Biggest Estate on Earth

Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines made Australia

4.18 (585 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Winner of the Prize for Australian History in the Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2012; The History Book Award in the Queensland Literary Awards 2012; the Victorian Prize for Literature 2012; and the ACT Book of the Year 2012
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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 172 x 244 x 28mm | 1,046g
  • St Leonards, Australia
  • English
  • Main
  • 80pp colour insert
  • 174331132X
  • 9781743311325
  • 25,193

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?

3. The nature of Australia

4. Heaven on earth

5. Country

How was land managed?

6. The closest ally

7. Associations

8. Templates

9. A capital tour

10. Farms without fences

Invasion

11. Becoming Australian

Appendix 1: Science, history and landscape

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

Notes

Bibliography

Index
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Review quote

"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"
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About Bill Gammage

Bill Gammage AM FASSA is an Australian historian, Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the Humanities Research Centre of the Australian National University (ANU). He is also the author of The Broken Years, and The Sky Travellers.
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Rating details

585 ratings
4.18 out of 5 stars
5 43% (250)
4 40% (233)
3 12% (69)
2 4% (25)
1 1% (8)
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