Skip to content

Improve your Gippslandia browsing experience by using Chrome or Safari.

Contribute to Gippslandia and support positive local storytelling. — donate here

Connecting Gippsland through
positive storytelling.

Shop GippslandiaSupport Gippslandia

Connecting Gippsland through positive storytelling.


Eyes open.

Here are some key reads on Australia's ancient knowledge that can be a benefit to us all.

Jan 11, 2022

Words: Andrea Kinsmith
Images: Supplied

Contribute to support more positive local storytelling.


People have been conquering lands and other peoples since the beginning of time – ever since “the earth was filled with violence”. And, although “history is written by the victors”, there is always another side to the story.

The nature of conquering tends to lead to the destruction of people and their way of life, and, therefore, the destruction of valuable local knowledge and skills.

What writers like Bruce Pascoe have done in unearthing the other side of the story is valuable for all Australians. Local ways of successfully working with the land sustainably benefit us all. This is what drew me into reading Dark Emu when it was first released. Not unlike regenerative farming, the Aboriginal communities respected the land, rivers and animals and learnt to farm and manage them sustainably and bountifully. While they also used hunting and gathering, it seems that various farming methods allowed certain communities to prosper and become quite large.

...will hopefully encourage younger generations to look at the land in a new way...

Subscribe to Gippslandia

Young Dark Emu traces the same storyline as Dark Emu, breaking the main arguments down to the essential points, while also showing some key examples of Aboriginal land and water management.

Like in Dark Emu, Bruce uses journal entries and letters from early explorers and settlers to tell the story. From growing crops, to crop storage, to ingenious sustainable fish traps, to incredibly amazing (sometimes quite large) buildings and the digging of wells. It is truly inspiring.

This 70+ page non-fiction picture book is clearly written and easy to read, with photographs and prints throughout. It is not only a great summary of the adult book Dark Emu, but will hopefully encourage younger generations to look at the land in a new way, based on the knowledge and skill of those who came before.

If you are interested in books like Dark Emu or Young Dark Emu, you might also like reading:

Picture Books

The Rainbow Serpent by Dick Roughsey
Tiddalick the Frog Who Caused a Flood by Robert Roennfeldt
Kookoo Kookaburra by Gregg Dreise
Awesome Emu
by Gregg Dreise

Non-Fiction Picture Books

Kunyi by Kunyi June Anne McInerney
The Story of Australia: First People-1805
by Australian Geographic
The First Scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia's First Peoples
by Corey Tutt

Fiction 8-13+ Years

From the Our Australian Girls series: Meet Poppy by Gabrielle Wang


Loving Country: A guide to Sacred Australia by Bruce Pascoe & Vicky Shukuroglou

Adult Fiction

Pemulwuy: The Rainbow Warrior by Eric Willmot

Adult Non-Fiction

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
Farmers or Hunter-gatherers?: The Dark Emu Debate by Peter Sutton & Keryn Walshe
The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia by Bill Gammage
Fire Country: How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia by Victor Steffensen
Songlines: The Power and Promise (First Knowledges Series) by Margo Neale & Lynne Kelly
Design: Building on Country (First Knowledges Series) by Alison Page & Paul Memmott
Country: Future Fire, Future Farming (First Knowledges Series) by Bill Gammage & Bruce Pascoe


Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia by Anita Heiss (editor)

Our dear friends at the Reader’s Emporium ( have been supporting Gippslandia since #1. Why don’t you show them some love?

Head to Shop 12 Seymour Arcade, Traralgon from 10 am Wednesday to Saturday.

Gippslandia - Issue No. 21

Find, Subscribe or Download

Did you enjoy this article? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram.

More in


Share this article


Read this next


Lost in the story.

When children interact with books they become more involved in the reading experience. Read more

More in Culture


Rising again.

The Phoenix Trail is a celebration of the creative and human spirit that rises up and continues... Read more

Support Gippslandia

Support from our readers is what keeps the lights on and the printing presses running.


Browse topics

Food & Drink

Explore regions

East Gippsland Shire


Gippslandia is made possible thanks to our supporting partners. They are businesses that believe in the value of sharing optimistic tales from our great region. We encourage you to support them in return, as without them, Gippslandia wouldn’t exist.

About Gippslandia

Gippslandia is a community, non-profit publication. We curate an ever-optimistic take on regional, national and global issues, in a local context. Leaving you feeling like a Gippslandia local, no matter where you’re from. Read more

© 2021 Gippslandia, All rights reserved