, developers and and from Indigenous Australians.

She is the author of:

  • 'Sensuality in Sandshoes: Representations of the bush in the walking and writing of John Le Gay Brereton and Percy Grainer'.
  • 'A Boy's Own Adventure: George Morrison on Foot Across Australia'.
  • 'A Battle for the Bush: Bushwalking versus Hiking between the Wars'.
  • 'The Ways of the Walker: Bushwalking in Australia, 1788-1940' (PhD thesis).


  • PhD, The University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Sydney


View all Publications


View all Grants


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • (2019) Master Philosophy

  • (2018) Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision



Book Chapter

  • Harper, Melissa (2014). Outdoor magazines. A companion to the Australian media. (pp. 326-327) edited by Bridget Griffen-Foley. Kew, VIC, Australia: Australian Scholarly Publishing.

  • Harper, Melissa and White, Richard (2012). How national were the first national parks? Comparative perspectives from the British settler societies. Civilizing nature: national parks in global historical perspective. (pp. 50-67) edited by Bernhard Gissibl, Sabine Höhler and Patrick Kupper. New York, NY, United States: Berghahn Books.

  • Harper, Melissa (2010). Billy. Symbols of Australia. (pp. 83-92) edited by Melissa Harper and Richard White. Sydney, N.S.W., Australia: UNSW Press.

  • Harper, Melissa and White, Richard (2010). Land of symbols. Symbols of Australia. (pp. 1-11) edited by Melissa Harper and Richard White. Sydney, N.S.W., Australia: UNSW Press.

  • Harper, Melissa (2009). Saving the Franklin River: The environment takes centre stage. Turning points in Australian history. (pp. 211-223) edited by Martin Crotty and David Andrew Roberts. Sydney, NSW, Australia: University of New South Wales Press.

  • Harper, Melissa (1999). A boy's own adventure : George Morrison on foot across Australia. Playing the man : New approaches to masculinity. (pp. 110-122) Annandale, NSW, Australia: Pluto Press Australia.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • Harper, Melissa and Hetherington, Michelle (2009). Symbols of Australia. Canberra, Australia: National Museum of Australia.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision