"There is nothing new in the world
except the history you do not know" ...
~ Harry S Truman
~ Will Rogers
Dark Emu argues that this characterisation is false, and that the historical evidence demonstrates that the First People were an agricultural society building houses and villages:
This book should be read in all Australian schools, and by all Australians. It is about the historical truth of the pre-colonial Australian society that we, as individuals, communities, and a nation, do not yet know. The messages to be found within this book represent a paradigm change in the way we view Pre-Colonial Australian society.
It appears to me that the author Bruce Pascoe is the discoverer of this history we do not know, but he tells us that the First People have obviously known this for the last two hundred years. The First People themselves in the Uluru Statement state that, among other things:
Dark Emu is the truth-telling book for all Australians:
Here is how I would summarise it at the moment:
Pre-Colonial Australian society was agricultural.
The propaganda of a hunter-gatherer society is false:
an expedient mistruth (a common lie)
that justified the British Imperial "land-grab".
The Australian First People were grinding seed to make bread more than 30,000 years ago, which is on par with the earliest known European seed grinding society. So perhaps on Australia Day we can celebrate the fact that the land and country of Australia has given rise to the world's first farmers and bread-makers.
Mountain Man dot Com
Southern Winter of 2018
~ Samuel Butler
Image from Spot Fire 1 – Bruce Pascoe 'Aboriginal Agriculture'
"As he [Thomas Mitchell] crosses the Australian frontier, he describes what he sees:
 Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia, Thomas Mitchell, 1848/1969, p.90
 Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia, Thomas Mitchell, 1839, Volume 1, pp 237-238
The following listing of the evidence is largely sourced from a review providing quoted material from the book. (See Mat's Review of Dark Emu Aug 11, 2014). The listing has been ordered by various categorisations of the evidence. At the conclusion of this section, for those who would rather listen to videos of some of the public presentations of Bruce Pascoe, a list of online resources has been gathered together.
* WORKSHOPS: [M]ost of the tool workshops associated with these constructions, as well as the constructions themselves, still do not appear on the archaeological register of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria.
* HOUSE & CAKE in Sturt's Desert: Sturt's new house, roast duck and cake!
* HOUSES for 40 PEOPLE: On seeing houses built to accommodate forty people in groups of fifty or more both explorers resort to words like huts or hovels to describe buildings which in rural Ireland would have been called croft houses.
* BIRDSVILLE: Several villages were located near Birdsville, south-west Queensland, where today the remoteness and inhospitable nature of the land is mythologised as the desolate Outback. Many Australians find it hard to imagine the area as a once productive and healthy environment for large numbers of Aboriginal people.
* EXPLORERS TAKE (shelter in) HOUSES: Mitchell is sensitive to the quality of the houses but insensitive to his occupation of someone else's residence. He occupied empty houses on many occasions and liberties of this kind were likely to have ruptured the relationship between white and black more severely than any action other than physical attack.
* TOWNS on the DARLING RIVER: On the Darling River, explorers saw similar towns to those seen by Sturt and Mitchell and estimated the population of each to be no less than a thousand. Peter Dargin estimated the population of the region as 3,000 but the journals of Sturt, Mitchell and others reveal that they passed many such populous villages.
* MALLACOOTA HOUSE: At Mallacoota in 1842 Joseph Lingard met two Aboriginal men and, 'made bold to go into their retreat, which I found to be like a house inside'.
* HOUSES WERE SOLID STRUCTURES: [Robinson] reported that the walls and rooves of the beehive, or kraal, type were so substantial that they were strong enough 'for a man on horseback to ride over'.
* MASSIVE YAM FIELDS (Vic): Mitchell describes seeing massive fields of murnong stretching as far as he could see. * MASSIVE YAM FIELDS (WA):Lt. Grey in Western Australia was halted by yam fields "that stretched to the horizons". The land was tilled so deeply that he could not walk across them.
* Hillsides of Melbourne terraced for yam daisy agriculture. (Isaac Batey, early farmer)
* HARVESTING IMPLEMENTS:Many northern Australian museums display long, knife-like implements, which usually bear legends such as 'of unknown use' when in fact they are juan knives - long sharp blades of stone with fur-covered handles, which the explorer Gregory described the Aboriginal people using to cut down the grain.
* CACHES: King, on the doomed Burke and Wills expedition, found a storage of grain in an Aboriginal house, which he estimated at four tons.
* MOUNDS: [T]he mounds proved to be gigantic ovens for the cooking of the compung rush.
* HUNDREDS OF MILLSTONES: ... Sturt's description of the evening whirring of hundreds of mills grinding grain into flour.
* YAM YIELDS: "After studying Aboriginal yields from yam daisies it is easy to imagine a potato farmer turning over part of his farm to yam, thus avoiding the need to use fertiliser and herbicides."
* YAM PRESERVATION: The only yam plants to be found today are on railway verges and other lands fenced off from livestock and where no superphosphate has been used.
* OZ DESERT SEEDS: Latz says that, 'the nutritional value of the seeds from the desert species is equal to or better than that of the cultivated grains'.
* MURNONG aka YAM DAISY: A 100g sample of Microseris lanceolata tubers would provide 3-4 times the energy level of a 100g potato.
* TWO MAJOR CROPS: yams (as well as other root vegetables) and grains.
* Norman Tindale... estimated the milling techniques to be around 18,000 years old, an age which, if it is true, re-writes the history of world agriculture.
* FIRE-STICK FARMING: Daryl Tonkin, long-term resident of the country near Drouin in West Gippsland, remembers the catastrophic fires of 1939, which he attributed to the increasing reluctance of the Europeans to burn and the habit of leaving the heads of felled trees unburnt. [Edward Curr:] '[T]he blackfellow was constantly setting fire to the grass and trees... he tilled his land and cultivated his pasture with fire'. [Tim Flannery:] As the term firestick farming suggests, the Aboriginal use of fire resembled agriculture in some ways: it yielded certain crops at certain times, suppressed weeds and was carefully contolled...
* Lake Condah network of fish traps: Traditional owners pushing for a 6,000-year-old network of eel traps in south-west Victoria to be included on the world heritage list will find out next month if the Australian government has accepted their bid. The traps were built by the Gunditjmara people to manage eels in Lake Condah and nearby Darlot Creek and are among the earliest surviving examples of aquaculture. Known as Budj Bim, the site received national heritage listing in 2004
* Decription of a weir across a river with an extremely inventive fishing trap. (Kirby) * [I]f they were houses, and if the channels were a fishing system, then around 10,000 people lived a more or less sedentary life in this town.
* Brewarrina Fish Traps: The traditional custodians of the fish traps are the Ngemba Wayilwan (or Wailwan) people. Nearby Aboriginal groups include the Baranbinja, Morowari, Kula, Naualko, Ualarai, Weilwan, Kamilaroi, Kamu and Paarkinlji people. It has been estimated that the region supported a population of about 3,000 people prior to European settlement. The river people generally settled along the main rivers in summer and moved to regular campsites located in drier country during the winter months.
* WATERCRAFT & FISHING: The early history of Australia is crowded with references to Aboriginal watercraft and fishing techniques. Yet Australians remain strangely impervious to that knowledge and the Aboriginal economy in general.
* Some Lake Condah fishery sites were seriously damaged after John Howard, Australian Prime Minister at the time, panicked farmers into believing they'd all be ruined by Native Title claims.
* LANGUAGES: [Linguist Terry] Crowley admits that Australian languages are probably 40,000 to 60,000 years old, but even at 10,000 years they would be older than most other world languages.
* GLOBAL PATTERN: The reluctance to credit engineered fisheries to colonised peoples, and thus underrate their sovereignty of the land, is not peculiar to Australia.
* COLONIAL PROPAGANDA: The underestimation of Indigenous achievement was a deliberate tactic of British colonialism.
* DISPOSSESSION of COUNTRY: The belief that Aboriginal people were 'mere' hunter-gatherers has been used as a political tool to justify dispossession.
Google A large area archaeological excavation at Cuddie Springs:
Pleistocene seed-grinding implements from the Australian arid zone
RICHARD FULLAGAR & JUDITH FIELD
The presence of a range of morphological types known to be associated with seed processing at Cuddie Springs provides strong evidence for a seed-grinding economy around 30,000 b.p.
However there have been more recent developments, here is one:
A Central Australian Ochre Mine: NICOLAS PETERSON' AND RONALD LAMPERT, ANU
ABSTRACT. An ochre mine still used by Warlpiri men in central Australia is described, and its relationship to trading networks, mythology and control over access is discussed. The paper also examines the methods of mining and processing the ochre, and describes some task-specific stone tools used in mining. Many similarities are apparent between this mine and two famous large ochre deposits, Parachilna and Wilga mia, neither of which is currently in use. It is of particular interest for three reasons: there are stone tools used specifically for quarrying the deposits; the entire mine is an underground chamber; and it provides ethnographic evidence on the complexities of the control of such valued resources.
2018 May - Traditional Aboriginal Land Management Practices: CFA (Country Fire Authority) [09m 09s]
2018 April - The world's first bakers.: AUSTRALASIAN PERMACULTURE CONVERGENCE [28m 45s]
2017 November, Aboriginal culture and history: Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lecture 2017, State Library of Victoria [41m 05s]
2017 Feb - Australian Aboriginal History: Australia Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne [04m 54s]
2017 March - Australian Aboriginal History: Spot Fire 1 – Bruce Pascoe 'Aboriginal Agriculture' [1hr 01m]
2016 June - Aboriginal agriculture - maintaining a culture over millenia: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Reconciliation Seminar Series, [53m 31s]
2016 November - Farming the Land as if it was Australia: Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation (NSW) [42m 54m]
2016 November - Future Food Part 1.: South Australia [1hr 00m]
2016 April - "From the Mission to the Outpost: Social Engineering Through Art": Lin Onus Oration 2016 [27m 47s]
2016 April - Land Cultures: Aboriginal economies and permaculture futures: Daylesford, VIC [41m 11s]
2014 October, Aboriginal Agriculture: WAW Gathering [14m 14s]
2009 NAIDOC Week - Not Hunter Gatherers: Art Gallery of NSW, [15m 21s]
REVIEW with Summary of Evidence: Mat's Review at Goodreads (NOTE: The data presented in this review has been re-presented above in categories)
Here are some quotes that jumped out at me: [Quoting explorer Charles Sturt:] "[I]n walking along one came to a village consisting of nineteen huts... Troughs and stones for grinding seed were lying about... The fact of there being so large a well at this point... assured us that this distant part of the interior... was not without inhabitants.
SMH March 2003: For nearly 8000 years, the Gunditjmara people in the Lake Condah region of western Victoria farmed eels
They modified more than 100 square kilometres of the landscape, constructing artificial ponds across the grassy wetlands and digging channels to interconnect them. They exported their produce and became an important part of the local economy. And then white settlers arrived and all they left of the Gunditjmara's thriving industry were several hundred piles of stones that had formed the foundations to the people's huts. Since the 1970s, archaeologists have suspected that the stone remains in the Lake Condah region were evidence that the local Aborigines had lived in villages. But it was not until an eight-year research project was carried out by a Flinders University archaeologist, Heather Builth, that the real importance of the remains became clear.
First Nation Habitats and Villages before and after slaughter & displacement
Recent researchers, including Bruce Pascoe, have described how many First Nations nations/tribes lived in villages or towns, while many others lived in villages for most of the seasons. Once the peoples were displaced from 'country' by European colonists, many were forced into exclusively hunting and gathering, therefore building shelter that served the purpose of this transient lifestyle.
Bill Gammage: The biggest estate on earth ABC News:
Before white settlement, some of the local landscape looked like parkland. Author Bill Gammage explains the complex systems of land management used by Indigenous Australians. [06m 59s] 2017 Feb
Bill Gammage: The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia
This book argues that Aborigines made Australia in 1788, by using fire or no fire to distribute plants, and plant distribution to locate animals. People made a plant community such as grass or open forest a favourable habitat, associated such communities to link feed to shelter, and used these associations to lure and locate animals. This put every species on ground it preferred, while people knew where their resources were, and subject to Law could harvest them as they chose. They could make paddocks without fences, because in Australia, almost uniquely, the only large predators to disturb prey were human. People were not aimless hunter-gatherers; they planned and worked hard to make plants and animals abundant, convenient and predictable. They depended not on chance, but on policy. (17 October 2013)
WIKI: Wurdi Youang stone arrangement:
The stone arrangement takes the form of an irregular egg-shape or ovoid about 50 m (164 ft) in diameter with its major axis aligning east-west. It is composed of about 100 basalt stones, ranging from small rocks about 200 mm (8 in) in diameter to standing stones about 1 m (3 ft) high with an estimated total mass of about 23 t (23 long tons). There are three prominent waist-high stones, at its western end, which is the highest point of the ring. The purpose, use, and age of the arrangement are not known. It has been suggested by scientists studying the arrangements that it could be as old as 11,000 years (based on carbon dating at nearby sites), which would make it the oldest astronomical observatory in the world.
Uluru Statement: "We seek ... truth-telling about our history."
But their stories must be true stories. [...] History is no epic,
history is no novel, history is no propaganda because in these
literary genres control of the evidence is optional, not compulsory"
~ Arnaldo Momigliano, The rhetoric of history, Comparative Criticism, p. 260
Arnaldo Momigliano was one of the foremost ancient historians of the 20th century. Above he provides a number of general rules by which we may assess the merit of Bruce Pacoe being recognised as a first rate historian. It seems to me that Pascoe has actually set forth the historical truth by focussing on the historical evidence. Although this historical truth is new to most of us, because we have been educated erroneously in the matter, it is not new to the First People of Australia. In the Uluru Statement they see this newly discovered historical truth as part of a necessary "truth-telling" process.
