Magabala Books Magabala Books Australia’s leading Indigenous publisher Support us

We respectfully caution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers that this website contains images of people who have passed away.


Dark Emu

WINNER – 2016 Indigenous Writer's Prize in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards

WINNER – 2016 Book of the Year in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards

SHORTLISTED – 2014 History Book Award in the Queensland Literary Awards

SHORTLISTED – 2014 Victorian Premier's Award for Indigenous Writing

Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the 'hunter-gatherer' tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early explorers that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia's past is required.

Now a Walkley Award-winning Documentary called ‘The Dark Emu Story’.


Praise for Dark Emu

“[Pascoe’s] arguments about the reality of Aboriginal agriculture, acquaculture, food storage and preservation are not new, but hitherto they have been buried in scientific papers, less accessible writings, or not pursued in such a sustained manner.  He has done a great service by bringing this material to students and general readers, and in such a lively and engaging fashion…I heartily recommend this book to teachers of Aboriginal studies.”
– Richard Broome, Emeritus Professor, History, La Trobe University

"Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what Australia once was, or what it might yet be if we heed the lessons of long and sophisticated human occupation."
– NSW Premier's Literacy Awards Judging Panel

"This is the most important book on Australia and should be read by every Australian."
– Marcia Langton, The Australian 

"The truth-telling must go on."
- Stephen Fitzpatrick, The Australian

"A vital piece of Australian history and should be mandatory in the national and global curriculum."
– Tyrone Ormsby, Creative Director, City Standard

"I’m grateful for a book that has so enlivened the engagement of Australians with their country’s history… In spite of half a century of eloquent activism and scholarship, most Australians still grossly underestimate the sophistication of Indigenous culture, technology and governance. The popular embrace of Pascoe’s work suggests that many are keen to learn."
– Tom Griffiths, Emeritus Professor of History at the Australian National University

"[T]his is an important book that advances a powerful argument for re-evaluating the sophistication of Aboriginal peoples’ economic and socio-political livelihoods, and calls for Australia to embrace the complexity, sophistication and innovative skills of Indigenous people into its concept of itself as a nation."
– Dr Michael Davis, Aboriginal History, December 2014, ANU.


Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe has published widely in both adult and young adult literature. He has won numerous awards, including the Children’s Book Council of Australia Eve Pownall Award for Young Dark Emu (Magabala Books 2019), New South Wales Premier’s Book of...

Read more

Other titles by Bruce Pascoe