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

Corey Tutt and Blak Douglas

2023 Winner

cover image of the first scientists

Judges' Comments

The First Scientists is a beautifully produced hardcover non-fiction book by Corey Tutt, which 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. 

Original, unique, an illuminative read and an invaluable resource. You may have been taught that the first scientists were just hunter-gatherers, but in fact they were some of the greatest minds of their time. This book has the power to both enlighten and educate readers about the valuable contributions that Australia’s First Peoples have been making to our world for many thousands of years — and continue to make. It is a book that has the power to change mindsets. It is a book that should be read by everyone. 

Updated on 23 August 2023