The still common assumption is that Aboriginal Australians in 1788 were simple hunter-gatherers who relied on chance for survival and moulded their lives to the country where they lived. Historian Bill Gammage might have driven the last nail into the coffin of this notion.

Rather, Gammage argues, the first Australians worked a complex system of land management, with fire their biggest ally, and drew on the life cycles of plants and the natural flow of water to ensure plentiful wildlife and plant foods throughout the year. They managed, he says, the biggest estate on Earth.

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