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New book available for Christmas

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Wilsons Promontory National Park A History by Mary Ellis, is required reading for anyone with a love of one of the country’s most favourite places.

This landmark text, is a fast moving detailed analysis and study of the Prom from the disaggregation of Gondwana, to the evolution of ancient and current animal and plant life, Indigenous occupation, colonial invasion, exploration, and settlement, and the immense challenge of the future in land and asset management. It pulls no punches on the cruelty of the dispossession and near destruction of the five clans of the Gunnai Kurnai country, beneath the beauty now preserved for us, making the need for knowledge and restoration even more poignant.

The wealth of information is compiled from many sources and authorities, backed up with an extensive bibliography and stunning historical, and contemporary photographs.

The narrative throughout the eighteen descriptive chapters, while set in science and fact, is a compelling encounter from the genesis of continents, life in the First Nations, escaped convicts, explorers, sealers and whalers, commercial developments, pastoral runs, shipwreck, the Park creation, fire and flood, the diversity of flora and fauna, including recently introduced native species and hopes for the future.

As Mary says, “Bringing all these histories together in a coherent whole is the aim of this present history. There is no conclusion because the history is ongoing.”

Mary Ellis first visited the Prom while studying Botany at Melbourne University in the 1960’s. A life member of the South Gippsland Conservation Society, she is active in a number of historical and advisory groups, and is the author of several books on weeds, trees, conservation, gardening, the naming of plants. She has co-authored a number of other works, including bushwalking and coastal plants.

Thanks to the South Gippsland Shire for a grant of $1500 that facilitated publication of the book, and to Parks Victoria, the Fish Creek Landcare Group, the Foster and District Historical Society, and the Victorian National Parks Association who supported our application. Jennifer and Nigel Murray attended the awards ceremony in Leongatha last week.

Mary Ellis will be available for book signings every Wednesday afternoon in the Bunurong Environment Centre from 2:00 – 4:00 pm throughout January. The book is available from the Centre, and Information Centres across Gippsland for $35.00.


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