The first scientists: Deadly inventions and innovations from Australia's first peoples by Corey Tutt. Illus. by Blak Douglas

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Australia’s First peoples have the longest continuing culture on Earth and this colourful and informative book written in consultation with communities and elders provides many fascinating facts to ponder over. This book showcases not the perceived science of white lab coats and experiments but looks at contributions of First Peoples in areas such as bush medicine to bush trackers.  Important and innovative thinkers such as SA’s own David Unaipon are also discussed.

The book begins with the AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia with smaller maps interspersed throughout to enable the reader to understand where the science discussed is taking place. The traditional Indigenous sciences covered include astronomy, engineering, forensic science, chemistry, land management and ecology. The first scientists passed on the lessons of the land, sea and sky to the future scientists of today through stories, song and dance. The book ends with detailed pages of references and acknowledgements.

The author Corey Tutt is a proud Kamilaroi man and Young Australian of the Year for NSW 2020. He is the CEO and founder of Deadly Science, which provides science resources, mentoring and training to over a hundred remote and regional schools across Australia with a particular focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

This book, shortlisted for the CBCA 2022 Eve Pownall Award, is an enlightening and important addition to all school and public libraries.

Themes: Indigenous Australians, Science, Indigenous Languages.

Kathryn Beilby