Some books worth reading (Pt.1)

We are going to compile a list of recommended books and films. We would love for your input and suggestions, so we can compile a definitive list here on our site. Please assist us by contacting us here

Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture Paperback – May 15, 2018

Contradicts the conventional wisdom that native peoples were primitive hunter-gatherers

History has portrayed Australia’s First Peoples, the Aboriginals, as hunter-gatherers who lived on an empty, uncultivated land. History is wrong.

In this seminal book, 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 behaviors were inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag, which turns out have been a convenient lie that worked to justify dispossession.

Using compelling evidence from the 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.

Dark Emu, a bestseller in Australia, won both the Book of the Year Award and the Indigenous Writer’s Prize in the 2016 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards.

The Battle of One Tree Hill: The Aboriginal Resistance That Stunned Queensland Paperback – January 1, 2019
by Ray Kerkhove; Frank Uhr (Author)

In 1840, Brisbane was the furthest outpost of settled Australia. On all sides, it was embedded in a richly Indigenous world. Over the next few years, mostly from across New South Wales northern plains, a large push of pastoralists poured into the Darling Downs, Lockyer and much of southern Queensland, establishing huge sheep stations. The violence that erupted welded many of the tribal groups into an alliance that, by 1842, was working to halt the advance.
The Battle of One Tree Hill tells the story of one of the most audacious stands against this migration. It concerns actions engineered by a father and son, Moppy and Multuggerah. In 1843, this culminated in an ingenious ambush and one of the first solid defeats of white settlement in Queensland.
The battle at Mount Table Top, 128 kilometres west of Brisbane, astounded many at the time. The response was most likely the largest action of the frontier wars: the assembly of some 100 or more officers, soldiers, police and armed settlers – much of the region’s white settlement – drawn from hundreds of square kilometres. This force sort to drive out the warriors, but despite their best efforts, resistance not only persisted, but managed a few more victories. A fort had to be established to protect travellers, and brutal skirmishes, massacres, raids and robberies trickled on for decades.
The Battle of One Tree Hill introduces us to many of the flamboyant characters, curious reversals of fortune and neglected incidents that together helped establish early Queensland. This narrative work combines decades of archival research, analysis, reconstruction and interviews conducted by historians Ray Kerkhove and Frank Uhr.

Aboriginal Camp Sites of Greater Brisbane Paperback – January 1, 2015
by Ray Kerkhove (Author)

This is the first book of its kind in Australia: a history of Aboriginal campsites. This is also the first guidebook to the location and features of the numerous Aboriginal camps that flourished in and around Brisbane from convict times to in some cases as late as the 1950s. Many of Brisbane’s suburbs trace their names, parks and key events to these former campsites. This book focuses on 15 key areas, and includes a full suburban listing at the back.

The Vandemonian War
by Nick Brodie (Author)

Britain formally colonised Van Diemen’s Land in the early years of the nineteenth century. Small convict stations grew into towns. Pastoralists moved in to the aboriginal hunting grounds. There was conflict, there was violence. But, governments and gentlemen succeeded in burying the real story of the Vandemonian War for nearly two centuries.

The Vandemonian War had many sides and shades, but it was fundamentally a war between the British colony of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) and those Tribespeople who lived in political and social contradiction to that colony. In The Vandemonian War acclaimed history author Nick Brodie now exposes the largely untold story of how the British truly occupied Van Diemen’s Land deploying regimental soldiers and special forces, armed convicts and mercenaries. In the 1820s and 1830s the British deliberately pushed the Tribespeople out, driving them to the edge of existence. Far from localised fights between farmers and hunters of popular memory, this was a war of sweeping campaigns and brutal tactics, waged by military and paramilitary forces subject to a Lieutenant Governor who was also Colonel Commanding. The British won the Vandemonian War and then discretely and purposefully concealed it.

Historians failed to see through the myths and lies – until now. It is no exaggeration to say that the Tribespeople of Van Diemen’s Land were extirpated from the island. Whole societies were deliberately obliterated. The Vandemonian War was one of the darkest stains on a former empire which arrogantly claimed perpetual sunshine. This is the story of that fight, redrawn from neglected handwriting nearly two centuries old.

by Nick Brodie (Author)

For over 200 years Australia’s official history has focused on English colonisation and ‘discovery’, with tales of British explorers and first generation white Australians navigating the vast and unfriendly land. But what of the millennia before the English claimed Australia as their own and wrote the history books. 1787 traces the journey of Australia before the infamous 1788 date, to explore just how ‘discovered’ the southern continent was by not only the Indigenous Australians who had lived and prospered for thousands of years, but also the sailors, traders, fishermen and many others who had visited our shores.

This is not about voyages of ‘discovery’, cartography, geography, or hero-captains and their sailing ship adventures. This is a bigger history—of the rise and fall of empires, the shifts in global economies, and their impact on Australia. By charting the encounters with Australia and its original people by several major groups of visitors, primarily the Portuguese, Dutch, Malay, French, and British from the late Middle Ages, 1787 reveals the stories of first encounters between Indigenous Australians and foreigners, placing Indigenous Australians back into our known history rather than a timeless pre-historical one. It’s a fascinating story that shifts focus away from post-colonial history and engages the reader in the eventful and lively stories of Australia as a vast and active land participating in a global history.

