Updated: Dec 21, 2019
Writing my blog with serious internet connectivity challenges today, but the view from my window is a stunning, very Australian landscape. Musing about the countryside, brought to mind a book that is high on my Christmas wish list. To some extent this book changes the diorama of the Australian historical landscape, there's been a shed load of discussion about it, and it's won a cart load of awards too:
Winner of Book of the Year in the 2016 NSW Premier's Literary Awards
Winner - Indigenous Writer's Prize in the 2016 NSW Premier's Literary Awards
Shortlisted - History Book Award in the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards
Shortlisted - 2014 Victorian Premier's Award for Indigenous Writing
It is, of course, Dr Bruce Pascoe's 'Dark Emu'. Admittedly, I'm a bit slow on the uptake as it was first published in 2014! But better this Christmas than never!
It explores elements of Australian pre-colonial history that have hitherto been 'edited out'. It's that same old story of history having been written by the victors not the vanquished. It's essential reading for anyone who wants to better understand Australia's past. It reminds us that the victors may also apply labels, such as 'hunter-gatherers', which may have been 'convenient lies'. For me, as a teacher and lover of history, it's an important reminder that all history should always be read ‘with a pinch of salt’ and an awareness of the source. What is not written is often as important as what has been written. Editing out aspects of indigenous culture, such as farming and domestication, has enormous ramifications for our understanding and perspectives of Australian history.
In 2018 Bruce Pascoe was given a Lifetime Achievement Award but the Australia Council. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm keen to hear his views and gain a keener awareness of what may well prove a much 'truer history'.