Try free for 2 months

  • Dark Emu

  • Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?
  • By: Bruce Pascoe
  • Narrated by: Bruce Pascoe
  • Length: 5 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (2,656 ratings)

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.
Dark Emu cover art

Dark Emu

By: Bruce Pascoe
Narrated by: Bruce Pascoe
Try for $0.00

AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $29.99

Buy Now for $29.99

Pay using voucher balance (if applicable) then card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Editorial reviews

What you thought you knew about pre-colonial Aboriginal Australia is wrong. Learn the true history of Australia’s first people in Dark Emu. Author Bruce Pascoe lays out the compelling case that Aboriginal culture was far more rich and advanced than we’ve been led to believe, crafting a work that has won two NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Book of the Year and the Indigenous Writers’ Prize. 

Drawing from accounts from some of the first settlers to arrive in Australia, including Charles Sturt and Thomas Mitchell, Pascoe shares evidence of advanced agriculture, engineering and architecture that challenges the fraught concept of Terra Nullius. One of Australia’s most esteemed writers and an advocate for Australia’s Aboriginal people, Pascoe narrates his own work with heart, honesty and expertise.

Publisher's Summary

A completely accessible, compelling and riveting account of pre-invasion Aboriginal agricultural systems.

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.

©2014 Bruce Pascoe (P)2017 Bolinda audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Dark Emu

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,133
  • 4 Stars
    375
  • 3 Stars
    94
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    37
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,632
  • 4 Stars
    414
  • 3 Stars
    176
  • 2 Stars
    38
  • 1 Stars
    25
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,907
  • 4 Stars
    254
  • 3 Stars
    69
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    29

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Important book, but read critically

A very interesting book. It's safe to say that many aboriginal groups cannot accurately be described as solely hunter gatherers. However, the author stretches the evidence further than is warranted in many places. For instance, he cites the lack of archaeological evidence of large scale warfare as showing that aboriginal people never engaged in group-on-group conflict. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This sort of Rousseauian fantasizing persists throughout the book. The final chapter begins with an anti-European screed - wondering aloud whether China would have been a better colonial power (the actions of modern China to its neighbours puts the lie to this) and implies at multiple points that Aboriginal people should have more rights than other Australians to 'make up for dispossession'. The chapter somewhat redeems itself with its environmental message at the end. We have a lot to learn from the first Australians about managing the land, but this book often uncritically places them on a pedestal, and seems to think they are exempted from the sorts of psychological flaws that characterise the rest of our species; territoriality, aggression, dominance hierarchies and leader worship. A more balanced and nuanced view would have been appreciated.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

127 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Rewrite history

I find it funny how he spend most his time saying how the aboriginal people where the first to do everything and so peaceful, but the fact is they're actually like any other human had horrible wars and injustices. I was waiting for the part in which he said they were first to create a aircraft. The aboriginal people of australia were a bueatiful culture with amazing spirtual, hunting techniques, and oral culture. The author is a aboriginal /white man born in Melbourne (a city area) who i feel wants to rewrite history to look more western. I've tried to search for anything he talks about but found very minor or one off situations. I will keep looking and promise to change my review if I'm wrong but at this point I feel as though this is more of a dream he wants rather then the facts. It just sounds to much like propaganda, I did however give the whole book a chance but my opinion stayed the same despite everyone else giving such high reviews which surprises me.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

69 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Des
  • 20-06-2021

Terrible misrepresentation of history.

This story is a ridiculous work of fiction that embarrassingly is amazed that Aboriginal Australian were capable of anything at all. They lived and survived off the land for tens of thousands of years but for this wanna be aboriginal it's not enough. He has to portray them as so much more and expresses a condescending view of these amazing human beings. Shame on him. Spend your money elsewhere....

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

47 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting information overshadowed by bias

While the book puts forth an abundance of interesting evidence surrounding indigenous life before colonisation the author throws a lot of his own exaggeration and prejudice in the mix.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Nonsense .

This is book is fiction. Where dose this guy get his so called facts from.?

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

paradigm shifting

growing up in Australia and going through the public school system, I have learnt a great deal from this book. it tells a story fundamentally different than what I was brought to to believe. I am thankful for this as to improve my once very ignorant appreciation of Australian aboriginal historical culture. this should be read and studied in schools in Australia

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thanks Bruce, I’m sorry and thank you.

You opened my eyes. I’d heard bits from time to time over the years that our first people were more sophisticated than we were taught at school but I’d had no idea of this. I’m angry that our texts were redacted to support terra nullius. I’m also very conscious that my own family on both sides took up land that was given to them by the government although it wasn’t theirs to give. I’m sorry, and thank you.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

what a load of crap

One sides. full of bitterness. I thought historians should be objective and impartial. What is wrong with being very advanced hunter gatherers?

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Between novel and fiction

As a new australian, I was interested on how the other side (aboriginal populations) perceived the European colonisation during the 18th & 19th centuries.
Meanwhile we all have heard the atrocities done to the aboriginal populations, the author describes an idilic land inhabited by above average culturaly developed populations.
The most surprising part is when the author describes the amaizing and well-develop agriculture that the original populations had.
This book is based on wishes with almost no facts.
It is interesting to read, but completely out of the reality of what europeans found here.


Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read

The most important book you're going to read this year. That's a big call to make in early February but I'm making it.

The fact that it took me five years to hear about this book says everything. I don't know if it's on any education syllabus in this country but it should be. Every Australian needs to read this book.

I listened on Audible (an easy, five hour listen) and am going to buy a couple of physical copies. One to keep at home to highlight and underline and one to keep in my classroom. Hell, I should buy a box of this book and give a copy to everyone I know.

There are so many incredible quotes (which I'm unable to share with you because, Audible) but it is such an accessible collection of eye witness accounts of Aboriginal agriculture, architecture and society at the time of first contact with Europeans. I can't believe that the observations of Burke and Wills and so many others are not more well known. My mind was blown by the depth of my ignorance.

I started listening to this book on a Monday morning and I was telling my class parts of what I had learned by Monday afternoon.

If you're only going to read one book this year, make it this one.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

34 people found this helpful

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.