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.

So, the British presence was not neutral but one that rapidly altered to the new white landscape intrusion – invasive native vegetation as well as new grasses, new trees, new plants – that displaced and altered the character of country.

A total picture needs to be considered that is mindful of the historical evolution of landscape and the effect on species persistence and preservation. 

John Glover “Mills Plains”.

This was painted in the 1830s after actual occupation of the area by Tasmanian First Peoples – they were ‘painted’ into the landscape. But note the extraordinary regrowth of invasive wattle [acacia melanoxion] – and remarked on by Glover – in the background indicating cessation of firing of the landscape. The big gums were preserved by “cool” firing which suppressed regrowth seedlings.

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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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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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