It’s time to stop lighting fires

Bob McDonald, Naturalist. Article in Jan 14, 2015

Time to stop lighting fires

Bill Gammage’s popular book ‘The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia’ contains many fundamental flaws and represents ‘blind advocacy’ for repeated burning’ because ‘Aboriginal people did it’. 

Like Keith Windshuttle’s ‘Fabrication of Aboriginal History’, Bill Gammage only pursued references - and interpretation of references - that supported his ‘hypothesis’. For Gammage that hypothesis is that all Aboriginal people farmed all of Australia using fire. This proposition was first published by Rhys Jones in an article in Australian Natural History in 1969 ‘Firestick Farming’ - and the references Jones used have as little merit as Gammage’s.

Jones used a painting of Lesueur from 1802 to show landscape burning by Tasmanian Aboriginal people when the painting is clearly of smoke signals.  He quoted Peron observing the Derwent River ‘ablaze’ while Peron stated that ‘Tasmanians’ lit the fire to see them off. Bill Gammage now travels the country advocating frequent burning. He is not in any way qualified to do so and often does not look at the bush in these places before he advocates burning. He quotes no Aboriginal people or stories and ignores scientific evidence that cast doubt on his theories.

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Greens win seat of Prahran in Victorian Parliament

Sam Hibbins
Photo: Ben Oquist

The Greens candidate Sam Hibbins has won the seat of Prahran in the Victorian Parliament.

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Bob Barker departs for Operation Icefish

Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt
Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt. Photo: Simon Ager

The Sea Shepherd ship, the Bob Barker, departed Hobart for the commencement of the organisation’s 11th Southern Ocean Defence Campaign, Operation Icefish.

After successfully championing the suspension of Japan’s illegal whaling program in the Southern Ocean, Sea Shepherd will this year focus its efforts to directly intervene against the illegal fishing of Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish.

Bob was at the Hobart wharves for the press conference and sendoff.

For the full Sea Shepherd Operation Icefish story click here.

Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt. Photo: Simon Ager
Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt. Photo: Simon Ager
Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt. Photo: Simon Ager
Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt. Photo: Simon Ager
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Wolves circling in the wilderness

An article by Bob Brown in The Mercury 13 Nov 2014.

I AM not surprised a powerful minority in the tourism industry wants to remove the word “wilderness” from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The authenticity of that word gives Tasmania world renown but it is a stumbling block for exploiters.

Recherche Bay
Recherche Bay is just outside the World Heritage Area. Picture: Bob Brown
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Our best friend is a killer.

A dog goes for a run on the beach. Fun for him, not for shorebirds.

Pied Oystercatcher
Pied Oystercatcher, Photo: Kevin Kucks
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Gaining World Heritage Recognition for Antarctica

This was submitted by Geoff Mosley as a piece for The Conversation 3 days after the release of the latest 20 year Strategy for Antarctica but was not accepted.


A new 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan released in Hobart on 10th October throws cold water on the proposal for an Australian led World Heritage nomination that was endorsed by the Coalition in 2012. This endorsement, supported by the then Shadow Environment Minister Greg Hunt, was made in a speech by Senator David Bushby at ‘The Next Big Step’ public forum held in Hobart on 17th June, 2012. The previous day, even before this had been explained to the public, Dr Tony Press posted a piece on The Conversation criticising the proposal.

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Bob Brown's invisible book points out that Bob's new book Optimism was missing from an article in "The Australian" listing sales of political books this year - in spite of being number 2 in sales!

"...One book that was conspicuously missing was former Greens leader Bob Brown's memoir, Optimism, released in August. It has sold 7455 books since release, and 4788 in its first four weeks. That would put it well ahead of every book on the Oz's list except Carr's -- but we're sure it's just an innocent oversight..."


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Sea Shepherd intervenes in the Grind

Some recent feedback from Nathaniel, a young Sea Shepherd volunteer.

Sea Shepherd at the Faroe Islands
Sea Shepherd at the Faroe Islands

"If you get in between me and a whale, if Sea Shepherd intervenes in the Grind, I will kill you first," Grind director Marnar Andreasson growled, his face inches from mine. "And stop filming me."

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Embracing optimism: you know it works

Wendy Harmer
Photo ©

A speech by Wendy Harmer at the launch of Bob's new book "Optimism" at Geelong on 4 August 2014. Published in The Sydney Morning Herald 9 August 2014.

It’s time to take a good look deep into the well of human optimism.


Yes we can! That was the three-word slogan chanted endlessly by a legion of Barack Obama supporters in the 2008 US presidential election.

The Obama campaign logo, incorporating the letter “O”, was intended to evoke the image of a rising sun over the horizon symbolising hope, although one clear-eyed critic described it as “a zero and a sunset over a deserted highway”.

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Optimism - The Introduction

The introduction to Bob's new book "Optimism" is available for download in full for free right here.

Several book launch events are being held accross the country - probably one near you!

All the "Optimism" launches and related activities are shown on our Events page.

"Optimism" will be released in August 2014.

All online retailers are now starting to list "Optimism" (in both print and e formats) as available for pre-order.


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