The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia

Front Cover
Allen & Unwin, Apr 1, 2013 - History - 434 pages
19 Reviews
Reveals the complex, country-wide systems of land management used by Aboriginal people in presettlement Australia 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. Bill Gammage has discovered this was because Aboriginal people managed the land in a far more systematic and scientific fashion than most people have ever realized. For more than a decade, he has examined written and visual records of the Australian landscape. He has uncovered an extraordinarily complex system of land management using fire, the life cycles of native plants, and the natural flow of water to ensure plentiful wildlife and plant foods throughout the year. Aboriginal people spent far less time and effort than Europeans in securing food and shelter, and this book reveals how. Once Aboriginal people were no longer able to tend their country, it became overgrown and vulnerable to the hugely damaging bushfires Australians now experience. With details of land-management strategies from around Australia, this book rewrites the history of the continent, with huge implications for today.
  

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Review: The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia

User Review  - Taylor - Goodreads

I would have loved to give this book five stars. It's a real eye opener and should be required reading for all Australians. However for such an interesting topic the book is so repetitive that I ... Read full review

Review: The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia

User Review  - Goodreads

I would have loved to give this book five stars. It's a real eye opener and should be required reading for all Australians. However for such an interesting topic the book is so repetitive that I ... Read full review

Contents

Why was Aboriginal land management possible?
101
How was land managed?
155
Invasion
305
Appendix 1 Science history and landscape
325
Appendix 2 Current botanical names for plants named with capitals in the text
343
Notes
347
Bibliography
379
Index
417
Back cover
435
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Bill Gammage is a historian and the author of the The Broken Years: Australian Soldiers in the Great War and Sky Travellers.

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