Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu reignites history wars by claiming first Australians ...

The ABC has sparked a new battle in Australia's long-running history wars by turning a controversial book that claims Aboriginals were sophisticated farmers into a documentary.

Bruce Pascoe's award-winning 2014 book Dark Emu claims Aboriginals were not hunter-gatherers, as generally believed, but farmers who planted crops and stored grain in silos. 

The Aboriginal historian argued many Indigenous Australians also lived in villages with stone huts, and constructed dams and irrigation systems.

Aboriginal historian Bruce Pascoe claims Aboriginals were not hunter-gatherers, as generally believed, but farmed crops and stored grain in silos

Aboriginal historian Bruce Pascoe claims Aboriginals were not hunter-gatherers, as generally believed, but farmed crops and stored grain in silos

Mr Pascoe claims all this was destroyed when British settlers arrived and evidence was covered up for centuries.

'The myth that Aborigines were simple nomads was perpetuated to justify white occupation,' he writes. 

However, his claims fly in the face of decades of scholarly research and academic consensus about Aboriginal society before colonisation.

Australia's leading historians such as Richard Broome, Geoffrey Blainey, and Derek Mulvaney, all write that Aboriginals were hunter-gatherer nomads with no agriculture.

'They are nomads - hunters and foragers who grow nothing, build nothing, and stay nowhere long,' WEH Stanner wrote in The Dreaming & Other Essays.

None of these academics wrote disparagingly of Aboriginals and noted that their way of life was perfectly in tune with the Australian environment.

His claims fly in the face of decades of scholarly research and academic consensus about Aboriginal society before colonisation, which hold they were hunter-gatherers

His claims fly in the face of decades of scholarly research and academic consensus about Aboriginal society before colonisation, which hold they were hunter-gatherers

Mr Pascoe himself has detailed how a group of academics invited him to a meeting in Canberra to dissuade him of his views.

'They said 'look, we don't want you talking to our students about this stuff, because it's wrong, it didn't ­happen',' he recalled.

'You're talking about agriculture, but that didn't happen. Aboriginal people were hunter-gatherers.'

The criticism spurred him to research the topic further and eventually write Dark Emu.

Since the ABC documentary was announced last month, fresh criticism has emerged along with questions of why public money is being spent to promote it.

This is despite Dark Emu winning numerous awards, selling more than 100,000 copies, and its theory being taught in some schools.

Conservative writer Peter O'Brien this month published a Bitter Harvest, which in scathing language directly contests Mr Pascoe's research.

'Almost every significant claim that Pascoe makes that is sourced, turns out to be either false or misrepresented,' he wrote. 

'As purported history, Dark Emu is worthless. Even worse, it promotes a divisive, victim-based agenda that pits one Australian against another.'

Australia's leading historians such as Richard Broome, Geoffrey Blainey, and Derek Mulvaney, all write that Aboriginals were hunter-gatherer nomads with no agriculture

Australia's leading historians such as Richard Broome, Geoffrey Blainey, and Derek Mulvaney, all write that Aboriginals were hunter-gatherer nomads with no agriculture

A group of amateur historians of diverse fields including farming, fishing, and archaeology, has also made efforts to debunk Mr Pascoe's claims.

Dozens of posts from these contributors on the blog Dark Emu Exposed attack everything from Aboriginals making grain stores to 'imaginary irrigation schemes'.

Mr Pascoe draws much of his research from accounts of early European explorers about what they observed when encountering native tribes.

He refers to the 1848 journal of Thomas Mitchell recounting that he 'rode through nine miles of stooked grain' - sheaves of grain cut and left to dry.

Mr Pascoe has stated that it was this journal, which he picked up for $8 at a second-hand bookstore, that kicked off the research that led to the book. 

However, what the journal actually said was that Mitchell: 'counted nine miles along the river, in which we rode through this grass only, reaching to our saddle-girths.

'Dry heaps of this grass, that

read more from dailymail.....

PREV Seven killed, including state lawmaker, as two planes collide in Alaska
NEXT James Murdoch steps down from the board of News Corp over 'disagreements over ...