'A Million Wild Acres'

A Million Wild Acres: 200 years of man and an Australian forest is a non-fiction book written by Eric Charles Rolls (1923–2007). It was first published in Melbourne by Thomas Nelson in 1981.

A Million Wild Acres is not just a regional history of what is now known as the Pilliga forest, but also a history of European settlement in Australia.


  1. Explorers and Livestock: Setting up the Board
  2. The First Moves: A Difficult Game
  3. The Squatters: The Rules are Ignored
  4. Licences to Depasture Beyond the Limits: A New Game to New Rules
  5. Runholders and Selectors: The Rules are Modified
  6. The Forest Takes Over: The Game Ends
  7. The Breelong Blacks: A Sinister Comedy
  8. Timber and Scrub
  9. Timbergetters and Scrub Dwellers: A Different Game
  10. Mud Springs and Soda Plains
  11. Animal Life: Insects, Reptiles and Others
  12. Animal Life: The Mammals
  13. The Animals: The Birds
  14. Wood Chips and International Airports: A Businessmen's Game


The book won The Age Book of the Year (1981), C.J. Dennis Prize and Talking Book of the Year.

This will be seen as one of the great books about Australia. Eric Rolls gives the history of the forest the laconic power of an extended campfire yarn, spiced with the personal vision that comes from a lifetime of acute observation

— Historian, Professor Weston Bate

Notes and references[]


Watermark Literary Society https://web.archive.org/web/20110219162616/http://www.watermarkliterarysociety.asn.au/

Wyndham, Susan. Author Rolls dies aged 84 Sydney Morning Herald 02/11/2007 [1]

Hanley, Penelope. Creative lives: personal papers of Australian writers and artists

Mosman Readers: Eric Rolls - A Million Wild Acres 26/01/2009 [2]

Rolls later qualified[1] this book's debated[2][3] overall position on Australian tree densities and land clearing.[4]


  1. ^ Rolls, Eric (2000). "The end, or new beginning?". In Dovers, Stephen (ed.). Environmental history and policy: still settling Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. pp. 24–46. ISBN 9780195507492.
  2. ^ Benson, John S.; Redpath, P. A. (1997). "The nature of pre-European native vegetation in south-eastern Australia: a critique of Ryan, D.G., Ryan, J.R. & Starr (1995) 'The Australian Landscape – Observations of Explores and Early Settlers'". Cunninghamia. 5: 285–328.
  3. ^ Griffiths, Tom (2002). "How many trees make a forest? Cultural debates about vegetation change in Australia". Australian Journal of Botany. 50 (4): 375–389. doi:10.1071/BT01046. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  4. ^ Bowman, D.M.J.S. (2001). "Future eating and country keeping: what role has environmental history in the management of biodiversity?". Journal of Biogeography. 28 (5): 549–564. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2699.2001.00586.x. ISSN 1365-2699.

What lies beyond us? The literature of landscape http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/what-lies-beyond-us3f3a-the-litertaure-of-landscape/5853552