Dark Emu – Australia’s true history

Feb 21, 2020 | Book Review

I must admit this is not the sort of book I usually choose. was prompted to purchase Dark Emu when author Bruce Pascoe was referred to Australian Federal PoliceIn case you missed the controversy, Peter Dutton, Minister for Home Affairs, referred Pascoe to police. Pascoe was accused of benefiting financially from incorrectly claiming to be Indigenous. As far as I was concerned, Pascoe’s heritage didn’t make a difference to the story. The book is based on diary entries and eyewitness accounts of early settlers and explorers.
Dark Emu was a real eye opener. It stands in stark contrast to what is being taught in schools today. And it’s certainly very different to what I was taught in school many moons ago. I think this history needs to be heard. Any attempts to sully it via claims about the author, are pandering to the status quo.


We were always told tales about Aboriginal people being simple hunters and gatherers. Dark Emu turns this idea on its head. It illustrates how resourceful and sophisticated they were. Aboriginal people understood the land in a way that colonisers didn’t. Aboriginal people grew plants suited to the soil. They sowed and harvested the land in a way that didn’t deplete it. They built complex irrigation systems. And worked out ways to store the plants and grains they collected.
Native animals did not destroy the soil the way that sheep did when they brought over from England. Floods didn’t cause alarm either. Crops were not destroyed by excessive rain, but rather rejuvenated.
Crops grown included yams and grains. Colonists claim the grains made some of the most delicious bread they had ever tasted. So why were we only told stories about Aboriginal people eating witchetty grubs? Yes, they ate these too – but in hindsight it seems a very restricted narrative. A narrative aimed at painting a picture of “savages”. The anti-thesis of white English men.


In light of the devastating fires Australia has just witnessed, reading about the relationship between fire and land was also fascinating. Indigenous people used fire to their advantage. They planned and managed burns. In this way the land could be regenerated and used for further cultivation.
Aboriginal people understood when and where to burn and for how long. Fire was not an enemy but a friend. Australia’s landscape and climate has changed since the time of colonisation. However, it would be interesting to hear ideas from Indigenous Australians about ways to manage the land. Solutions to our bushfire crisis could lie with the original inhabitants.


Being a building and construction copywriter, I was also interested in what Bruce Pascoe had to relay about housing. Growing up we were always taught that Aboriginal people were nomads. We were made to believe they lived in makeshift huts. Housing constructed from twigs and leaves.
It was fascinating to read about complex structures built to house many people. These structures had different “rooms” or sections. They were built out of clay, bark, stones and timber. Palm leaves were even used as cladding.
These sophisticated homes were also built to withstand different climates. They could guard against heat and cold, wind and even insects. Structures were built with very small openings that people had to crawl through. This helped keep flies out.
They weren’t thrown together piles of sticks. They were well thought out pieces of early architecture.

Imagine the Possibilities

Reading Dark Emu had me thinking about a future Australia. Imagine the possibilities if we embraced this country’s heritage and were proud of it. And why shouldn’t we be? We love when our scientists make ground breaking discoveries. We are proud when savvy people come up with unique inventions or when artists make it overseas. And as for sport – we love being winners on the international stage.
Imagine if we were proud of the intelligence, ingenuity and creativeness of our Indigenous peopleExamination of ancient structures, along with the diary entries of early colonists, suggest that Aboriginal people were living off the land in a way that was hundreds of years ahead of other cultures around the world. Why can’t we embrace that and harness that and be an even better country?
Pascoe suggests that we should start growing some of the foods that Aboriginals expertly did. This could prove a boom for our country and have run off effects like reducing carbon emissions. All we need are forward thinking leaders. Not ones who want authors investigated.
Bruce Pascoe thinks we can’t keep hiding from our history. We can’t be satisfied with having said sorry, whilst refusing to say thank you. Let’s say thank you for our rich history and move forward together.

Get your Instagram on

After Kate’s earlier mentioned money talk, the conference closed with the effervescent Jade Warner from Small Business Growth Club talking all things Instagram. Jade’s presentation was a great reminder that transformation and story telling is still a social media honeypot. People love to see how other people, products, places and just about anything have changed. I particularly loved Jade’s advice about the more Instagram surfaces (feeds, stories, reels, lives, DMs) we appear on, the further our reach.

Let’s get physical

Kate Toon provided a conference experience unlike many others. Coffee cart, morning and afternoon tea, lunch, after conference finger food and drinks, beanbags and massages. But even with all of that, she realised her speakers were giving us a lot of information and that our brains had a lot to process. So in the afternoon she surprised us a with a special guest – Lizzie Williamson from Two Minute Moves. Lizzie told us her story and demonstrated that even for those of us who hate exercise (not mentioning any names), two minutes of movement a day can be a game changer for our mental health. She had us up moving and dancing to Olivia Newton John’s Let’s Get Physical and it definitely helped our mindset. We were refreshed and able to concentrate for the last of the afternoon sessions.

Gifts and prizes

Attendees were also spoiled with a whole range of gifts donated by businesses in DMC. I was lucky enough to win two gorgeous prizes – a mini hamper from Bundles of Luxe thanks to Natasha Sutton from First Impressions Media, and a linen table runner and soap from Sue McGary of French Affair.

I also went home with gifts from Nick’s Digital and event sponsor True Green. And if that wasn’t enough, Kate also gave us Masterminders a box of Digital Marketing Collective goodies.

Award winners

It’s amazing to think that Kate Toon also organised awards around this conference. They’re a lot of work and many generous people gave up their time to read and judge entries. Thank you to head judge Erin Huckle and everyone else who participated.

I was a finalist in the Service Based Business of the Year Award (how cool is that?) but I couldn’t be disappointed in missing out when I saw the calibre of the other finalists. Well done to all finalists. A big congratulations to Beck Confrancesco from Marketing Goodness for being runner up and Nerissa Bentley from The Melbourne Health Writer for winning. Woo hoo! So well deserved. Both these women have always been extremely generous, sharing their knowledge and helping me be better in business. So I was thrilled to see both these first time award entrants get rewarded for their hard work and success.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners in the E-commerce Business of the Year awards as well. Was thrilled to see Nikki Filia from BeBangles, whose beautiful bracelets I was wearing, awarded runner up. And congratulations to Sue McGary from French Affair for taking out the win. What gorgeous products.


Digital Marketing Collective

This blog post is merely a recap of two very value-packed days at the Digital Marketing Collective Conference 2023. The overwhelming feeling at the end was not only that we got so much useful and practical information to help our businesses grow, but that we had met so many amazing humans.

Kate Toon has an uncanny ability to gather together the best of people. The Digital Marketing Collective is made up of a diverse range of service based and e-commerce business owners. Imagine having a safe space to learn, grow, make mistakes and be supported. Come join us. Full disclosure – the link below is an affiliate link but I would never recommend a group that I wasn’t myself paying to be a part of.

Join Digital Marketing Collective

P.S. If you want to see more photos and videos from the Mastermind and Conference, head over to my Instagram highlights after you join DMC.

Welcome to The Copywriting Chonicles

I love the building industry as much as I love writing. You can learn more about me here.

If you have a question about anything building related that you would like me to blog about, please drop me a quick note.

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