The vast continent of Australia was settled in two main streams, far apart in time and origin.
The first came ashore some 50,000 years ago when the islands of Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea were one. The second began to arrive from Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. Each had to come to terms with the land they found, and each had to make sense of the other.
The long Aboriginal occupation of Australia witnessed spectacular changes. The rising of the seas isolated the continent and preserved a nomadic way of life, while agriculture was revolutionising other parts of the world. Over millennia, the Aboriginal people mastered the land's climates, seasons and resources.
Traditional Aboriginal life came under threat the moment Europeans crossed the world to plant a new society in an unknown land. That land in turn rewarded, tricked, tantalised and often defeated the new arrivals.
The meeting of the two cultures is one of the most difficult and complex meetings in recorded history.
In this book Professor Geoffrey Blainey returns first to the subject of his celebrated works on Australian history, Triumph of the Nomads (1975) and A Land Half Won (1980), retelling the story of our history up until 1850 in light of the latest research. He has changed his view about vital aspects of the Aboriginal and early British history of this land, and looked at other aspects for the first time.
Compelling, groundbreaking and brilliantly readable, The Story of Australia's People: The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia is the first instalment of an ambitious two-part work, and the culmination of the lifework of Australia's most prolific and wide-ranging historian.