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The Biggest Estate on Earth

How Aborigines made Australia

The Biggest Estate on Earth by Bill Gammage
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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.

Allen & Unwin; October 2011
462 pages; ISBN 9781742693521
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Title: The Biggest Estate on Earth
Author: Bill Gammage
 
  • News
Why has native 'grub' been ignored for so long? - InDaily
Sun, 22 May 2016 18:47:31 -0700
InDailyWhy has native 'grub' been ignored for so long?InDailyHistorian Bill Gammage argued in The Biggest Estate on ...
Idea of pristine wilderness short of reality - The Mercury
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 09:45:13 -0700
The MercuryIdea of pristine wilderness short of realityThe MercuryBill Gammage, a respected historian and an adjunct professor ...
Burning questions - Sydney Morning Herald
Fri, 14 Oct 2011 06:02:01 -0700
Sydney Morning HeraldBurning questionsSydney Morning HeraldIn The Biggest Estate on Earth, ANU historian Bill Gammage ...