Our Country: Ancient Wonders
Walker Books, 2022
40pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99
Our country is calling…
There could be no more fitting way to start a new year’s reading journey than with this stunning journey around our ancient land visiting natural wonders that date back 2.5 billion years!
From the front endpage that maps out the route to the wonders gathered in the book – Lark Quarry, Undara Lava Tubes, Lightning Ridge, Great Ocean Road, Cradle Mountain, Franklin River, Naracoorte, Lake Mungo, Uluru and Kata Tjuta, Devils Marbles, Kakadu, Wolfe Creek, Bungle Bungles, Zebedee Springs – to the final one that maps adventures still to undertake we are taken on an expedition in an old tour bus that both explores and explains a handful of the features that make Australia unique.
Each double page spread introduces a ‘new’ phenomenon in a fascinating way that makes this book so readable.
History hunter Mark Greenwood is in his element with this topic as he combines both geology and geography beginning with a basic statement such as “Our country had a fiery past” and “Lost worlds are found in our country” which not only set the scene for the basis of the visit but create a deeper appreciation of why our First Nations people feel such a connection to Country. Then there is a broad explanation with language reminiscent of a tourist brochure as well as a brief, fact-filled paragraph about the origins of the particular beauty. And all set against a backdrop of Frané Lessac’s stunning artwork!
At a time when travel remains so tricky, this is a book that is a must-have in both the home and school library. For the family, it is an opportunity to plan a journey (or two or three) to discover the remarkable land shapes and landscapes that are our own backyard; while in the school setting, a class could go on a new journey every few weeks! Set teams to investigate each location in greater detail to introduce it to their peers on a year-long journey that not only explores the feature in greater depth but also helps them understand the origins of the planet’s topography and the interplay between it and the environment, again strengthening that understanding of connection to Country. The historians can delve into the land before time, scientists can dig into geology, paleontology and all the other ologies; the mathematicians can plot timelines, distances, routes…; the artists can produce posters and brochures; the storytellers can dig into the legends and retell them (or invent a new one); the environmentalists can examine the interaction between landscape, habitat and inhabitants… there is something for everyone to show and share their strengths.
Here are some useful links to start – making yourself familiar with what’s available through Geoscience Australia could be your best move this year…
Geoscience Australia – Education resources
Geoscience Australia classroom resources
Australia Through Time (poster)
Shaping a Nation: A Geology of Australia this is a book with each chapter available separately
Australia: an ancient land (teacher notes)
And the best news is that this is just the first book in the Our Country series which will takes readers on even more journeys across Australia to discover both our unique geology and geography! A whole year’s worth of lessons sorted!! If ever there were a book that deserved the tag Australia: Story Country or even Dreaming with your eyes open – this is it.