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The First Scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia's First Peoples : CBCA's Shortlist Eve Pownall Award 2022 - Corey Tutt

The First Scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia's First Peoples

CBCA's Shortlist Eve Pownall Award 2022

By: Corey Tutt, Blak Douglas (Illustrator)

Hardcover | 13 October 2021

At a Glance


RRP $32.99



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The First Scientists
is the highly anticipated, illustrated science book from Corey Tutt of DeadlyScience. With kids aged 7 to 12 years in mind, this book will nourish readers’ love of science and develop their respect for Indigenous knowledge at the same time.

Have you ever wondered what the stars can tell us? Did you know the seasons can be predicted just by looking at subtle changes in nature? Maybe you have wondered about the origins of glue or if forensic science is possible without a crime scene investigation. Australia's First peoples have the longest continuing culture on Earth and their innovation will amaze you as you leaf through the pages of this book, learning fascinating facts and discovering the answers to life's questions.

In consultation with communities, Corey tells us of many deadly feats – from bush medicine to bush trackers – that are today considered 'science', and introduces us to many amazing scientists, both past and present. The breadth of ‘sciences’ is incredible with six main chapters covering astronomy, engineering, forensic science, chemistry, land management and ecology. The first scientists passed on the lessons of the land, sea and sky to the future scientists of today through stories, song and dance, and many of these lessons are now shared in this book.

Vibrant illustrations by Blak Douglas bring the subjects to life, so you’ll never think about science as just people in lab coats ever again!

About the Author

Corey Tutt is a Kamilaroi man from Nowra on the New South Wales south coast. As a kid, he dreamed of becoming a zookeeper and in high school he developed a love of STEM subjects. But unlike the arts and sport, he found there was little encouragement for Aboriginal people to pursue careers in STEM. In 2018, while working as a research assistant for the University of Sydney, Corey founded DeadlyScience, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to provide science books and telescopes to remote schools in Australia, and connects young Indigenous people with mentors to encourage their participation in STEM subjects.

In 2020, Corey was named the NSW Young Australian of the Year, and a Human Rights Hero by the Australian Human Rights Commission. He continues to work tirelessly to send STEM resources to Indigenous communities, and show First Nations kids that STEM is for them. The organisation has even attracted international attention, with Corey presenting at Harvard and Oxford universities.
Industry Reviews
'This is such a great, positive book. When I was a kid you coloured in a boomerang – such a shallow acknowledgement of Australian history. But now, young Australians can get to know the full fascinating history of their country and perhaps think about how that incredible history and the people descended from it can be honoured.' – Bruce Pascoe

'Proud Kamilaroi man Corey Tutt is one of the most important young Australian voices of the 21st century; one who has inspired me greatly. With a deep passion and knowledge for all things science-related, combined with a genuine desire to empower young First Australians and with the biggest of hearts, Corey continues to be a meaningful and positive impact in the lives of so many.' – Kylie Kwong

'An amazing book from an amazing young man. Corey’s ability to take ancient cultural knowledge and convey it for modern-day young minds is perfectly on display here in an engaging read for all ages.' – Rove McManus

'Corey has a gift of making big ideas accessible for kids – and adults like myself who are just not that smart at science stuff!' – Wil Anderson
'The oldest construction ever made, 40,000-year-old fish traps, is still being used today. Learn about this, fire management, food, astronomy and more – all inside this beautiful, eye-opening book.' – Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

'The First Scientists is an amazing book of facts about the ingenuity of First Nations people. This book will appeal to both young and old. I love the clear simple language and storytelling format Corey uses, along with a range of well researched examples of ‘firsts’ across Australia. Who would have thought our mob’s coming together to trade food and tools would be compared to the first eBay for scientists, love it ... There is so much scope to combine First Nations knowledge and traditional practices with western science in so many other areas, including the way we manage Country including our waterways. – Aunty Veronica Murphy

'I love what Cory and everyone part of the DeadlyScience team are doing by bringing science and learning to so many kids, and in-turn, bringing the ancient practices and knowledge of these kids and their ancestors to all.' – Dan Sultan

My children love The First Scientists. We read it together, and on every page we have learnt something new about ourselves and our country. The book has achieved the impossible, we are even prouder to be Indigenous and Australian than we were before. – Thomas Mayor

'Insightful, informative and should be in every home across the country.' – Joe Williams

The First Scientists is as deeply inspiring as it is profoundly illuminating, with something to offer to readers of all ages. Through the vibrant artworks of Blak Douglas, Corey Tutt takes the reader on a journey through the sophisticated scientific understanding of Australia’s first astronomers, engineers, land managers, and so much more! The First Scientists is a must-read for all curious young minds, filled with the right knowledge and insight to empower the next generation of deadly scientists.’ – Krystal De Napoli, Kamilaroi astrophysicist

'An extremely engaging, informative and at times funny account of the much-overlooked contribution of early First Nations people to various scientific fields. – Hannah Gardiner, Books+Publishing

'The First Scientists is aimed at kids up to 12, but the historical facts Tutt has presented from the world’s longest continuing culture will likely surprise many adults as well.'  – Kylie Northover, The Age

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Tiger Daughter : CBCA Winner Older Readers 2022 - Rebecca Lim
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