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Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia
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AbstractHistoryArchive 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.' (Source: www.allenandunwin.com)

Notes

  • Dedication: To the people of 1788, whose land care is unmatched, and who showed what it is to be Australian.
  • Includes two quotations from Thomas Mitchell, Sydney, January 1847 and Oswald Brierly, Evans Bay, Cape York, 1 December 1849.
  • Includes: Foreword by Henry Reynolds.
  • In English language.
  • Tertiary/Undergraduate

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Allen and Unwin , 2011 .
      image of person or book cover 6158130930128336699.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: xxiii, 434p.
      Description: col. illus.
      Reprinted: 2012
      Note/s:
      • Includes abbreviations,definitions, appendices,notes, and bibliography.
      • Published October 2011
      ISBN: 9781743311325 (pbk), 9781742377483 (hbk), 1742693520 (eBook), 9781742693521 (eBook)

Other Formats

Works about this Work

New Research Turns Tasmanian Aboriginal History on Its Head. The Results Will Help Care for the Land Ted Lefroy , David Bowman , Grant Williamson , Penelope Jane Jones , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 4 October 2019;

'American farmer and poet Wendell Berry said of the first Europeans in North America that they came with vision, but not with sight. They came with vision of former places but not the sight to see what was before them. Instead of adapting their vision to suit the place, they changed the landscape to fit their vision.' (Introduction)

Dark Emu and the Blindness of Australian Agriculture Tony Hughes-d'Aeth , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 15 June 2018;

'What if Australia were to stop farming? At approximately 3% of gross domestic product, the removal of agriculture from the economy would be a significant hit. It would affect our balance of payments — 60% of agricultural produce is exported and it contributes 13% of Australia’s export revenue.' (Introduction)

From the Paddock to the Page : Squatter Peter Beveridge's Ethnological Writing about the Wadi Wadi in Colonial Victoria Amanda Lourie , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Oceania , November vol. 86 no. 3 2016; (p. 244–261)

'This article examines the ethnological writing about the Wadi Wadi people undertaken by squatter Peter Beveridge in the 1850s and 1860s. In the north of the colony of Victoria, both Beveridge and the Wadi Wadi laid claim to the land upon which they lived. In this ambiguous space, lengthy and close relationships developed between Beveridge and Wadi Wadi people with information and experiences shared. Valuing the knowledge of Wadi Wadi people, Beveridge was able to adapt and challenge aspects of the British ethnological ideas through which he framed his analysis of Wadi Wadi life. The article explores specifically Beveridge's response to the 1841 Queries Respecting the Human Race. It appears that Beveridge purposefully ignored the questions on Physical Characters and recognised spiritual belief as an integral part of Wadi Wadi daily life.' (Publication abstract)

Australian Children’s Literature and Postcolonialism : A Review Essay Xu Daozhi , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ilha Do Desterro : A Journal of English Language , vol. 69 no. 2 2016;
'The theme of land and country is resonant in Australian children’s literature with Aboriginal subject matter. The textual and visual narratives present counter-discourse strategies to challenge the colonial ideology and dominant valuation of Australian landscape. This paper begins by examining the colonial history of seeing Australia as an “empty space”, naming, and appropriating the land by erasing Aboriginal presence from the land. Then it explores the conceptual re-investment of Aboriginal connections to country in the representation of Australian landscape, as reflected and re-imagined in fiction and non-fiction for child readers. Thereby, as the paper suggests, a shared and reconciliatory space can at least discursively be negotiated and envisioned. ' (Publication abstract)
Review : The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia Natasha Fijn , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: PAN , no. 11 2014-2015; (p. 105-106)

— Review of The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia Bill Gammage , 2011 single work non-fiction
[Review] The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia John Mulvaney , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Aboriginal Studies , no. 1 2012; (p. 108-110)

— Review of The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia Bill Gammage , 2011 single work non-fiction

'Bill Gammage has done Indigenous Australians a great service and other Australians should ponder his thesis. This book is a great read and an intellectual and moral achievement. Well written, insightful, scholarly and continental in scope, it is a landmark in our historical appreciation of Australia’s landscape in (Gammage’s omnibus chronological term) ‘1788’.'  (Introduction)

Field Guide to 1788 Charles Robert Eliot Dawson , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Australasian Journal of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology , vol. 2 no. 2013; (p. 96 - 106)

