25 Jun

Book Review

Bruce Pascoe spoke at this year’s Newcastle Writer’s festival and I heard about this book. With the theme for National Reconciliation Week (27th May to 3rd June 18): “Don’t Keep History a Mystery” and Naidoc Week (8-15th July) Theme “Because of her we can” I count this book as a must read for everyone and it really would shake up our understanding of pre- European Australia.

 I have copied extracts from the following review that can do it so much more justice than I can.


Have you ever wondered how Aboriginal people survived in the harsh Australian landscape for over 60 000 years before European contact? If you believe our history books you would think they sustained themselves as nomadic hunter-gatherers, living off a handful of berries and seeds here and the occasionally hunted kangaroo there. If this seems a little simplistic or implausible to you, you’re not alone….

In his book Dark Emu Black Seeds, Bruce Pascoe questions the notion of pre-European Aboriginal Australia as a simplistic hunter-gatherer society and argues that the economy and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been grossly undervalued….

In contrast to what we have always been taught about Aboriginal people leading largely nomadic lives, the evidence of fixed housing and villages found in explorers journals is vast and surprising. Houses were built with a variety of materials including grass, mud and stone to suit different climates.

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