In Wallace’s Footsteps by Robert Hall

Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace, O.M., L.L.D., D.C.L., F.R.S.

Alfred Russel Wallace was arguably the greatest tropical naturalist of the 19th century and a co-founder (with Charles Darwin) of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.

He was not a geologist but he certainly appreciated the role of geology in influencing the distributions of animals and plants. He was the first to recognise the division which today bears his name, the Wallace Line, which separates Australian and Asian faunas.

This area is the collision zone between Australia and South East Asia and has seen the most significant changes in the distribution of land and sea in the last few million years. 45 million years ago Australia began to move rapidly north. About 20 million years later it finally collided with Indonesia and the collision continues today leading to the creation of a fascinating landscape of high mountains and deep basins

Indonesian landscape

Indonesian landscape

Wallace travelled extensively in the Malay Archipelago with local guides using small boats. Despite the impact of the modern world many parts of the region are still much as Wallace saw them in the 19th century. In his lecture Robert Hall of Royal Holloway University of London will illustrate some of the places Wallace visited, outline the history of this geologically dynamic region, and offer some suggestions as to why it may act as a major control of the global climate and contain the most diverse biota on Earth.

This Geology Lecture takes place at 7.00pm on Wednesday 9th October 2013. Entry is free and the doors are open from 6.30pm. A donation of £3.00 is encouraged to cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on

Related Links:

Book Launch: Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels by JB Bullen

Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels by JB Bullen

Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels by JB Bullen

Hardy Book Launch at Dorset County Museum 6th June 2013 at 6.00pm

Thomas Hardy’s Wessex is one of the great literary evocations of place, populated with colourful and dramatic characters.  As lovers of his novels and poetry know, this ‘partly real, partly dream-country’ was firmly rooted in the Dorset into which he had been born.

JB Bullen explores the relationship between reality and the dream, identifying the places and the settings for Hardy’s writing, and showing how and why he shaped them to serve the needs of his characters and plots. The locations may be natural or man-made, but they are rarely fantastic or imaginary. A few have been destroyed and some moved from their original site, but all of them actually existed, and we can still trace most of them on the ground today.

Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels opens new and original perspectives for both those who already know his brilliant stories, and those who come to them for the first time.
JB Bullen holds the Chair of English Literature and Culture in the department of English Literature, Royal Holloway, University of London. He is also Professor Emeritus of the University of Reading where he lectured on English Literature and Art History for over twenty-five years. In 2010 he delivered the plenary lecture at the last international Hardy biennale. He is the author of many books and articles and lives in Oxford.

The book included chapters on Far from the Madding Crown, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Hardy’s poems.

Entry to the book launch is free.  It is followed at 7.30pm by an illustrated talk by Helen Gibson and Marilyn Leah entitled ‘Emma: West of Wessex Girl’ on the life of the first Mrs Thomas Hardy.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on

Related Sources: