book hack

Dark Emu

Bruce Pascoe

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

Bruce Pascoe's award-winning Indigenous perspective on Australia argues for a reevaluation of the country's past, present, and future land management.


Dark Emu

Dark Emu

by Bruce Pascoe


This book is not about emus. Bruce Pascoe's title refers to the Australian Aboriginal spirit emu, Baiame, who left Earth after its creation and now resides in the Milky Way. Baiame occupies the darkness between stars, a metaphor for the deep Aboriginal knowledge of Australia that its colonizers have historically overlooked.

Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture is the 2018 second edition of Pascoe's 2014 book Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? The book is a rebuttal of colonial narratives of Australia, pointing towards a more sustainable and spiritually fulfilling future for all of the country's inhabitants. Pascoe, an Aboriginal Australian of Bunurong, Tasmanian, and Yuin heritage, frames his argument through agriculture, revealing the deep influence of Aboriginal Australians.

In addition to its agricultural history, Pascoe's book explores Aboriginal Australia's aquaculture, housing, food storage, use of fire, and the values that continue to underpin its culture.

Favorite quote

The early history of Australia is crowded with references to Aboriginal watercraft and fishing techniques, yet Australians remain strangely impervious to that knowledge and the Aboriginal economy in general.

- Bruce Pascoe

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