The Australian First People are also the children of farmers, who were dispossessed of their farm lands and "country" by the Colonial invasion and settlements.
Here are some additional resources ...
Australian Frontier Wars: Keith Windschuttle and Henry Reynolds at the National Press Club
The Australia Day Controversy: Henry Reynolds - "Political Correctness or Common Sense"?
McGuinness, Windschuttle and Quadrant: The attempt to revise the history of the massacre of Aborigines on the British colonial frontier in Australia, by Bob Gould
65,000 to 50,000 - [African origin of modern humans] The most significant "recent" wave took place about 70,000 years ago, via the so-called "Southern Route", spreading rapidly along the coast of Asia and reaching Australia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recent_African_origin_of_modern_humans#South-Asia_and_Australia
65,000 - (or earlier) First Australian People arrive (from North?) When the north-west of Australia, which is closest to Asia, was first occupied, the region consisted of open tropical forests and woodlands. After around 10,000 years of stable climatic conditions, by which time the Aboriginal people had settled the entire continent, temperatures began cooling and winds became stronger, leading to the beginning of an ice age
60,000 - Ice Age beginning
40,000 - 50,000 Mungo Man: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Mungo_remains
40,000 - First Australian People arrive in Tasmania
30,000 - Oldest seed grinding stone, Cuddie Springs (Italy, Europe similar date)
26,500 to 15,000 - Last Glacial Maximum: drought, desertification, sea levels 150m lower than today.
26,000 to 15,000 - Australian Megafauna extinction
18,000 - ice age ends.
13,000 - 'Conflict' increasing territorial conflict possibly due to sea level rise and new competition for land and resources. (1)
12,500 - Neolithic Revolution: wide-scale transition of many human cultures from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neolithic_Revolution
12,000 - Sea-level rise covered Tas land bridge, inhabitants isolated until European settlers
11,700 - End of the Pleistocene Epoch (began about 2.6 million years ago) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleistocene Start of the Holocene Epoch
10,000 - Present day Australian climate established.
10,000 - Earliest shell middens (SW SA and SW Vic) 
9,000 - Dampier Archipeligo; stone houses, shell middens and a grinding stone
8,000 - Artwork Ubirr Kakadu of thylacine and zaglossus (long beaked echidna)
6,000 - Sea levels stabilised to near its present levels
5,000 - Arrival of the dingo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dingo
4,000 to 3,000 - Intensification (Great Intensification Debate in Australian Archaeology)
4,000 - new art style of 'x-ray- (1)
3,500 - (Europe/Asia) The Wheeled vehicle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel
3,300 - (Europe/Asia) Bronze Age; smelting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_Age
3,000 - 'Increased Territoriality' - population increase, sea levels peak, unpredictable climate (1)
2,000 - 'Consolidated Settlement '- Villages emerge across south-eastern Australia ... Aquaculture develops and there is evidence of gardening. Complex social and religous systems [last section 'The Great Flood'] (1)
1,000 - 'Trade and Exchange' - Extensive trade routes develop across the country ... resources and tools. (1)
300 - 'New Arrivals' (2) - Indonesian fishermen (Maccasins ? ) ... then Portuguese, Dutch, etc (1)
(1) Scott Cane (2013): First Footprints
 Shell Midden Chronology in Southwestern Victoria: Reflections of Change in Prehistoric Population and Subsistence?
Author(s): Michael C. S. Godfrey
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40386820
Henry Reynolds (1981): The Other Side of the Frontier : Aboriginal Resistance to the European Invasion
Tony Swain (1993). A place for strangers: towards a history of Australian Aboriginal being
Harry Lourandos (1997): Continent of Hunter-Gatherers: New Perspectives in Australian Prehistory
Jennifer Isaacs (2006): Australian Dreaming: 40,000 Years of Aboriginal History
Rupert Gerritsen (2008): Australia and the Origins of Agriculture
Bill Gammage (2011): The biggest estate on earth : how Aborigines made Australia,
Henry Reynolds (2013): Forgotten War
Scott Cane (2013): First Footprints - The epic story of the First Australians
Bruce Pascoe (2014): Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture Or Accident?
("bingyadyan ngallu nudjarn jungarung")
Yuin language, via Bruce Pascoe