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The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia - Bill Gammage

The Biggest Estate on Earth

How Aborigines Made Australia

Paperback

Published: 1st June 2012
In Stock. Ships in 1-2 business days from Australia
RRP $39.99
$30.75
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Explodes the myth that pre-settlement Australia was an untamed wilderness revealing the complex, country-wide systems of land management used by Aboriginal people.

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.

About the Author

Bill Gammage is a historian and adjunct professor in the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University. He is best known as author of the ground-breaking The Broken Years: Australian Soldiers in the Great War.

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The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia
 
4.4

(based on 18 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 3 Stars

     

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Deeply informative (17)
  • Well written (11)
  • Continually relevant (10)
  • Easy to understand (10)
  • Unique interpretation (10)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Reference (11)
  • Gift (5)
  • Older readers (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Everyday reader (12), Bookworm (3), Casual reader (3)

Reviewed by 18 customers

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5.0

Look out for more lke this.

By 

from Willow Creek, South Australia

About Me Everyday Reader

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Continually Relevant
  • Deeply Informative
  • Easy To Understand
  • Groundbreaking Research
  • Unique Interpretation
  • Well Written

Cons

  • Difficult To Follow

Best Uses

  • Reference

Comments about The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia:

This is a subject that needs to be recognised and understood by everybody in Australia. History pre white settlement in Australia has been poorly taught in our schools, and poorly researched in general due to lack of funding from the government. I am a farmer, and if the government put a fraction of the effort into understanding pre-white land management, instead of the millions it spends on telling us how to return our country to it's 'natural' state through the natural resources groups, we would all be in a better place, sustainably and financially.

 
5.0

Mind opening

By 

from New South Wales

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Pros

  • Broad Appeal
  • Continually Relevant
  • Deeply Informative
  • Easy To Understand
  • Groundbreaking Research
  • Unique Interpretation
  • Well Written

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia:

      This is a great book that smashes prejudices and misconceptions about Aboriginal people prior to colonisation

       
      5.0

      Fascinating. Changes how you think about Australia

      By 

      from Elwood, Victoria, Australia

      About Me Everyday Reader

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Continually Relevant
      • Deeply Informative
      • Unique Interpretation

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia:

          A new perspective on the Australian landscape and how the first Australians expertly managed it.

           
          4.0

          Of course you understand Aboriginal culture!

          By 

          from Canberra

          About Me Everyday Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Continually Relevant
          • Deeply Informative
          • Groundbreaking Research
          • Well Written

          Cons

          • slightly repetitious at times

          Best Uses

          • Gift

          Comments about The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia:

          I bought this together with Dark Emu as a gift for my husband. This is a scholarly version of that book with a heavy emphasis on proof. It is also the book Dicko said he went back and read after his time on TV show 'First Contact'. Really recommended for everyone who has no real knowledge of aboriginal culture and wants to learn. Not recommended for bigots

           
          5.0

          Revelations

          By 

          from Talbingo, AU

          About Me Casual Reader

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          Pros

          • Deeply Informative

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Reference

            Comments about The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia:

            Australian history avoided by the British establishment. Evidence of the successful civilisation exiting for about 50,000 years before British invasion on the basis that Australia was not occupied.
            All Australains need to be informed of the content of this book.

             
            4.0

            An Essential Book for all Australians

            By 

            from Darwin

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            Pros

            • Continually Relevant
            • Deeply Informative
            • Groundbreaking Research
            • Unique Interpretation
            • Well Written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Reference
              • Special Needs

              Comments about The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia:

              Should be on all School and University Curriculum lists.
              How Aboriginal people are essential to all Australians and how they controlled this land for thousands of years.

               
              4.0

              In depth study of Land Management.

              By 

              from Narrabri AU

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              Pros

              • Continually Relevant
              • Deeply Informative
              • Easy To Understand

              Cons

              • Limited Appeal

              Best Uses

              • Reference

              Comments about The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia:

              Not a gripping book although the information supplied seems well researched and presented. The Author seems to have spent a lot of time checking and rechecking the facts as far as he can. It provides a lot of answers that I had about the way the land has changed over the years

               
              4.0

              A new look at an ancient ( local ) history

              By 

              from Central Coast NSW

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              Pros

              • Deeply Informative
              • Easy To Understand
              • Unique Interpretation

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Australian History

                Comments about The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia:

                Extensive research on a subject that is little understood, even by Australian "history" experts. An enjoyable & enlightening read, this book has given me an insight into the nature of the vast interaction between the former caretakers of this country & their varied environments.

                 
                4.0

                Just started to read, but it is great so

                By 

                from Kinglake, AU

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                Pros

                • Deeply Informative
                • Unique Interpretation
                • Well Written

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Reference

                  Comments about The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia:

                  I am just starting to read it. It was recommended, and I am interested on how burn-offs in the bush can help maintain it.

                   
                  4.0

                  Must read for land managers

                  By 

                  from Pilbara

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                  Pros

                  • Deeply Informative
                  • Easy To Understand
                  • Well Written

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Gift
                    • Reference
                    • Special Needs

                    Comments about The Biggest Estate on Earth : How Aborigines Made Australia:

                    A good read for all land managers (farmers, pastoralists and conservation managers), related government agencies (all levels of government), environmentalists and bush fire agencies.

                    Through detailed descriptions of the land and aboriginal land management of 1788 the book gives insights into how land can be better managed now.

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                    "This bold book, with its lucid prose and vivid illustrations, will be discussed for years to come." --"Australian Book Review"

                    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

                    ISBN: 9781743311325
                    ISBN-10: 174331132X
                    Audience: Tertiary; University or College
                    Format: Paperback
                    Language: English
                    Number Of Pages: 384
                    Published: 1st June 2012
                    Publisher: Allen & Unwin
                    Country of Publication: AU
                    Dimensions (cm): 24.5 x 17.2  x 2.8
                    Weight (kg): 1.04
                    Edition Number: 1