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The First Scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia's First Peoples

2023 - Shortlisted


Judges' Comments

The First Scientists is a beautifully produced hard cover non-fiction book by Corey Tutt that outlines the deadly inventions and innovations of Australia’s First Peoples. The innovative contributions made by Indigenous people are from both ancient and modern times. From astronomy to engineering, chemistry to forensic science, bush medicine and more, many aspects of life and country are presented in an easy-to-read format. Tutt’s informative text is accompanied by vibrant colour illustrations by Blak Douglas. 

The book moves from traditional innovations such as fish traps and boomerangs, to modern Indigenous leaders making a difference in their chosen scientific field. The framing of many ‘unsung’, undocumented inventions and practices in relation to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) means that they are finally given their due. The result is a fascinating, eye-opening read.