We’re very excited to announce the release of Fire Country by Indigenous Fire Management expert Victor Steffensen, with cover art by our very own Tristan Schultz.
After reading Victor’s work and discussing with him, Tristan’s illustration draws together a number of messages inside the book. It depicts an outstretched Elders hand offering to Australia their wisdom held in a firestick, should the nation care to listen; a handful of half dry long grass and bark wrapped up, not too loose, not too tight, cool at the base and warm at the top. The symmetry a strategy to remind the visual reader that Indigenous Knowledge is contemporary and sophisticated, not of some uncontrollable archaic time. The colours to connote that amidst the dense bush green, red and yellow raw fire can be managed by a single intelligible hand. The complexity in the illustration linework to connote the relational indicators Victor speaks of when reading the land.
About the book
Delving deep into the Australian landscape and the environmental challenges we face, Fire Country is a powerful account from Indigenous land management expert Victor Steffensen on how the revival of Indigenous fire practices, including improved ’reading’ of country and undertaking ’cool burns’, could help to restore our nation.
Victor developed a passion for traditional cultural and ecological knowledge from a young age, but it was after leaving high school that Victor met two Elders who became his mentors, particularly to revive cultural burning. Developed over many generations, this knowledge shows clearly that Australia actually needs fire – with burning done in a controlled manner – for land care and healing.
Victor’s story is unassuming and honest, written in a way that reflects the nature of yarning. And while some of the knowledge shared in his book may be unclear to western world views, there is much evidence that, if adopted, it could benefit all Australians.
For every copy sold, Hardie Grant will donate $1 to Firesticks, which empowers Indigenous fire management practitioners to revive cultural burning.