Dark Emu

Dark Emu 11

Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture, New Edition

by Bruce Pascoe

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 01/06/2018

5/5 Rating 11 Reviews
RRP  $19.99 $14.95

Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians.

The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating, and storing behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag.  Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie.  Almost all the evidence in Dark Emu comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources.

Bruce’s comments on his book compared to Gammage’s: “My book is about food production, housing construction and clothing, whereas Gammage was interested in the appearance of the country at contact. [Gammage] doesn’t contest hunter gatherer labels either, whereas that is at the centre of my argument.”

Bestselling Books for 2018
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‘Dark Emu injects a profound authenticity into the conversation about how we Australians understand our continent ... [It is] essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what Australia once was, or what it might yet be if we heed the lessons of long and sophisticated human occupation.’ Judges for 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards
Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe is an Australian Indigenous writer. He has worked as a teacher, farmer, a fisherman and an Aboriginal language researcher.

His books include Fog a Dox, a book for young adults that won the Prime Minister's Literary Awards in 2013, Convincing Ground about the Convincing Ground massacre, and Dark Emu, a book that challenges the claim that pre-colonial Australian Aboriginal peoples were hunter-gatherers.

In 2018, Bruce Pascoe was awarded the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (11 Ratings)
5 stars (10)
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  • Thought provoking and heartbreaking.

    by on

    I think every Australian needs to read this book. I went to school in the '60s and '70s - Why were we not taught about indigenous culture, technology and heritage? What terrible mistakes could have been avoided if the people who lived in and managed this land for millennia had been embraced and listened to, if their culture and practices had been accepted and incorporated into a shared future. Well done Bruce Pascoe - the best book I've read in a long time.

  • Very Enlightening

    by on

    I am nearly finished reading Dark Emu and I am finding out many facts that I as well as most people did not know. I find it very interesting that the book is based on the journals and diaries of the first white settlers accounts that have been overlooked for so long. Maybe there is lessons in these writings to help this country in times of drought. My congratulations to Bruce Pascoe on a very empowering book I have also bought copies of Young Dark Emu for my Grandchildren for Christmas


    by on

    An excellent book, well researched, well written, offering the ways Indigenous people lived for thousands of years. It provides evidence of the actual lifestyles of so many groups very convincingly. It makes so much sense -perhaps we should adopt the ways where water, and food was deployed.

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