Gammage, Bill: Biggest estate

Gammage, Bill

The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW, 2011

Bill Gammage’s The Biggest Estate on Earth argues that the Aboriginal people managed the land in a far more systematic and scientific fashion than we previously envisioned. The Biggest Estate on Earth recasts, in a quantum leap, our perceptions of Aboriginal Australia and our understanding of the historic Australian environment and its land care. (Prime Minister’s Literary Awards judges’ comments)

There are reviews here, here, here and here. The book is heavy going in parts, with evidence piled on thick but argument sometimes cryptic. An editor should have tilted the balance somewhat.

The author summarises his argument here and the first chapter of the book is here, plus the foreword by Henry Reynolds. Gammage’s concluding challenge is worth recording: ‘We have a continent to learn. If we are to survive, let alone feel at home, we must begin to understand our country. If we succeed, one day we might become Australian.’

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