Bill Gammage on pre-settlement Australia

“The trees were scattered, the scrub was thin. The soil was so soft and dark you could sink a hand into it with ease. The rivers were crystal clear. The plains were rich with game, the skies dark with birds, the seas black with fish.”
(Adrian Hyland paraphrasing Bill Gammage)

This article talks about Bill Gammage’s book, The Biggest Estate on Earth, which looks at pre-white settlement Australia. Gammage refers to historical documents and drawings to reveal the results of thousands of years of caring for country. The Australian landscape of today is a very different place, to the garden nation that the first europeans would have encountered. And yet on ecological matters – cleaning up country, firestick farming, techniques that Aboriginal Australians still use to nurture their land – we still rely only on white expertise.

Caring for country is a foundation stone for the wellbeing of Aboriginal people.



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