Bruce Pascoe’s Recipe for Making a Nice Crust

ABC favourite Bruce Pascoe wrote a fake history, Dark Emu, claiming that, rather than being the nomadic hunter/gatherer society we have always known them to be, Australian Aborigines were actually a sophisticated society of settled agriculturalists.  The book garnered a NSW Premiers Literary Award and has sold a bucketload of copies. As a result, Pascoe has been hailed, by The Australian no less, as ‘our most influential Indigenous historian’.

Next he planted a couple of acres on his farm near Mallacoota with native grasses, harvested some of it and baked a loaf of bread.  As a result he has been making a crust in two ways, having now been appointed Enterprise Professor in Indigenous Agriculture at the University of Melbourne. Let’s hope he doesn’t take a first aid course. He could end up chief surgeon at Royal Melbourne Hospital.

So Pascoe goes from strength to strength, secure in the knowledge that none of his cheerleaders (a posse including just about everyone who is not associated with Quadrant, The Spectator or Sky News) will even acknowledge the existence of my book Bitter Harvest, which — allow me to put modesty aside — totally demolishes both his thesis and his credibility.  One of the reasons cited by Wikipedia gatekeepers in denying any mention of Bitter Harvest in their Bruce Pascoe article, is that my book has sold only a handful of copies.  In fact, we’ve sold out our entire first print run  and have just released the second, expanded edition, which covers considerably more of Pascoe’s dissembling than made it into the first edition. But I have also ventured somewhat outside the direct remit of Dark Emu and examined some other themes, tangential to Dark Emu but common within modern Aboriginal discourse. 

Let me regale you with one example.

Did you know that Aborigines were the world’s first astronomers?  No?  Well, we have this from no less an authority than proud Wiradjuri woman  Kirsten Banks.  Kirsten graduated from UNSW in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics.  Her Wikipedia entry describes her as an astrophysicist and science communicator.  A “science communicator” at the Sydney Observatory, she has accumulated considerable media coverage, including a Cosmos profile in which she recalls how her grandpa, an engineer, encouraged her to make a career in science.  She has just completed her Honours year, ‘dreams of becoming a world-famous science communicator’ and has this say about her indigenous roots:

I always knew I had Aboriginal heritage on my father’s side, but I didn’t know much about it … When I examined my family history more closely, I discovered my ancestors are Wiradjuri. I was given the contact number of an elder to learn more, who turns out is my great aunty.

Ms Banks features on a webpage entitled Australian Indigenous Astronomy, along with astrophysicists, educators, researchers and published elders — including, of course, Bruce Pascoe, who is described as a Bunurong Elder.  This website tells us:

Indigenous astronomy is the first astronomy – the astronomy that existed long before the Babylonians, Greeks, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment.

That may be true as far as it goes but ‘indigenous’ in this context does not mean Aboriginal.  It really refers to primitive people the world over. 

The website also includes this nugget, which will bring no comfort to those wondering and perplexed about what is going on in Australia’s schools, where Pascoe’s prolix piffle already occupies a place of honour and reverence:

We are happy to announce that the new National Curriculum incorporating Indigenous Astronomical Knowledge is now available for teachers and educators via the University of Melbourne Indigenous Education web portal.

The 14 Units are aimed at Years 5 & 8, and show how Indigenous Astronomy can be incorporated into the seven learning areas of Science, Mathematics, The Arts, English, Technologies, Humanities and Health. Please take some time to explore.

The Australian Indigenous Astronomy website is registered to an associate professor at Melbourne University, the American Duane W. Hamacher, one of whose published papers bears the fascinating title, “Whitening the Sky: Light pollution as a form of cultural genocide

Australian Aborigines certainly studied celestial bodies and events – as have all primitive peoples. They devised myths and legends based on these observations and even made practical use of their observations for, say, navigation or prediction of seasons – as all primitive peoples have done.  But they did not use “mathematics, physics or chemistry”  to explain their origin or evolution, as the same Wikipedia so enamoured of Pascoe puts it. (“a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It uses mathematics, physics, and chemistry in order to explain their origin and evolution”)  I’m sorry to rain on Ms Banks’s parade but Indigenous Astronomy is not astronomy; rather, it is a branch of anthropology – a worthy field of study, certainly.  But are they seriously suggesting Aborigines acquired astronomical knowledge or insights that have eluded Western science all these years?