The Last Gundir
by Nayef Din (Author)

When a six-year-old boy of the Turrbal (Brisbane) tribe suffers a mysterious illness at the bunya nut festival, his uncle initially thinks it is poison. But the true horror is revealed when they realise that a gundir (Aboriginal sorcerer) has pointed the bone at him. Bunji’s unexpected survival astounds the region’s tribes. Years later, during his kippa (manhood) trials, a second shadow appears to follow him. Then eerie dreams and whispers from the south come to him. Nothing makes sense until one day, Bunji receives an ominous invitation to the nearby island of Yarun.

Three ghosts have apparently returned from the dead…
In 1768, James Cook, newly promoted to Lieutenant, replaces the highly esteemed Alexander Dalrymple as Commander of HMB Endeavour. Following secret Admiralty orders, Cook searches for the mythical Unknown Southern Land. Encountering Australia, he charts its eastern coastline but misses Moreton Bay (including Turrbal country and its river). Faithfully following Lord Morton’s advice, Cook does not take possession of the land when he leaves. But on the streets of Batavia, he learns of a dreadful turn of events and is forced to change the course of Australia’s fate forever.
This meticulously researched historic fiction reveals a fascinating Aboriginal culture, a huge controversy regarding the voyage of HMB Endeavour and Aboriginal maps of Brisbane/SE Queensland region prior to colonisation.
“The past is a palimpsest. And Nayef Din’s lush and painstaking recounting of it strips back time to an intricate, initial canvas…This story is a poignant reminder that every day we pass over and through this invisible past. We should step cautiously, for we tread continually upon lost dreams.”
Raymond Evans, Historian and Poet
“We may get to see our history of Southern Queensland being presented in this unique way, a way I believe will promote positive understanding of ourselves about our places in history.”
Maroochy Barambah, Turrbal Songwoman

In 2017, Nayef Din was presented with an award from the Turrbal people for his role in raising awareness of Aboriginal culture in Brisbane.

Goondeen: Understanding Australia
by Sophie Church (Author)


In Aboriginal terminology, a ‘Goondeen’ is a person respected for their wisdom, gleaned from long experience; an elder who is listened to and their opinions shared and acted upon. In this book, you will meet three Goondeens: Uncle Albert Holt, a Murri man and champion of equality; Henry Palaszczuk, a migrant, former MP and community advocate; and Everald Compton, a successful businessman and social activist.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous, these three men have joined together to reflect on key historical moments during their lifetimes, and to ask probing, sometimes uncomfortable questions about what type of country Australia is, and who Australians are as a people.

For Everald Compton, Australia is a land of possibility but unfulfilled potential.

For Henry Palaszcuzk, it is a place of opportunity and refuge, but also prejudice.

For Albert Holt, it is a country of discrimination and bigotry — and of hope.

This is not a history of Australia; it’s the multi-faceted personal story of a country that is complicated, bold, negligent and wondrous. It challenges YOU to truly understand Australia, by reaching into your own conscience and deciding what type of Australian you are, what type of country you want to live in and what Australia’s place in the world might be. It invites you to learn more about who Goondeens are, what it takes to become one and, above all, why Australia needs Goondeens.

Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines by David Unaipon (2001-07-01) Hardcover – January 1, 1805

Collection of traditional Aboriginal stories from South Australia, written David Uniapon, an early Aboriginal activist, scientist, writer and preacher, who appears on the Australian $50 note. The stories originally appeared in ‘Myths and Legends of the Australian Aboriginals’, but were attributed to W. Ramsay Smith, FRS, anthropologist and Chief Medical Officer of South Australia. For this edition the stories have been re-edited, with the cooperation of Uniapon’s descendants, and for the first time appear as the work of their true author. The editors contribute a substantial introduction that gives the historical and cultural context of Uniapon’s work, and the story of this publication. Includes photos, glossary and bibliography. Muecke is Professor of Cultural Studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney. Previous works include ‘Reading the Country’ and ‘Paperbark: A collection of Black Australian writing’. Shoemaker is Dean of Arts at the Australian National University. Previous works include ‘Black Words, White Page’ and ‘Mudrooroo: A critical study’.

The Floating Brothel: The extraordinary true story of an 18th-century ship and its cargo of female convicts Paperback – 7 January 2002

In July 1789, 237 women convicts left England for Botany Bay in Australia on board a ship called The Lady Juliana, destined to provide sexual services and a breeding bank for the men already there. This is the enthralling story of the women and their voyage. Based on painstaking research into contemporary sources such as letters, trial records and the first-hand account of the voyage written by the ship’s steward, John Nicol, this is a riveting work of recovered history. The Floating Brothel brilliantly conjures up the sights, sounds and particularly the smells of life on board ship at the time and is populated by a cast of larger-than-life characters you will never forget.

Check out more books – PART TWO

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