By Dr Ray Kerkhove
I picked up a new little book the other day on Aboriginal campsites in Brisbane, and was pleasantly surprised by the detail.
Through extensive research on written eye-witness accounts of life in the new and expanding Brisbane, Dr Kerkhove has detailed many habitation sites of the first peoples. Maps and photographs link with detailed references to provide a comprehensive guide that belies its small size. As you can probably guess, I like maps.
A picture is painted of complex interactions between new comers with modern technologies and original residents with intimate knowledge of food resources and landscape processes. Indigenous camp sites remained in use for many years through this period of dislocation, some even up until the 1950s. This all happened in spite of the flood of European immigrants into Brisbane (mine included).
A number of camp sites are still there today – set aside as reserves a long time ago because people lived there. Cultural heritage no doubt abounds in these locations. Many of today’s citizens would have no inkling of the historical nature of the local park. Modern park managers would do well to comprehend the ancient nature of these areas, and the roll they played in forming the early culture of Brisbane.
As a student of the local history (both indigenous and non-indigenous) of Brisbane and South East Queensland, I found the book quite enlightening and a delight to read.
Boolarong Press, May 2016
Paperback, A5 format, 127 pages
Available online from Boolarong Press
or from select in-store bookshops.
Review by Keith McCosh
Land for Wildlife Officer
Scenic Rim Regional Council