Well maybe. Let’s hear from Ms Banks about Aboriginal knowledge of the Solar System:

Just the other week I was exploring in the bush and came across some beautiful rock carvings that appeared to show seven planets, plus the moon, all in a line. Back when there was no light pollution you would have had the ability to see six planets in the sky with the naked eye. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. I kept looking and thinking, and I realised that there was one planet missing. Surely it couldn’t have been Neptune, the farthest major planet in the solar system, because it’s not physically visible to the human eye. I realised that this eighth circle could be the Earth. I was flabbergasted – this could be evidence of our people knowing that Earth is a planet along with the others in our night skies, orbiting around a bright hot star called the sun, a millennia before the likes of Galileo, who discovered this a mere 400 years ago!

Rich astronomical knowledge that dates back over 65,000 years runs through our veins. We should embrace it. Why? Because we are the first astronomers!

What an extraordinary find, I thought, hunting in vain on The Guardian website for a picture of this remarkable petroglyph and longing to see the work of this anonymous antipodean Galileo. If only Kirsten had shared images of these providential carvings, we could all share her wonder.  Could we have another Professor Jim Bowler, who uncovered Mungo Man, in this young lady? Let us hope so. To aspire merely to the recognition and methods of Bruce Pascoe would sell short such an intrepid explorer.

Indigenous Astronomy, no doubt a worthy field of study, should be more accurately termed Celestial Anthropology. A number of commentators, including Jacinta Price, Warren Mundine and Josephine Cashman, have opined that Pascoe’s thesis demeans Aborigines.  I would contend that this type of patronizing is just as demeaning.

But why are so many Aboriginal champions, such as Professor Marcia Langton, prepared to go along with this myth?  It is because Dark Emu has an underlying political objective, one that goes to the question of a separate sovereignty.  Aboriginal activist Amy McQuire, writing in New Matilda shed some light(emphasis added):

While it is great that Australia is so ready to engage with the reality that Aboriginal people had a complicated land management system, I feel that their acceptance of this truth at the expense of the dark history of the frontier wars shows they do not fundamentally understand the vital importance of Pascoe’s work – and the far-reaching implications of it.

Ms McQuire goes on to postulate that the accepted principle that Australia’s settlement was largely peaceful only holds (under the international law of the time) if the continent was inhabited by nomadic hunter/gathers, rather than a settled population of agriculturalists.  In the latter circumstance, Britain would have needed to either negotiate a treaty or engage in a war of conquest — circumstances which would have obliged to the recognition of Aboriginal law.  McQuire goes on:

Recognising Aboriginal agriculture and land management not only means recognising the humanity and intelligence of Aboriginal peoples, but that this land was taken by conquest, and sovereignty has never been ceded.

If Pascoe’s story becomes the accepted narrative and displaces all the history that has gone before – history written by reputable historians, not blatant mis-quoters of primary sources – that would help establish a firm case for inclusion of a special place for Aborigines in the Constitution, leading in turn to a demand for sovereignty. Such an entity would not be based on geography but on ethnic identity.  That is why, one suspects, so many activists are happy to go along with Pascoe’s utter nonsense, regardless of how demeaning they must know it is to be heaping accolades on a fraud.

At present Native Title exists on about 30 per cent of the continent.  There are extant claims for another 30 per cent, much of which, going on past performance, is likely to be granted.  For example, there is a claim currently with the Native Title Tribunal for all of the NSW South Coast, from Sutherland Shire. just south of Sydney, all the way down to Eden, on the Victorian border.   Even before the case has been decided, Kiama Council has chosen to confers with the local Aboriginal Land Council before undertaking any construction work on public land. I have asked  local state member Gareth Ward what position the NSW government is taking on this claim and have been given to understand thee is still a lot of mulling going on in the party room and elsewhere.  Considering the Aboriginal population in my area is miniscule and that they are  thoroughly integrated into mainstream Australian society, I would think it only proper that they oppose this application.

Under the type of Aboriginal sovereignty arrangement I have described, my next door neighbour, were he or she as black as, say, Ms Banks, the star child, I could find myself living under a different and entirely race-based set of rights and responsibilities than the bloke next door. Quadrant‘s Keith Windschuttle explains this much better than I ever could in his book The Break-Up of Australia.

The long march of Pascoe’s fake history into the education system and popular imagination is already well advanced.  How long before the university history faculties succumb completely is anyone’s guess. Mine would be sooner rather than later. 

