First Knowledges Design

Building on Country


The First Knowledges series offers an introduction to Indigenous knowledges in vital areas and their application to the present day and the future. Exploring practices such as architecture and design, land management, botany, astronomy and law, this six-book series brings together two very different ways of understanding the natural world: one ancient, the other modern. The second book focuses on design.


ISBN: 9781760761400 Category:

Alison Page, Paul Memmott


Aboriginal design is of a distinctly cultural nature, based in the Dreaming and in ancient practices grounded in Country. It is visible in the aerodynamic boomerang, the ingenious design of fish traps and the precise layouts of community settlements that strengthen social cohesion.

Alison Page and Paul Memmott show how these design principles of sophisticated function, sustainability and storytelling, refined over many millennia, are now being applied to contemporary practices. Design: Building on Country issues a challenge for a new Australian design ethos, one that truly responds to the essence of Country and its people.

About the series: Each book is a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers and editors; the series is edited by Margo Neale, senior Indigenous curator at the National Museum of Australia.

Other titles in the series include: Songlines by Margo Neale & Lynne Kelly (2020); Country by Bill Gammage & Bruce Pascoe (2021); Plants by Zena Cumpston, Michael Fletcher & Lesley Head (2022); Astronomy (2022); Law (2023).

*Ebook available through all major etailers*

Additional information

Weight 232 g
Dimensions 13.1 x 19.7 cm
Publisher name Thames & Hudson Australia Pty Ltd
Publication date 27 April 2021
Number of pages 240
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Edited by Margo Neale
Dimensions 13.1 x 19.7 cm
Weight 232 g

Alison Page is a Walbanga and Wadi Wadi woman from Tharawal and Yuin nations. She is an award winning designer, artist and film producer whose career links Indigenous stories and traditional knowledge with contemporary design. She is Associate Dean at the University of Technology, Sydney's Design Architecture and Building Faculty.

Paul Memmott is a descendant of Scottish potters and painters. He has had a 50-year life experience and career working as an architect, anthropologist and agent for change with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. He is a transdisciplinary researcher based at University of Queensland, recognising the need to join with Indigenous communities and organisations to bring transformative approaches to improving quality of lifestyle and wellbeing in the face of longitudinal disadvantage and the endeavour for self-determination. One of his books, Gunyah, Goondie + Wurley: The Aboriginal Architecture of Australia, won three national book awards.