Fire and the Story of Burning Country
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Between the covers of this captivating publication from Cyclops Press is a story demonstrating the positive power and importance of fire on the Australian landscape told by Cape York Indigenous Elders and Community Leaders.
The tradition of managing the land with fire sits in a stark contrast to the widely held view that fire is to be feared, not easily controlled, and is essentially destructive. In a similar vein to The Biggest Estate on Earth by Bill Gammage, Fire challenges long held perceptions and helps us understand traditional land care and management – this time from the Aboriginal perspective. In these pages the Elders explain to us “we need fire because Australia is a fire nation”.
Author Peter McConchie reminds us of the continual strength and connectedness of Australian Indigenous people to their land and culture. Peter has worked for 17 years within Indigenous communities across Australia photographing and recording the importance and beauty of Aboriginal culture so that it may reach a wider audience to be understood, respected and importantly maintained.
Fire and the Story of Burning Country is a response from top end Elders to Victoria’s devastating wildfires of Black Saturday in February 2009. Through this book it is hoped that a set mind will change from the dominant belief that fire is a threat, to the realization that fire is an important tool in managing the land and preventing wildfire.
Dr Don Hankins, a specialist in fire ecology/pyrogeography, Indigenous land management practices and conservation of Indigenous cultural practices, writes in the book’s foreword:
"Where fire is applied to the landscape it yields a mosaic of positive outcomes from resilience to growth. Where Indigenous fires have been removed from the landscape devastating bushfires are more common, as are there impacts on people and whole communities".
Peter's previous books include: Yolngu Mali (Penguin), Elders. Wisdom from Australian Indigenous Leaders (Cambridge University Press), My Peoples Dreaming (Finch Publishing), Old Growth (Hardie Grant) and Australia Beyond Any Price (Pan Macmillan)