NOW, if you’ll pardon me once more, comes the shameless plug.  The only way Pascoe can be exposed is if books such as mine gain a wide readership, so much so that Pascoe’s enablers and apologists will be forced to take notice and, hopefully, respond.  This is where you come in.

For those of you who ever watched At Last the 1948 Show, you may remember the skit  ‘Make the Lovely Aimi MacDonald a Rich Lady Fund’. Well, this is my equivalent.  I’m not particularly lovely and this certainly won’t make me rich, so let me dub the project as the ‘Let’s Deny Bruce Pascoe a plaque on Circular Quay’s Writers Walk and help prevent the break-up of Australia in the process’.

Professor Geoffrey Blainey described Bitter Harvest as a ‘powerful critique’.  This new edition is, if I say so myself, much better.  If you are looking for a Christmas present,  know Bitter Harvest is more than a book — it is a shaming aimed at the restoration of sanity, accuracy and a respect for truth in the writing of history.

You can order the new edition of Bitter Harvest by clicking here.

28 thoughts on “Bruce Pascoe’s Recipe for Making a Nice Crust

  • Steve Smith says:

    I have always struggled to understand how the concept of land ownership could possibly relate to stone-age hunter-gatherers who roamed wide areas of this continent in search of food. Given this, how are these claims established? Aboriginals obviously have no written history, they left behind no structures, not even tombs or permanent burial sites. So we have had farcical situations like in Canberra where more than one tribe has “claims” to it. Enter Pascoe with his ludicrous, fictional book to reinvent Aboriginal history.

  • March says:

    Good to hear the book is doing well. I made several recommendations for my local library but it’s still not been purchased. I’ll suggest the updated version as well now. They have a complete set of Pascoe’s fake history and cook books, seems they are afraid of upsetting the apple cart with facts.

    As an aside the once credible Australian sceptics organisation’s featured Ms Banks and Aboriginal “astronomy” at Scepticon 2018. In past eras she would have been a bent spoon award winner.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Thanks, march. And thanks also to those of you who responded to my plea yesterday. I’m told sales are going very well.

  • lbloveday says:

    Cindy Berwick, President of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultation Group, was on her ABC’s Q&A 8 October 2018.
    Here is what Ms Berwick had to say about the lessons she delivers on her ancestors’ pioneering work with chords, cambers and dihedrals:
    “We actually look at mathematics and science and technology through a cultural lens, and so we actually teach aerodynamics through the boomerang, ‘coz the boomerang actually led to the invention of propellers, which then led to flight, then led to, you know, the invention of drones, which now patrol our coastlines, and save us from sharks…”
    The nonsense was unchallenged, of course.

  • Peter OBrien says:


    From Bitter Harvest:

    The most amazing Aboriginal technical achievement that I can think of is a hunting tool: the boomerang. But boomerangs, both straight and returning, have been found at archaeological sites in Europe, Egypt and North America. For example, King Tutankhamun owned a collection of boomerangs of both the straight and returning variety.

  • lbloveday says:


    My daughter wrote in a school assignment of the inventions of the Aborigines, including the “amazing Woomera”.
    At a previous school, the first (only?) joint Catholic-Anglican one in Australia, the end-of-year Presentation Night was held in a Catholic Cathedral, with music played on a didgeridoo and, I kid you not, a story told of the Rainbow Snake, and the making of the River Murray.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    “Indigenous Astronomy, no doubt a worthy field of study, should be more accurately termed Celestial Anthropology.”
    Sadly, anthropology is not what it once was, a serious field of study about the origins and cultures of humankind. Celestial Anthropology is certainly a useful rubric for the many varieties of myths that hunter-gatherer and Bronze-Age people attached to the celestial phenomena they closely observed. Human minds were still at work, but they were at work on imaginative cultural constructions, not on the scientific processes of physics, chemistry and mathematics, although by the Iron Age some fairly sophisticated calendars were in operation for seasonal purposes of production and religious obeisance.

    Why do we have to insist upon hunter-gatherer peoples being ‘modern’ in their observations of the world around them? They observed in ways which suited their situation, their hunting and anything seasonal that they did.
    They ‘farmed’ with fire to establish open grasslands for fauna and flora that were useful to them. This is well recognised via commentary of the earliest settlers in Sydney, who wrote that bushfires were now getting very fierce since the aborigines had stopped firing their hunting grounds. We could certainly learn from them re this practice, and stop over-planting our environment with petrol trees which flame and destroy. Aborigines changed the very nature of the fauna and flora of a continent – you can’t get much more interventionist than that. That they made small patties from ground seeds is well-recognised, but it is not and never was any sort of agriculture.

