Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture
Author: Bruce Pascoe
Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating, and storing — behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence in Dark Emu comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources.
Bruce’s comments on his book compared to Gammage’s: “ My book is about food production, housing construction and clothing, whereas Gammage was interested in the appearance of the country at contact. [Gammage] doesn’t contest hunter gatherer labels either, whereas that is at the centre of my argument.”
Winner – Book of the Year in the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards
Winner – Indigenous Writer’s Prize in the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards
Shortlisted – History Book Award in the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards
Shortlisted – 2014 Victorian Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing
About the Author
Bruce Pascoe is a Bunurong man born in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. He is a member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative of southern Victoria and has been the director of the Australian Studies Project for the Commonwealth Schools Commission. Bruce has had a varied career as a teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, fencing contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archaeological site worker and editor.
Books include the short story collections Night Animals and Nightjar; the novels Fox, Ruby Eyed Coucal, Ribcage, Shark, Earth, and Ocean; historical works Cape Otway: Coast of secrets and Convincing Ground; the childrens book Foxies in a Firehose and the young adult fiction Fog a Dox, which won the Prime Ministers Literary Award for YA Fiction, 2013.