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The following is a new post from Mr. Colin Samundsett. Colin was raised on the Atherton Tablelands and became a surveyor by trade, but also cultivated an expertise in rainforest structure and species. A nursery man and tree planter by avocation, also a wood turner and expert with axe, adze and scarfing hoe. Here Colin introduces and reviews an important series of books produced over several years by Australian Paleobotanist and author Mary White.
Mary White’s contribution towards our understanding of them.
By Colin Samundsett
Australia’s first wave of immigrants, their descendants and those supplementing them, wrestled with turbulent changes for 50 or 60 millennia. What the first European immigrants saw on their arrival was a between-rounds pause, the last, in an enduring bout with those changes. It was a time of remarkable adjustment between the landscape and the Europeans’ predecessors. But, the continent’s fundamental geology and geomorphology remained unchanged.
Scottish migrant Peter Dodds McCormick, Sydney resident for 23 years, believed he had enough knowledge of his new country to pen a song about it: his Advance Australia Fair’s first public delivery in 1878 declared “…For those who’ve come across the seas we’ve boundless plains to share…”. Well, we’re sharing it with 21 million more than he was then; and there’ll be another million in four years from now. But, do we really understand just what we are sharing?
We have learned much about this land since 1878, and Paleobotanist Mary White has synthetised it admirably. She provides a wealth of information on how it is, and how it came to be; all in very readable style with five books. Continue reading