    We do need to bring back some proper anthropological perspectives, and stop trying to find more reasons to declare a ‘separate’ aboriginal ‘voice’ or to declare more ‘land rights’ for wandering tribes.

    If we tried to do this for Europe’s early migrations and settlement patterns we’d be in trouble and we will be in trouble here for doing it to the detriment of our responsibilities to all other arrivals on this continent, including the European pioneers and those who followed afterwards.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    I would not want it thought that I am insensitive to Aboriginal achievement. Have a listen to this:


    It is a lament by David Gurrumul Yunupingu for his father. I found it so moving I played it at my own father’s funeral.

    It is a damned shame that this sort of achievement is overshadowed by the nonsense purveyed by Pascoe et al.

  • lbloveday says:

    The greatest Aboriginal achievements I’ve appreciated have been in sport, specifically Australian football where they had an amazing balance and sense of position – as I said to one high achieving Aborigine footballer, you seem to materialise and then evaporate.
    Imagine these scenarios today:
    I was playing golf with my 6’5″ ex-footballer mate when from the opposite fairway came the cry “Sally, you Pommy bastard”.
    “That sounds like Midnight”, said Sally, “But it’s overcast, can you open your eyes so I can see you?” added Sally to the Aboriginal. Two football team mates having a lark.
    Sally and I used to play darts as partners (“D&L” on the challenge chalkboard) in the football club, and “Midnight” and his fellow Aboriginal “Casper” used to put up “Blackfellows” on the board.
    On one of my outback odysseys, I went into the dimly lit Todd Tavern in Alice Springs and out of the darkness came “Casper”, grasping me in a bear-hug “Loveday you white prick, want a beer?”.
    Now all that would be regarded by the “elite” as unconscionable, or worse.

  • L Louis says:

    Peter and Elizabeth
    The ignorance that shapes the confected Dark Emu is a constant in Pascoe’s insistence that aboriginal people were not hunter/gatherers but superior sedentary agriculturalists, that is , modern. This ties him up in the most pathetic self contradictions. By denigrating hunter-gatherers, he is blind to the dire consequences of the cost of being recognised as equal in these terms, as it requires the obliteration of distinctiveness and is cultural annihilation.
    A deceit repeatedly practiced in Dark Emu is to drop in the name of a recognised authority, implying endorsement, when, as in the case of Stanner, he is stating the opposite on this issue, : “Their [the Aborigine’s] tools and crafts, meagre – pitiably meagre – though they are, have nonetheless been good enough to let them win the battle for survival, and to win it comfortably at that. With no pottery, no knowledge of metals, no wheel, no domestication of animals, no agriculture, they have still been able to people the entire continent…” (The Dreaming and Other Essays, pp. 234-235).
    In his admirable resolve and the cogent arguments of Bitter Harvest, Peter has been upholding the standards of scholarship betrayed in universities. We seem to have passed the point of no return with the establishment of parallel epistemologies. Peter espouses evidence based History, while the supporters of Pascoe are Social Justice Warriors.

  • Losthope says:

    The first astronomers , but had not discovered the wheel.
    Pascoe planted “ a couple of acres”…. so have historians recorded that there was cleared and arable land ?
    No… then i think someone’s pants are on fire

  • Tony Thomas says:

    A wide misconception is that early Aboriginal culture was “primitive”. I was taught at UWA in 1961 by Ron Berndt in no uncertain terms that Aborigines were merely non-technological. Their abilities to survive in the bush, master incredibly complex relationship systems and memorise vast “literature” of myths, were beyond the capabilities of 99% of us. So “primitive” is the wrong word. It is also a fallacy to describe Aboriginal society as the “oldest continuing culture”. That culture died out when young men began refusing the painful and mutilating initiations and elders in return ceased to pass on the “lore”. The so-called “culture” today is just a mish-mash of politically-correct “stuff” — “Aunty Mary” indeed. Aunty Marys used to get skull fractures by men for any or no reason, as proved by examination of 100s or 1000s of skulls. Sadly I understand those skull collections were handed back to Aboriginal groups who destroyed them.

  • Macspee says:

    No doubt we will shortly be able to visit a village along with its agricultural wherewithal demonstrating how the idyllic life was lived so long ago when in Africa people were still hunters and gatherers.

  • Tricone says:

    “Their abilities to survive in the bush, master incredibly complex relationship systems and memorise vast “literature” of myths, were beyond the capabilities of 99% of us”.

