A picture from the front cover of Bill Gammage’s book The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia.
NATIONAL: Bill Gammage hopes that winning the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award will mean more Australians learn about the Aboriginal land management techniques before white settlement.
Gammage’s book The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia has just earned him $100,000 – Australia’s richest single literary prize.
“If this means more people will read it, I’m delighted about that of course,” Gammage told AAP.
“It took a long while and a lot of hard effort, 12 years (to write) … 30 or 40 years of thinking before that, so the more people who read it the happier I am.”
The Canberra historian’s novel uses observation, historical accounts, botanical information and anthropology to argue Aboriginal people across Australia managed the land to encourage particular plants and landscapes in certain areas and attract animals for hunting.
He also won the $25,000 award for non-fiction.
The awards were presented by Premier and Arts Minister Ted Baillieu in the Regent Theatre ballroom.
The other award winners carrying $25,000 prize money were Gillian Mears for Foal’s Bread (Fiction Award), Lally Katz for A Golem Story (Drama Award) and John Kinsella for Armour (Poetry Award).