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The Biggest Estate on Earth

Bill Gammage


  • Paperback
    $30.79
PUBLISHED: 1st June 2012
ISBN: 9781743311325
ANNOTATION:
Explodes the myth that pre-settlement Australia was an untamed wilderness, revealing the complex, country-wide systems of land management used by Aboriginal people.
The Biggest Estate on Earth
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  • Paperback
    $30.79
PUBLISHED: 1st June 2012
ISBN: 9781743311325
ANNOTATION:
Explodes the myth that pre-settlement Australia was an untamed wilderness, revealing the complex, country-wide systems of land management used by Aboriginal people.

Annotation

Explodes the myth that pre-settlement Australia was an untamed wilderness, revealing the complex, country-wide systems of land management used by Aboriginal people.

Publisher Description

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.

Author Biography

Bill Gammage is the author of The Broken Years: Australian Soldiers in the Great War.

Table of Contents

Contents

Illustrations

Thanks

Sources

Abbreviations

Definitions

Foreword by Henry Reynolds

Australia in 1788

Introduction: The Australian estate

  1. Curious landscapes

  2. Canvas of a continent

Why was Aboriginal land management possible?

  1. The nature of Australia

  2. Heaven on earth

  3. Country

How was land managed?

  1. The closest ally

  2. Associations

  3. Templates

  4. A capital tour

  5. Farms without fences

Invasion

  1. Becoming Australian

Appendix 1: Science, history and landscape

Appendix 2: Current botanical names for plants named with capitals in the text

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Review

"A beautiful and profound piece of writing, one that has importance for us all." --"Age" "This bold book, with its lucid prose and vivid illustrations, will be discussed for years to come." --"Australian Book Review"

Prizes

Winner of Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History 2012 (Australia)
Winner of Victorian Prize for Literature 2012 (Australia)
Winner of and Victorian Premier's Literary Awards (Prize for Non-Fiction) 2012 (Australia)
Winner of ACT Book of the Year Award 2012 (Australia)
Winner of Queensland Literary Awards (History Book Award) 2012 (Australia)
Winner of Canberra Critics' Circle Award 2011 (Australia)
Short-listed for Manning Clark House National Cultural Awards (Individual Category) 2013 (Australia)
Short-listed for NSW Premier's Literary Awards (Douglas Stewart Prize) 2012 (Australia)
Short-listed for Australian Book Industry Awards (General Non-Fiction Book of the Year) 2012 (Australia)

Long Description

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.

Review Quote

"This bold book, with its lucid prose and vivid illustrations, will be discussed for years to come."

Product Details

Author
Bill Gammage
Pages
384
Publisher
Allen & Unwin
Year
2012
ISBN-10
174331132X
ISBN-13
9781743311325
Format
Paperback
Country of Publication
Australia
Short Title
BIGGEST ESTATE ON EARTH
Language
English
Media
Book
Publication Date
2012-06-01
Illustrations
80pp colour insert
Subtitle
How Aborigines made Australia
Audience
General/Trade