    These abilities are learned through practice of tradition, not innate. A couple of generations in the city and they’ve no more ability to survive in the bush than the rest of urbanites. We all came from hunter-gatherers but over the millennia we’ve found better ways to live.
    Our culture now is far more complex than hunter-gatherer but we don’t value it because it’s not exotic to us.

  • Davidovich says:

    I wonder if all the aboriginal dot paintings are, in fact, reflective of the deep astronomical knowledge of our indigenous people.

  • john.singer says:

    Pascoe’s aboriginal baking is less authentically Aboriginal than a three pound note.

  • Gabrielle says:

    I just ordered your book, Peter. I hope sales continue to grow. I think we sat beside each other at a Quadrant dinner years ago.

  • lhackett01 says:

    I have written twice to Melbourne University about the appointment of Pascoe as ‘Melbourne Enterprise Professor in Indigenous Agriculture’. My last correspondence is copied below:

    Sent via web form to Melbourne University, Ref. 200913-000025, on 13 Sep 20.

    “As an alumnus of Melbourne University, I am appalled that the University has appointed Bruce Pascoe ‘Melbourne Enterprise Professor in Indigenous Agriculture’. Pascoe is an Aborigine only because he says he is. He has no Aboriginal lineage. His book, “Dark Emu” is not academic. It is fiction. I have studied the journals of Mitchell and Sturt that Pascoe ‘quotes’ in his book of fiction, Dark Emu. There is no evidence in those journals, nor anywhere else in legitimate sources, to support Pascoe’s claims that Aborigines were agriculturalists before the British settled this country in 1788. Therefore, there seems no reason at all why the University should accord him a platform to spread his myths.

    My concern about Pascoe’s appointment is that he will be able now to indoctrinate perhaps several generations of students to believe his fantasies. The consequence will be the same as that for all the present ‘woke’ platforms, the advancement of ideologies based on emotion and beliefs rather than science and truth.

    Permitting such post-modernist and deconstructionist teaching seems to indicate that Melbourne University has lost its focus on intellectual rigour and integrity.

    The University should terminate Pascoe’s appointment immediately, unless his teaching is restricted to examining the foods prepared and eaten by early Aborigines as hunter-gatherers. The University must not permit Pascoe, or anyone, to teach the lie that Aborigines were agriculturalists.

    By so doing, the University is allowing Pascoe to rewrite history such that a new generation of students will unquestioningly accept the falsehoods he espouses in an apparent attempt to overturn the legitimacy of British settlement of Australia in 1788.

    I would appreciate your early reply stating clearly why the University has provided Bruce Pascoe an esteemed platform from which to indoctrinate students with his fantasies and propaganda. I expect the University to consider seriously my complaint and act upon it.”

    The University has not responded to date. Surprise, surprise!

  • joemiller252 says:

    Hunter-gatherers is fair enough but to describe Aborigines generally as nomadic is a stretch too far. In more favoured environments (coastal, riverine), people were fairly settled. Sure, some members extended their gathering beyond an easy stroll home but most of the group stayed near home.

  • Karnjirrwala says:

    In the video Pascoe claims Cook took Warrigal Greens from a native house. This is, to be polite, misleading. Cook does not mention it in his journals. Banks refers to the greens (tetragonia) as spinage. Perhaps the most relevant extracts from Banks’ Journal are:
    The Sea has I beleive been universaly found to be the cheif source of supplys to Indians ignorant of the arts of cultivation: the wild produce of the Land alone seems scarce able to support them at all seasons, at least I do not remember to have read of any inland nation who did not cultivate the ground more or less, even the North Americans who were so well versd in hunting sowd their Maize. But should a people live inland who supported themselves by cultivation these inhabitants of the sea coast must certainly have learn’d to imitate them in some degree at least, otherwise their reason must be supposd to hold a rank little superior to that of monkies. …[evidently Banks thought this unlikely and therefore that the inland people did not cultivate]

    Naked as these people are when abroad they are scarce at all better defended from the injuries of the weather when at home, if that name can with propriety be given to their houses–as I beleive they never make any stay in them but wandering like the Arabs from place to place set them up whenever they meet with one where sufficient supplys of food are to be met with, and as soon as these are exhausted remove to another leaving the houses behind, which are framd with less art or rather less industry than any habitations of human beings probably that the world can shew. …

    But small as the trouble of erecting such houses must be they did not always do it; we saw many places in the woods where they had slept with no other shelter than a few bushes and grass a foot or two high to shade them from the wind; this probably is their custom while they travel from place to place and sleep upon the road in situations where they do not mean to make any stay.…

  • Karnjirrwala says:

    Correction: Pascoe said Cook found warrigal greens ‘growing on aboriginal houses’.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    I thank all who have written to the various universities and the ABC calling out Pascoe. I have today sent copies of Bitter Harvest to the Heads of History at Melbourne University, Monash University, ANU and Sydney University. I’m not holding my breath but if enough of us write, and often enough, someone might finally take notice.

