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The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made AustraliaArtist/Author: Gammage, Bill
Explodes the myth that pre-settlement Australia was an untamed wilderness revealing the complex, country-wide systems of land management used by Aboriginal people.
Across Australia, early Europeans commented again and again that the land looked like a park. With extensive grassy patches and pathways, open woodlands and abundant wildlife, it evoked a country estate in England. Bill Gammage has discovered this was because Aboriginal people managed the land in a far more systematic and scientific fashion than we have ever realised.
For over a decade, Gammage has examined written and visual records of the Australian landscape. He has uncovered an extraordinarily complex system of land management using fire and the life cycles of native plants to ensure plentiful wildlife and plant foods throughout the year. We know Aboriginal people spent far less time and effort than Europeans in securing food and shelter, and now we know how they did it.
With details of land-management strategies from around Australia, The Biggest Estate on Earth rewrites the history of this continent, with huge implications for us today. Once Aboriginal people were no longer able to tend their country, it became overgrown and vulnerable to the hugely damaging bushfires we now experience. And what we think of as virgin bush in a national park is nothing of the kind.
Aboriginal CountryArtist/Author: Bellear, Lisa, Edited by Jen Jewel Brown
Much of Lisa Bellear’s poetry is politics made eloquent. In Aboriginal Country many poems seem to spark with frustrated energy over Australia’s political crossed circuits regarding a treaty with our First Nations peoples – as promised by Prime Minister Hawke in 1988. Reading the title poem for the first time I was struck by its power. We are on Aboriginal Country in Australia. With subtle barbs she wakes us as to how the ‘ownership’ (via naming ‘rights’) of Australian public lands and monuments lauds absent white English royalty and ‘intrepid god fearing discoverers’. Yet in her closing lines the poet transforms this potential for bitterness into a moment of hushed respect for country. – Jen Jewel Brown, Editor
I am one of many Australians who never met Lisa Bellear, yet was shocked by her unexpected and tragic passing. These poems are her gift! In this collection the poems resonate her warrior spirit, and the spirit of Aboriginal Country, as was her wish. – Ali Cobby Eckermann, Nunga poet and writer
Lisa Bellear became a close friend when I studied and taught at Melbourne University from the mid-1990s. During that time she became renowned not only as a poet but also as a community photographer recording numerous events and people in the local Aboriginal community. Her sudden departure was a great shock to all who knew her, but she lives on in our memories because her poems and photographs are the powerful legacy she left us. – Dr Gary Foley, Associate Professor in History, Moondani Balluk, Victoria University
Aboriginal Myths: Tales of the DreamtimeArtist/Author: Reed, A.W.
Aboriginal Myths: Tales of the Dreamtime gives a fascinating glimpse of the wild and entertaining deeds of the mythic beings populating Aboriginal spiritual life. From acts of creation and the deeds of the Great Spirit, to totemic ancestors and tales explaining natural phenomena, this delightful collection of stories paints a picture of the mystical bond that exists between Aboriginal people, the environment and the spirit life of the Dreamtime.
Blood on the Wattle: Massacres and Maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians Since 1788 (Third Edition)Artist/Author: Elder, Bruce
Blood on the Wattle draws together, in a single volume, most of the information about the massacres of Aboriginal people which has been recorded in books and journals. It also creates a broad-based level of awareness of the scale of the massacres of Aboriginal people so that this dimension of Australian history can become part of the Australian consciousness.
Bruce Elder, the author is a writer, commentator, and journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald specialising in travel and popular culture. His other areas of expertise include film, television and popular music. He has written extensively about Australia and has a passion for Australian history. He has been involved in writing over 60 books, including Blood on the Wattle which, in 2000, was nominated as one of the 10 most influential works of non-fiction published in Australia in the twentieth century.
Aboriginal Myths, Legends and FablesArtist/Author: Reed, A.W.
Aboriginal Myths, Legends & Fables presents a wealth of poetic and imaginative tales from Aboriginal cultural heritage. While retelling the stories simply, this book captures the mystical bonds that exist between Aboriginal people, their environment and the spirit life of the Dreamtime. Each story provides the reader with an insight into the fascinating beliefs of one of the oldest living cultures on Earth.
Aboriginal Biocultural Knowledge in South-Eastern AustraliaArtist/Author: Cahir, Fred, Ian Clark, Philip Clarke
Provides an insight into the environmental knowledge of Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous Australians have long understood sustainable hunting and harvesting, seasonal changes in flora and fauna, predator–prey relationships and imbalances, and seasonal fire management. Yet the extent of their knowledge and expertise has been largely unknown and underappreciated by non-Aboriginal colonists, especially in the south-east of Australia where Aboriginal culture was severely fractured.
Aboriginal Biocultural Knowledge in South-eastern Australia is the first book to examine historical records from early colonists who interacted with south-eastern Australian Aboriginal communities and documented their understanding of the environment, natural resources such as water and plant and animal foods, medicine and other aspects of their material world. This book provides a compelling case for the importance of understanding Indigenous knowledge, to inform discussions around climate change, biodiversity, resource management, health and education. It will be a valuable reference for natural resource management agencies, academics in Indigenous studies and anyone interested in Aboriginal culture and knowledge.