About the author

Geoffrey Blainey is a professor and one of Australia's most significant and popular historians. He has written some 36 full-length books including the best-selling A short history of the world. Geoffrey Blainey held chairs in economic history and then in plain history at the University of Melbourne for 21 years. He was a delegate to the 1998 Constitutional Convention and also chaired various Commonwealth government bodies, including the Australia Council, the Literature Board, the Australia-China Council, and the National Council for the Centenary of Federation.

Image of author Geoffrey Blainey AO

About the book

In light of the latest research, Geoffrey Blainey AO retells the story of our history up until 1850. Traditional Aboriginal life came under threat the moment Europeans crossed the world to plant a new society in an unknown land. That land in turn rewarded, tricked, tantalised and often defeated the new arrivals. The meeting of the two cultures is one of the most difficult and complex in recorded history.

Compelling, ground breaking and brilliantly readable, this is the first instalment of an ambitious two-part work, and the culmination of the lifework of Australia's most prolific and wide-ranging historian.

Book cover of The Story of Australia's People. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia by Geoffrey Blainey AO


Judges' comments

This is the first instalment of Geoffrey Blainey's proposed two-volume history of Australia's people over some 50,000 years. This first volume begins with the arrival of the early or first Australians in what was then, before the great rising of the seas, a liveable continent uniting Tasmania, Australia and New Guinea.

Over countless centuries the comparatively prosperous Aboriginal or nomadic way of life became isolated from the civilisation that came to dominate Europe and Asia. Eventually a new materialist, expansionist and restless stream of immigrants began to arrive from Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. Confrontation was inevitable. It happened in Sydney in 1788. The second volume of this ambitious master work begins with the gold rush in 1851.