Portal:Indigenous peoples of Australia

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Indigenous peoples of Australia - show another

There are several hundred Indigenous peoples of Australia; many are groupings that existed before the British colonisation of Australia in 1788. Within each country, people lived in clan groups: extended families defined by various forms of Australian Aboriginal kinship. Inter-clan contact was common, as was inter-country contact, but there were strict protocols around this contact.

The largest language group people today are the Anangu Pitjantjatjara who live in the area around Uluru (Ayers Rock) and south into the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia. The second largest Aboriginal community are the Arrernte people who live in and around Mparntwe (Alice Springs). The third largest are the Anangu Luritja, who live in the lands between the two largest just mentioned. The Aboriginal languages and dialects with the largest number of speakers today are the Pitjantjatjara, Warlpiri and Arrernte.

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The Aboriginal "Emu in the sky". In Western astronomy terms, the Southern Cross is on the right, and Scorpius on the left; the head of the emu is the Coalsack.

Australian Aboriginal astronomy is a name given to indigenous Australian culture relating to astronomical subjects – such as the Sun and Moon, the stars, planets, and the Milky Way, and their motions on the sky.

One of the earliest records of indigenous astronomy was made by William Edward Stanbridge, an Englishman who emigrated to Australia in 1841 and befriended the local Boorong people.

Some Aboriginal groups use the motions of celestial bodies for calendar purposes. Many attribute religious or mythological meanings to celestial bodies and phenomena. There is a diversity of astronomical traditions in Australia, each with its own particular expression of cosmology. However, there appear to be common themes and systems between the groups.

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Aboriginal millstone used for making flour

Bush bread, or seedcakes, refers to the bread made by Australian Aboriginals for many thousands of years, by crushing seeds into a dough, after which it is baked. The bread was high in protein and carbohydrate, and helped form part of a balanced traditional diet. Photo credit: Fir0002

Did you know... - show another

  • ...
    Min-min-light-sign-boulia-outback-queensland-australia.jpg
    that Indigenous Australians believe that the number of Min Min light sightings has increased with the number of Europeans venturing into the outback?
  • ... that traditionally, Aboriginal Tasmanians sourced ochre from sites throughout Tasmania, the most celebrated of which is Toolumbunner in the Gog Range in NW Tasmania?
  • ... that anyone may be invited to participate in Corroboree, although the songs and dances require a great deal of knowledge and skill to perform?
  • ...
    Part of the UNESCO listed Australian Indigenous Language collection held at AIATSIS.JPG
    that the AIATSIS holds over 6 million feet of film, 653,000 photographs, and 3,000 rare books relating to the oral and visual traditions and histories of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
  • ... that Wollumbin, the local Aboriginal name for Mount Warning, means "cloud-catcher" or "fighting chief of the mountains"?
  • ... that Indigenous Australian sandpainting is used to mark territory, record history, and tell stories about The Dreaming.
  • ...
    MtCoonowrin.jpg
    that Mount Coonowrin is the subject of a number of Aboriginal tales, and said to be the son of Tibrogargan and Beerwah?
  • ... that scarred trees are significant evidence of historical Aboriginal occupation, as scars remain in trees for over 200 years?
  • ... that until the 1967 Australian Referendum, Indigenous Australians were excluded from the census?

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