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Fire Ecology, 2012
Volume 8, Issue 3

Fire-Stick Farming, with an Introduction by Aaron M. Petty
Author: Rhys Jones
Pages: 1-8
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803001

Rhys Jones was not a fire ecologist, and he was the first to admit that. What Rhys Jones did understand was time—deep time. By his death in 2001, Jones had become the pre-eminent Australian archaeologist, with a research portfolio that spanned from Tasmania to New Guinea. Among his many achievements, Jones helped establish the time of human occupation of Australia at 40 000 years.

When Rhys Jones published Fire-Stick Farming in 1969, the Australian state operated under the doctrine of terra nullius, which established that the continent was uninhabited at the time of European discovery and there for the taking. Aboriginal people had only just gained full recognition as citizens within the constitution in 1967 and were still over twenty years away from having their native title claims recognized and terra nullius negated in the High Court’s Mabo decision in 1992.

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