Is there evidence today of the landscape of the First People?

Actually, there is a lot of evidence if we know how to “read” landscape though intense modification of the Launceston basin makes that more difficult at that location.

This scene from the northeast seems simple enough but it tells a complex story. The tree is a eucalyptus regans which is a massive forest species, the tallest hardwood species in the world. Here however the tree has grown in the open and branched to maximise command of the light. It was a sapling around 1800 so the surrounding area would have been open fired country. Though not obvious from this picture, it grew near a major stream which was a seasonal migratory route of the First People from the coast to the Camden. All of this can be “read” from one tree.

Measurement and assessment were carried out and confirmed by Forestry.

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A Vast Estate Managed with Purpose

In 2011 Bill Gammage published his controversial, The Biggest Estate of Earth: How the Aborigines made Australia. He refuted the idea of Aborigines as nomadic wanderers idling across the landscape. Instead, he saw the Aborigines as landscape managers, modifying and maintaining a vast Estate, a giant “gentleman’s park.”

White intrusion interrupted Indigenous landscape maintenance by fire and mosaic burning which meant an eruption of fire vulnerable regrowth that cause catastrophic bushfires today.

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What does past practice mean in the present?

The substantial alteration to the landscape by First Peoples does not give permission for us to treat the present landscape as a blank slate to be scribbled on.

White intrusion interrupted Indigenous landscape maintenance by fire and mosaic burning which meant an eruption of fire vulnerable regrowth that cause catastrophic bushfires today.

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Why multiple names for the river?

Many languages use generic names with adjectival qualifiers e.g “Grey Kangaroo” where “Kangaroo” is the basic word for the animal and “grey” is an adjectival qualifier that broadens our understanding of the basic generic word.
Aboriginal languages tend to use separate, multiple terms instead, so that “grey kangaroo” or “pregnant kangaroo” would be distinct words yet in the understanding of the First People it is assumed we are talking about the same creature with different aspects.

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