— Review of The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia Bill Gammage , 2011 single work non-fiction
[Untitled] Andrew Gaynor , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , 1 June vol. 37 no. 2 2013; (p. 264-266)

— Review of The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia Bill Gammage , 2011 single work non-fiction
[Review] : The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Aboriginal History , January vol. 36 no. 2012; (p. 185-187)

— Review of The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia Bill Gammage , 2011 single work non-fiction
The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia [Book Review] Laura Rademaker , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Northern Territory Historical Studies , no. 24 2013; (p. 98-100)

— Review of The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia Bill Gammage , 2011 single work non-fiction
Creators or Destroyers : The Burning Questions of Human Impact in Ancient Aboriginal Australia Peter Hiscock , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Humanities Australia , no. 5 2014; (p. 40-52)
Australian Children’s Literature and Postcolonialism : A Review Essay Xu Daozhi , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ilha Do Desterro : A Journal of English Language , vol. 69 no. 2 2016;
'The theme of land and country is resonant in Australian children’s literature with Aboriginal subject matter. The textual and visual narratives present counter-discourse strategies to challenge the colonial ideology and dominant valuation of Australian landscape. This paper begins by examining the colonial history of seeing Australia as an “empty space”, naming, and appropriating the land by erasing Aboriginal presence from the land. Then it explores the conceptual re-investment of Aboriginal connections to country in the representation of Australian landscape, as reflected and re-imagined in fiction and non-fiction for child readers. Thereby, as the paper suggests, a shared and reconciliatory space can at least discursively be negotiated and envisioned. ' (Publication abstract)
[Review Essay] The Biggest Estate On Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia Sylvia Hallam , 2011 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Aboriginal Studies , no. 2 2011; (p. 123-126)

'In this important and amazing book, Gammage contends that Australia was ‘governed by a single religious philosophy…the Dreaming made the continent a single estate’ (p.xix and repeatedly) and that the original Australian people did this through their ‘knowledge of how to sustain Australia’ (p.323). Thus they ‘put the mark of humanity firmly on every place’ (p.323). He brings forward a mass of evidence to support his contention that Europeans entering and exploring the mainland and Tasmania observed and described those altered landscapes, without realising, or being unwilling to admit, that these rich landscapes of open forest, beautiful grassland and sheltering bush were other than natural. He uses a vast build-up of evidence to show that ‘even in arid country [around Ayers Rock] 1788’s unnatural patterns recur’. But although the bulk of the book is concerned to validate and exemplify the technology and results of land management, largely through burning, we should not lose sight of Gammage’s primary aim, which is to persuade us of the spiritual stature and technological skills of Aboriginal people. We should see them as masters of their terrain, managing the entire continent with detailed local and regional knowledge and skill, to yield an abundance of resources and leisure. This enables them to focus on the social, ritual and artistic aspects of life; participating in ceremony, dance, song, storytelling, decoration of the body, the ground, the rock; gathering to exchange knowledge of the myths impressed on the landscape and the mathematical intricacies of finding marriage partners correctly placed in kinship patterns. They could live life to the full, rather than merely struggle to stay alive.' (Introduction)

From the Paddock to the Page : Squatter Peter Beveridge's Ethnological Writing about the Wadi Wadi in Colonial Victoria Amanda Lourie , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Oceania , November vol. 86 no. 3 2016; (p. 244–261)

'This article examines the ethnological writing about the Wadi Wadi people undertaken by squatter Peter Beveridge in the 1850s and 1860s. In the north of the colony of Victoria, both Beveridge and the Wadi Wadi laid claim to the land upon which they lived. In this ambiguous space, lengthy and close relationships developed between Beveridge and Wadi Wadi people with information and experiences shared. Valuing the knowledge of Wadi Wadi people, Beveridge was able to adapt and challenge aspects of the British ethnological ideas through which he framed his analysis of Wadi Wadi life. The article explores specifically Beveridge's response to the 1841 Queries Respecting the Human Race. It appears that Beveridge purposefully ignored the questions on Physical Characters and recognised spiritual belief as an integral part of Wadi Wadi daily life.' (Publication abstract)

Dark Emu and the Blindness of Australian Agriculture Tony Hughes-d'Aeth , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 15 June 2018;

'What if Australia were to stop farming? At approximately 3% of gross domestic product, the removal of agriculture from the economy would be a significant hit. It would affect our balance of payments — 60% of agricultural produce is exported and it contributes 13% of Australia’s export revenue.' (Introduction)

Last amended 3 Jun 2014 09:37:38
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