"The stain is deep in our chalk and until we can accept what the explorers saw as part of the national story our debate of national origins, character and attributes is hobbled by ignorance."
Bruce Pascoe, "Dark Emu, Black Seeds: agriculture or accident?"

Bruce Pascoe’s award-winning book provides a historical account of the sophisticated farming, fishing and land management practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the continent prior to colonisation, exploding the hunter-gatherer myth which has been perpetuated to support the colonial
 lie of terra nullius. Dark Emu chronicles what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
 have always known, that their reciprocal and interconnected relationship with the environment is both sustainable and sacred.

Inspired by these stories of respect and connection, Bangarra’s Dark Emu is a dramatic and evocative dance response to the assault
 on land, people and spirit. We celebrate this sharing of knowledge, the heritage of careful custodianship, and the beauty that Bruce Pascoe’s vision urges us to leave to the children.


Dark Spirit of the Sky - Looking into the void

Ceremony of Seed - Working with the cycle of life

Forged by Fire - Fertilised by ash

Bogong Moth Harvest - Oiling and feasting

Crushed by Ignorance - The calamity of disregard

Escape Through Dust - A resilient lone spirit prevails, moving onwards

Bowls of Mourning - Tears mix with the earth in caps of clay

Trampled by Indifference - A scourge of hooves, of flies and disease

Rebirth Ritual - Carefully we are restored

Rocks of Knowledge - Weaving traps with stone and skill

Whales of Fortune - The pinnacle of reciprocity, trust is shared with the cetaceans

Smashed by Colonisation - A final, climactic massacre, an uncomprehending destruction

Resilience of Culture - The wonder and power that nurtures earth, sea and sky

Baiame - The spirit of resilience and hope, singing up the land.


I am the rock that holds the heat, after the sun has set

Thank you, my country

I am the grain that takes the oil, after the pouring is done

Thank you, my country

I am the stone soaking up water, long since retrieved from the pool

Thank you, my country

I am the spirit of country, still giving all life to the land

Thank you, my country