School of Arts

Susan Kruss

CRCAH masters candidate

History of the Field Naturalists' Club of Ballarat


Ballarat has one of the oldest Field Naturalists' Clubs in Australia, established at SMB in 1882 as the Ballarat Field Club and Science Society. This group eventually folded, but was re-formed in May 1915 and continued until November 1918 as the Ballarat School of Mines Science Club. It was formed again in 1952 as the Field Naturalists Club of Ballarat (FNCB) and this group continues in 2015.

Field Naturalists' Clubs view the natural world as existing long before and after any human group, as being part of a longue durée of evolution, and as independent of humanity, though impinged on by human activity.

The early field naturalists were active in exploring, identifying and recording the local Australian environment. Over time, they have become more involved in conservation. Susan's research will be centred on the roles, interests and concerns of the three Ballarat Field Naturalists groups in their different eras in relation to the natural environment of Ballarat.

Susan holds a Bachelor of Arts (La Trobe Uni), Grad Diploma in Education (Ballarat Uni) and Grad Certificate in Social Sciences (Monash Uni). She has worked as a secondary teacher, journalist, editor and instructional designer (Deakin Uni). She has written fiction and poetry, guides to VCE English texts and several commissioned histories.


Commissioned histories

Creswick Golf Club 75th Anniversary history (1991)
Bethany: Serving the Community(2008)
After the Game: Geelong Past Players and Officials Club (2013)
History of the Melbourne Athenaeum(unpublished)


The Meaning of Wood (poetry; Five Islands Press, 2003; highly commended in the Ann Elder Award).
Calico Ceilings: The Women of Eureka  
'Exploring history with the imagination: writing historical poetry' published in WriteOn, magazine published by the Victorian Writers Centre, Melb., vol. 17, no. 3, April 2005.
Articles and book reviews published in the Ballarat Courier, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald

Conference paper

'Calico Ceilings: The significant role of women in the events leading to Eureka', presented at Eureka 150 Conference, Ballarat, 2005.