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  Great Barrier Reef - Indigenous Australians - Culture


Australian Aborigines, culture dates back to more than 50,000 years. Aborigines have survived harsh desert conditions and have a detailed knowledge of the plants, animals and water sources available in the country.

To keep their folklore alive, the Aborigines re-tell their stories in songs, fables, dances and cave paintings.

Popular souvenirs are, boomerangs, canvas paintings, didgeridoos, woomeras and clothing depicting traditional murals.

It is generally thought that Aborigines have been living on the continent for the last 50,000 years, originally migrating from Indonesia. The oldest skeleton found in Australia was discovered at Lake Mungo in south-west New South Wales, is believed to be 38,000 years old, and bears traces of ceremonial ochre. This is thought to be the oldest sign of ochre use ever discovered.

Aboriginal children were taught from an early age that they belonged to the land and must respect tribal boundaries. Tribes returned to particular sites to bury their dead. Some areas were designated sacred sites because of their association with the Dreamtime, the time when the earth was formed and cycles of life and nature were initiated.

Aboriginal legends, songs and dances tell of powerful spirits who created the land and people during the Dreamtime. There is no written Aboriginal language and most of the 600 tribes spoke different dialects and languages. They rarely met except on ceremonial occasions. The tradition of the Dreamtime, however, was a unifying force and rock paintings depicting this creation period can be found dotted throughout the country.

Today, most Aborigines live in cities and towns or in isolated settlements near tribal lands. Few continue their nomadic ways. In recent years, white Australians have become more sensitive to the plight of Aborigines, resulting in increased health and educational services, greater recognition of Aboriginal land rights and a growing appreciation of Aboriginal culture. Specialised galleries such as Jama Dreaming at Palm Cove just north of Cairns display original Aboriginal art, tools, musical instruments and artefacts. These are highly valued and avidly sought by collectors all over the world.

For more aboriginal culture information Click Here 

You can see a wonderful recreation of Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime at Tjapukai Aboriginal theme park at Smithfield, (right next to Kuranda Skyrail). You will see spear throwing – even get involved and try your hand out at it. Boomerang displays and traditional aboriginal dancing.  

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