File Size: 3744 KB
Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Allen & Unwin (January 10, 2012)
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
This specific book seeks to demonstrate that the Australia whites resolved in 1788 had been much altered by Aboriginal burning up, to create abundant food resources and safe paragraphs from spot to place. Their own practices were dependent on a close and detailed knowledge of each area by its inhabitants.
The cessation of Aboriginal fire stick management across much of the continent has seemingly made it vulnerable to large and destructive bush fires. Whether this knowledge can help with the prevention of our too frequent catastrophic fires is something the reader should ponder., Expenses Gammage, let's face it, is a humble name for a venerable Australian historian. The Biggest Estate tells a fascinating tale of how thousands of decades of the First Australians formed our land. Now in just five or half a dozen generations of white arrangement, we have damaged it, ideally not irretrievably. My first doubts about the vamdalism of settlement came after my mother retired to Alice Springs in the centre of Australia. Inside those days cattle works came to the edge of town. It was a sad and dirty place. Over the last 20 years since the cattle were blocked out, the desert scrub returned, the dust eased off and, dare I say it, "The Alice" is now an attractive place, well really worth visiting.
Open fire became a problem with the regrowth. I had the in-born fear of fire which regularly ravaged the coastal states. Wild fire still does, even though we have learned to lose to ease the risk in our summer of dry fuel build-up - such as leaves, bark, dead scrub under the giant Eucalypts. Gammage takes advantage of her hundreds of sources, many in the years after first settlement in 1788. The Australian landscape then resembled a cultivated "gentleman's park". The Aborigines gardened the open landscape with selective fire. Perhaps once a year for grassland, every two years to clear low scrub, every four years to thin wattle every 20 to open up tall wood.
Inside my latest book (unpublished but approaching out as a Kindle fire soon, I hope) I actually trace the global migration of the First Australians out of East Africa, across South and Southeast Asia, along the Indonesian islands to northern Australia and New Guinea. It was a time when sea levels were about 150 metres lower so they could drift, taking perhaps 10, 000 years to reach and settle an empty Australia 50, 1000 years ago. Since, as Gammage shows, they figured out broad cultivation by fireplace. Some time in the future we must redevelop these skills and make Australia truly beautiful again.
I bought "The Biggest Estate" as a Kindle but have bought two copies of the print edition for my older children for Christmas. The print edition is a treasure. That will be the duty of those and their children to carry out this mission., This book is one those rare ones where your reading each chapter opens another room of ignorance that makes you say WAM! Verify his Bibliography! Heh! Their Biblio is an e book in itself. Wonderful! Recall our 1988 Yellowstone terrible bad fires? Conclusion was they were caused by putting all fires out. Australia aborigines had been practicing fireplace techniques since time started. Australia's aborigines created and maintained the continent so fine that the first white visitors marveled and praised the land as " The Biggest Estate on Earth"., The assumption of the book is simple in that the first peoples cleared, farmed and managed the land in a superior and clever manner. While it is surely an exciting discovery and should enhance our respect, appreciation and knowledge of the aboriginals it tends to drag out the illustrations and would appear to need more research. The theory is exciting and there is much to study from the books statements. Lets hope the next book about the same subject is more on substance and less on small illustrations
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