The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made 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, 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.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - booktsunami - LibraryThing
Well Bill, you pretty much had me until your last chapter (which is really an appendix). But thou "dost protest too much, methinks". This appendix is very defensive and highlights the fact that Bill's ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Polaris- - LibraryThing
Bill Gammage's book was kindly leant to me by a new found friend while I was away in Western Australia. Unfortunately, owing to the many wonderful distractions one encounters during a family reunion ... Read full review
Why was Aboriginal land management possible?
How was land managed?
Appendix 1 Science historyand landscape
Appendix 2 Current botanical names for plants named with capitals in the text