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The Dark Emu Story

Date Published: 25/07/2023

The iCentre recommends the following documentary available via Mt Alvernia’s Clickview platform or stream on ABC iView.

The Dark Emu Story

A thought-provoking and inspiring documentary that charts the impact of Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu – the publishing phenomenon that challenged Australia to rethink its history and ignited a debate that continues to rage.

If you would like to delve deeper into the world of Dark Emu, we have the following resources available:

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

History has portrayed Australia’s First Peoples, the Aboriginals, as hunter-gatherers who lived on an empty, uncultivated land. History is wrong. Bruce Pascoe uncovers evidence that long before the arrival of white men, Aboriginal people across the continent were building dams and wells; planting, irrigating, and harvesting seeds, and then preserving the surplus and storing it in houses, sheds, or secure vessels; and creating elaborate cemeteries and manipulating the landscape. All of these behaviours were inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag, a convenient lie that worked to justify dispossession. Using compelling evidence from records and diaries of early Australian explorers and colonists, he reveals that Aboriginal systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required, for the benefit of all Australians.


Young Dark Emu, A Truer History by Bruce Pascoe

Young Dark Emu, A Truer History asks young readers to consider a different version of Australia’s history pre-European colonisation.

Bruce Pascoe has collected a swathe of literary and awards for Dark Emu and now he has brought together the impeccable research and compelling first-person accounts in a book for younger readers. Using the accounts of early European explorers, colonists and farmers, Bruce Pascoe compellingly argues for a reconsideration of the hunter gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. He allows the reader to see Australia as it was before Europeans arrived, a land of cultivated farming areas, productive fisheries, permanent homes, and an understanding of the environment and its natural resources that supported thriving villages across the continent.


Farmer or Hunter-gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate by Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe

In Farmer or Hunter-gatherers? Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe ask why Australians have been so receptive to the notion that farming represents an advance from hunting and gathering. Sutton and Walshe provide extensive evidence to support their argument that classical Aboriginal society was a complex hunter-gatherer society and as sophisticated as any in Europe.



These books are available in the iCentre, please reserve your copy on the iCentre OPAC.


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