  • Bernie Masters says:

    joemiller252 – in south west WA, a very favoured environment for Aboriginal people because of the coast and rivers, my understanding is that all Aboriginal groups and hence most if not all Aboriginal people undertook seasonal migration inland in winter to access food around the lakes formed by winter rains. They were definitely nomadic in this part of Australia, even with ‘favoured’ environmental conditions theoretically allowing them to be sedentary.

  • lhackett01 says:

    Peter O’Brien, today my wife by phoned discovered that neither of your books is held by either the Brisbane City library or the seven Redland City libraries. A Redland City librarian searched the data bases and your books do not appear. The public, once more, is being denied essential information. Perhaps you could approach someone suitably highly placed to rectify this matter?

  • simonbenson65 says:

    My wife and I have a beautiful newborn baby just in time for Christmas! and as she is 3 months young now, we were in Dymocks looking for some ‘first bubs’ books the other day. In between the Spot books and the Mem Fox standard issues, which are wonderful, I had to laugh when I saw “Young Dark Emu” by one Bruce Pascoe. I laughed not because I think it is particularly funny. It is shameful actually. But it occurred to me how the left cannot seem to help themselves. When you come up with ideas as unfounded in fact as those found in “Dark Emu” (or presumably “Old Dark Emu” or “Dark Emu for Grown-Ups”) who better to try to fool than young kiddies? We saw this strategy with the (alleged but in actual fact not) “Safe Schools” program and thank God that providence has despatched that utter rubbish and its founder to the graveyard of sick jokes. When all else fails, pitch your silly, made-up fantasies to the young. What that ignores though is that young kids, like animals, are extremely perceptive, and have a sixth sense for a fake when they see one. I can only pray that “Young Dark Emu” goes the same way as ‘Safe Schools’. If you do buy a copy, though, make sure you pop it in the recycling afterwards, along with all the other rubbish. Recycling it won’t cure your ‘buyer’s remorse’, but it will create a little bit of extra space on the shelf for a real book that is actually worth reading.

  • L Louis says:

    Tony Thomas
    “Aboriginal culture is the longest continuing culture in the world” is a propaganda slogan and not in accord with archaeological evidence. It implies lack of change over 60,000 years, whereas, the history of humanity in this continent has been dynamic and evolving, with frequent social, economic and ideological reorganisation. This is evidenced in the changes in language, technology and cosmology as seen in the rock art and rituals.
    This is beyond Bruce Pascoe, who, in any case, had no use for such evidence as it did not suit his purpose.

  • lbloveday says:

    The Australian published this in an article about the Australian Cricket Captain and Vice-Captain:
    (Pat) Cummins’ eyes were opened by Pascoe’s 2014 work, which examined journals and diaries of early explores and found evidence of indigenous agriculture, engineering and buildings which the majority of historians had ignored or been unaware of.

    “The biggest shift I have had in the past year or so is just around our Indigenous culture here in Australia,” Cummins said. “Obviously at school you learn a little bit about it, I remember reading about the Stolen Generation, small parts; the boomerang, the didgeridoo, dream time, but never really in depth. It was always ‘that’s the past’, not that it still exists.

    “The biggest shift for me (was reading) Dark Emu. It’s a great book that came out a few years ago and it talks about how productive, how intelligent and how incredible the culture was at not only surviving, but thriving. How closely they were intertwined with the land.

    “It shifted my perspective. I had just thought a lot of Indigenous people were foragers and just surviving from the land, but I found out they would burn certain fires to make sure the bush survived, they would look after certain flora and fauna, they had this whole eco system that was so finely tuned over 60,000 years.
    At least they published my comment:
    Specifically they would do well to read the book Bitter Harvest by Peter O’Brien which is a scholarly vivisection of the compendium of errors, misrepresentations and misquoted sources in Dark Emu, but in tune with these “woke” days, does not get a mention in the media, academia or schools.

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