Australian Aboriginal People


Australian Aboriginal people have the world's oldest continuous culture.


There are different theories but they are though to have arrived in Australia from south-eastern Asia some time between 60,000 and 35,000 years ago. Below is some information about Australian Aboriginal food, Aboriginal art history, hunting, tribes, Aboriginal stolen generation and Aboriginal religion and mythology.





Aboriginal Man Pointing to Rock Art Talks to Researcher
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Different Tribes and Aboriginal Clothing
Aboriginal people are far from the same people. Australia is a large country with different climate, vegetation and animals, so depending on where in Australia they lived, they had very different culture and lifestyle. There were hundreds of different communities scattered around Australian countryside, they wore different clothing depending on the climate, and they spoke at least 250 different languages.

The northern tribes for example, like Tiwi people had much more contact with Indonesians than had the isolated outback tribes, or south-eastern tribes like Koorie people, and their culture was very different. In colder climate like Tasmania, they’d build semi-permanent villages, while in dry climate like inland Australia they’d have to be nomadic to find the food.

Two Aboriginal Men Survey their Ancestral Land
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Aboriginal Religion and Spirituality
But despite all the differences, Aboriginal people also had common believes. They all trace their origins back to Dreamtime, and believe that their ancestors with supernatural powers roamed the country and left behind impressive rock formations and other natural phenomena which became sacred places for religious celebrations and spiritual activities. Depending on where they lived, each community had their own Dreamtime story connected to their local landscape features. They also used different body paintings during the spiritual celebrations, depending on the local mythology.

Aboriginal Dance, Australia
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Aboriginal Hunting and Weapons
Within each community they lived in family groups called clans. Kinship was the main principle in their society. The land was owned by the family group and they lived on hunting and gathering. Men killed larger animals using weapons like spears and boomerangs, and women collected smaller animals and plants. If you visit some of their cultural parks, they show you how to throw a boomerang.

An Aborigine Hafts a Quartzite Spearpoint to a Wooden Shaft with Waxed String
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Australian Aboriginal Food

Australian Aboriginal food was very healthy. They were very clever at spearing dugongs and catching turtles, and they had learned to drug waterholes where emus came to drink. They also had an incredible knowledge about Australian plants that are often poisonous, and what they couldn't eat they turned into bush medicine.

Young Aboriginal Boy with Shovel Nose Fish, Aurukun, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia
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Aboriginal Art and Mythology
They were very creative people (and still are) and expressed their everyday life and religion in arts, song and dance. Their spiritual songs often tell about Dreamtime's ancestors and are accompanied by their famous musical instrument, the Aboriginal didgeridoo. They use the dance to communicate with their ancestors, and often their dance presents how Australian animals move, like hopping kangaroos and crawling turtles. Their art history also includes some excellent examples on rocks and in the many caves in Australia. Like the songs and dance, the rock paintings reflect their religion and everyday life, and today you can see all kinds of paintings in Australia, like Aboriginal animal art, dot paintings, and paintings on Aboriginal weapons.

Australian Aboriginal Rock Art on a Rock in Kakadu National Park
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Aboriginal Stolen Generation
When the early Englishmen arrived in Australia, the Aboriginal culture was too complex for them to understand. They concluded that with no permanent houses or land development, Australian Aboriginal people were primitive and had no right to their land. Australia was free to be used as a convict colony.

Aboriginal people were driven out of their land by force, and it was legal to kill them so whole clans were wiped out. In the early 1900s, new laws imposed restrictions on the rights of Aboriginal people to own property and seek employment, and allowed all states to remove children from their mothers if the father was suspected to be white. The kids were grown up in foster homes and are today called the Aboriginal stolen generation.

Aborigine Woman Digging for Wichetty Grubs, Northern Territory, Australia
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Australian Aboriginal People Today
Australian Aboriginal people granted the right to vote in 1972 and they are now the “traditional owners” of the land they used to own. John Howard never said more than he had to, but the following PM, Kevin Rudd, was the first one to properly apologise, bringing out a lot of emotions – which shows how much a “sorry” was needed. Some simple-minded white Australians still have bias, but generally the attitudes (and laws) have changed. Australia is today proud of its indigenous people who have the oldest continuous culture in the world.

Three Aborigines Playing Musical Instruments, Northern Territory, Australia
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Australian Aboriginal Culture Tours
Australian Aboriginal people still sometimes seem to have it harder than the rest of the population when it comes to things like employment, health and education, but the growing awareness about their culture and traditions is gradually leading towards a harmonic coexistence. And even though you don’t see many Australian Aboriginal people working in banks, offices or supermarkets, driving buses or delivering mail – a lot of them make a living out of selling their art or participating in tourism industry, and in the outback Aboriginal guides take you for a tour to their country and explain their culture – it’s very interesting.







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The man can hunt not the children or the womens. so the man throw a spear, boomerang or other tools to catch the type of animal. But they do not …

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