The Aboriginal Australia
Indulge in Australia’s aboriginal experience
Australia being the only continent that is also a country in its own has a very rich culture and history that is evident with the Aboriginal people whose history spreads back tens of thousands of years. This history as told from yesterday’s generation dating back to many centuries ago to the present generation has a fascinating culture and history that would interest any curious tourist who wants to understand where Australia has come from and its present situation. It is not just a story buried in museums books but one can get a taste of their cuisines, their crafted artwork, music and myths.
Their history includes colonization, how the indigenous people suffered and toiled under the hands of the colonialist, with many killed, women were raped and the unfair and unjust allocation of resources. It is important that a country keep an account of its history as they say, “history repeats itself”. This awful history and painful experience that the indigenous people went through has given us a lot of insight into how the country has evolved to what it is today and it is our belief that such historical acts should never happen again. All this information is readily available at their National parks. One of such a national park is Kakadu National Park, which is Australia’s biggest national park.
There is certainly a lot for one to see besides just the history, one would be able to see the beautiful landscapes including the rainforest, the Aboriginal rock art, and iconic scenes of Uluru-Kata Tjuta, get to meet the original Aboriginal people of Bininj and Mungguy people and witness the migratory birds, which attracts many tourists. The things to see and experience are just to many and one needs to have a slice of the experience to fully comprehend why many tourists that have being there before keep coming back year after year.
The Aborigines of Australia have a unique and long surviving culture that goes back around 50 000 years. You can take pictures of the different Aboriginal experiences offered in the country.
Discover places that are leaking with Aboriginal past in the wonderful Northern territory. Take a visit to the Red Centre where you can take a walk at Uluru’s base while being guided by guide from the Anangu tribe.
At the Alice Springs have a quick browse of the art in display. The people from the Arrernte tribe have lived in this area for 20 000 good years. The wonderful rock art gallery based at the Kakadu National Park (listed in the World Heritage) will give you a chance to inform yourself of the Dreamtime myths.
Enjoy journeys that will definitely take you close to the oldest culture in the world. A drive on the Red Centre Way will lead you to the sacred venues in Uluru, Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta. Get to listen to creation stories from the Adnyamathanha around a camp fire after getting to the Flinders Ranges via the South Australian Loop. A drive along the Savannah Way will take you to the Aboriginal rock art places spawn across The Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland.
Discover how to connect with the Aboriginal world’s oldest living culture. Do this the same way that the Aboriginals have done it for around 50 000 years, by passing it down through music art, the land itself, myths and even dances. Get to enjoy contemporary dances in the city or take in the gifted Aboriginal art.
Alternatively you may head out to the Australian Outback and get to fall asleep over Dreamtime creation myths told around a camp fire. Go bushwalking, snorkelling or even learn to make spears and fish using traditional methods. If you let them, the Aborigines will help you understand the ancient land with its spirituality and wonders.
Aboriginal Culture - The Aborigine Culture of Australia
The Indigenous people of Australia, also known as the Aborigines, have a population of just over half a million and their indigenous languages are not related to any other continent. Most Aborigines live in the outback, but there are a large number that do live in the cities and suburbs. Tribal languages have declined over the years, since white European settlement, from about 650 to 200, and now only 20 are commonly in use today, with rest slowly dying out. The Aboriginal culture varies widely between different tribes, with only a few similarities.
The aborigines are the natives of Australia their name is Italian and actually means the original inhabitants. They are said to have migrated into Australia from areas around Asia some Thirty thousand years ago.
Before the Europeans arrived in Australia, the different clans of the Aborigines had diverse beliefs languages and customs which together contributed to the culture that has been passed down through the ages. They however had some common features. Most of them were gatherers as well as nomadic hunters. They would earn their living from where they resided.
There were about two hundred and fifty aboriginal languages. To these there were more than seven hundred dialects making them the most linguistically diverse people /society worldwide. Oral story telling was very common.
They had songs which would accompany most of the stories narrated to children especially at bed time. Their music was distinct and was accompanied by their musical instrument known as the Didgeridoo, a wind instrument made of bamboo. This five foot instrument would produce a low humming sound and were mostly used in ceremonies such as funerals and circumcision.
