The Dark Emu Story


A thought provoking, revelatory and inspiring documentary telling the story of Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu – the publishing phenomenon that challenged Australia to rethink its history and ignited a raging debate.

The 2014 best-selling book makes explosive claims that First Nations people were not only hunters and gatherers but also farmers who were part of a complex economic system. Inspired by the journals of British explorers, Pascoe prosecutes the contentious argument that First Nations people settled in villages, devised extraordinary methods of aquaculture and astronomy and were the world’s first bakers. The author’s compelling narrative smashes the orthodoxy and turns the view of ‘traditional’ Aboriginal life on its head.

But Dark Emu ignited a fierce debate, sparking searing criticism. Academics and conservative commentators lined up to scorn Pascoe’s work and question the knowledge of the First Australians. Amidst the storm, a public war of words then swirled over the Aboriginality and identity of Pascoe himself.

Allan Clarke’s The Dark Emu Story, produced by Blackfella Films (First Australians, Redfern Now), delves deep into the controversy, enlightens our understanding of Australian history and provides a platform for First Nations peoples to share their story.


Bruce Pascoe
Release dates
17 June 2023 - World premiere at the Sydney Film Festival

In Gamilaraay, English, Wik-Mungkan and Wik-Ngathan, with English subtitles.

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Korff, J 2023, The Dark Emu Story, <>, retrieved 19 June 2024

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