Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bill Gammage in Daylesford

  • 90 people packed the Senior Citizen's rooms to hear Bill Gammage, author of the book "The Biggest Estate On Earth".  The audience was captured by his presentation and there were many questions. It was a succinct  overview of the book.
     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.
  • If you missed Bill in person, borrow a copy of his book from the library or HRN has 4 copies of the book available at $35 . We could do a book study group if there were a few people interested.  Any takers?

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