A lot about their culture is learnt from the rock paintings sculptures and other forms of art that were sold to earn them a living.
Social issues such as marriage were greatly dictated upon by the relation ship that any two clans had between them. All individuals were valued and were seen to have a role to play in making decision that would affect the society. The aboriginal culture is famed to be one of the best among ancient cultures. Its culture is marked with the use of unique art and story telling. The Aborigines had a culture that let them live in harmony with nature. Of course a deal of their culture changed with the coming of the settlers.
The Aborigines believe that the "First people" in Australia worked across the land, naming everything as they went. Through time stories have been passed on through oral tradition, of how things were created and named, this is known as the Dreamtime. Although stories between the different tribes differ, there are some common ones including Baiame, Bunjil and, my favourite the Rainbow Serpent.
Two things that are very distinctive of the Aborigine culture is the art and music. The use of the didgeridoo and the clapsticks in Aboriginal music has created its unique sound. The clapsticks offer the beat and the didgeridoo, where the player will breath in through his nose, out through his mouth and using his tongue and cheeks to vary the pitch, gives a breathy rhythm. These rhythms, along with the Dreamtime stories, are passed down through the generations. Although traditionally played in ceremonies by men, nowadays its also used for recreation and for tourists, when women can play it as well. The didgeridoos are often decorated with traditional paints and patterns; ones with no decoration may be made by white Australians.
The art of the Aborigine people tell the stories of the Dreamtime and use paints commonly made with ochre, to produce earthy colours. The style of indigenous paintings involve the use of dots, lines and intricate cross-hatching. These styles are used on rocks, bark, musical instruments and even for body painting. Other types of indigenous art includes rock engraving, stone arrangements, sculpture and weaving.
The Aboriginal stories, art, music and culture are interesting and unique to Australia; when traveling throughout Australian outback, take some time to learn about the Aboriginal culture, and even try playing the didgeridoo yourself.
Must See Places in the Outback
Despite the vast distances and low population of the Australian outback, there is a great amount to do and see. No matter if you are travelling by road, train, air or even horseback, there are a lot of places to see. The main 'must do' outback journey is to the Australian centre, Alice Springs where, just down the road, is Uluru, also know as Ayres Rock. This is an iconic image of Australia; a sandstone rock that stands about 348 metres high, and just under 10 kilometres in circumference. The Indigenous people of the area, the Anangu, provide tours around the rock, talking about the wildlife and fauna that the rock is home to and local bush foods and Dreamtime stories. While your there you should also see Ulura, Kata Tjuta, which is about 25 kilometres away.
From here, you can travel north, by road, plane or train, to Darwin via Kathrine George and see the beautiful Kakadu National Park and a few of those big saltwater crocodiles. East of here will take you to Outback Queensland where you can see Mount Isa, a large mining town of silver, lead, copper and zinc and Birdsville. West of Darwin will take you to Western Australia, were you should see the Kimberly Ranges, another great National Park of Australia and the town Broome. Keep heading south from Broome and you will eventually reach Kalgoolie, another mining town. South west of here will take you to Adelaide and the underground town of Cooper Pedy.
Other then this route, briefly described above, there are historical stock routes that were once used by drovers who moved their cattle from one place to the next to find feed in times of drought. Although not used much these days in their traditional sense, many people follow the tracks by car or four-wheel drive. These tracks include the Oonadatta track, Birdsvill Track and Canning Stock Route, to just name a few. Also, if you do want to experience the outback at its best, there are some companies that provide horseback tours, where you go along with the drovers, moving cattle from one place to the next. Although this is a historical and old-fashioned practice, the facilities provided by the companies are not.
A visit to Australia would not be complete without an encounter with its uniquely complex and ancient indigenous culture. Historians claim that indigenous people have lived on the continent for at least 50,000 years, with many now believing this figure to be an underestimation. Modern Australian culture has been shaped by the influence of indigenous art, music, dance, food and spirituality, particularly in relation to the profound connection between these people to the ancient landscape and the spirituality of the Dreaming.
A visit to Kakadu, Darwin, Uluru, Kings Canyon, Finke Gorge National Park, the MacDonnell Ranges, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, the Kimberly, the Simpson Desert, the Kimberly, the Daintree, