February 24, 2016

Meeting with Bill Gammage

On Monday, Martin Drury and I were very privileged to spend some time with acclaimed researcher and writer Bill Gammage.

Bill Gammage © Tracey Benson

Bill Gammage © Tracey Benson

We had a great time discussing his book The Biggest Estate on Earth. The book documents early European impressions of Australia, proving that there were existing sophisticated land management systems in place. The Allen & Unwin website states about the book:

Explodes the myth that pre-settlement Australia was an untamed wilderness revealing the complex, country-wide systems of land management used by Aboriginal people.

Across Australia, early Europeans commented again and again that the land looked like a park. With extensive grassy patches and pathways, open woodlands and abundant wildlife, it evoked a country estate in England. Bill Gammage has discovered this was because Aboriginal people managed the land in a far more systematic and scientific fashion than we have ever realised.

What appeals to me greatly about this text is that Bill focuses on the historic evidence from the European context. I find it a highly ethical and appropriate approach, one that does not seek to translate an Indigenous perspective. Rather, he uses tangible evidence, through historical records, maps, paintings and drawings. There is something very refreshing in letting the documentation speak for itself. It was really wonderful to talk about the book as well as other shared interests – especially talking of favourite places in northern and remote Australia.

Bill and Marty discuss the mystery picture

Bill and Marty discuss the mystery picture

One of the pictures in the book is a bit of a mystery as Bill has not found the exact geographical reference point for a painting of Ginninderra Creek. The site is not far from our home, so we are enjoying the adventure of trying to work out the location of this work. These days the creek runs through suburbia, but the mountains in the background are still there!

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Geokult Travel and commented:

    On Monday Tracey and Marty met acclaimed author Bill Gammage.

    Reply
  2. Reblogged this on Martin Drury and commented:
    What a privilege it is to have met such a gentle and knowledgeable man

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About bytetime

Tracey M Benson is a lover of travel, having a diverse background as an artist, writer and researcher. Working with online environments since 1994, Tracey's experience includes providing digital media, web and social media solutions to government, non-profit, private industry and tertiary sectors. Her focus is on sustainability behaviour change and the use of communications and emerging technologies to empower community and build culture.

Category

Environment, Writing

Tags

, , ,