RESERVE aux Membres de l’AFA
His Excellency Ric Wells
Ambassador Designate for Australia in France
has the pleasure of inviting you to a presentation by
Bill GAMMAGE, Australian historian
“The Biggest Estate on Earth”
.... How Aborigines Made Australia
Tuesday 19 June, 18.30 – 21.30
4 rue Jean Rey
Métro: Bir Hakeim – RER C / Champ de Mars
Places are limited - RSVP before 12 June
The Biggest Estate on Earth explodes the myth that pre-settlement Australia was an untamed wilderness and reveals the complex, country-wide systems of land management used by Aboriginal people.
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.
About the Author
Bill Gammage is a historian and adjunct professor in the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University. He is best known as author of the ground-breaking The Broken Years: Australian Soldiers in the Great War.
NAIDOC WEEK 2012
NAIDOC stands for the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.
Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.
NAIDOC is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields.