St Margaret's News February 2019 - Page 5

Dark Emu “At the risk of repeating myself, Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe is the most life changing book I’ve read in the last year. So many exam- ples of jaw-dropping achievements on this continent which occurred pre-1788 and are under-lionised. Read and exult.” - Annabel Crabb. Those of us in church one day last year heard about Dark Emu. I’m uncertain as to who it was told us about it, but we were encouraged to read the book for ourselves, so I put it on my list of books to acquire and, in due course, purchased a copy. I am reading ‘Dark Emu’ at present and pretty much agree with Annabel Crabb’s comments on Twitter - and reproduced at the top of this page. Perhaps the paragraph that encapsulates the message of the book best for me (so far) is: “If we look at the evidence presented to us by the explorers, and explain to our children that Aboriginal people did build houses, did build dams, did sow, irrigate and till the land, did alter the courses of rivers, did sew their clothes, and did construct a system of pan-continental government that generated peace and prosperity, it is likely we will admire and love our land all the more. Admiration and love are not suffi- cient in themselves, but they are the foundation of a more productive interaction with the continent.” It strikes me as both extraordinary and incredibly sad that I was taught that the First Peoples were mere wanderers across the land who knew nothing about how to grow and care for food resources. I have been astounded to read about evidence of Aboriginal towns, agriculture and more in areas near to places where I lived in my childhood. The recent mass deaths of fish in inland rivers has brought the message of the book clearly home to me. I encourage you to read ‘Dark Emu’ for yourselves and consider what it says to us about what white settlers have done to this land and what practical steps might be taken and policies might be developed in re- sponse to the messages in the book. - Brian Rope St Margaret’s News 5 February 2019