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Dark Emu: Bruce Pascoe and Tony Birch in Conversation

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Myths about the lives of pre-colonial Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have proven deeply entrenched. But in his 2014 book Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe struck a grievous blow to one of the most widely accepted assumptions of Australian pre-settlement history. He argued, and presented robust evidence drawn from the journals of European explorers, that Indigenous people were not hunter-gatherers at the time of colonisation.

‘The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing – behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag,’ he has said.

Dark Emu, which won Book of the Year at the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, also challenges existing narratives around housing construction, cooking and clothing prior to European settlement.

In conversation with Tony Birch, Pascoe will discuss the writing, research and reception of his groundbreaking, celebrated book. What does challenging the past of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people mean for the present?

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Presented in partnership with Yirramboi.

Featuring

Tony Birch

Tony Birch is a founding member of the Melbourne School of Discontent. He has published three novels; The White Girl, Ghost River and Blood. He is also the author of Shadowboxing and three short story collections, Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People. In 2017 he was awarded the Pa... Read more

Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man born in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. He’s the author of the best-selling Dark Emu, Young Dark Emu: A Truer History, Loving Country: A Guide to Sacred Australia and over thirty other books including the short story collections Night Animals... Read more

Location

The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.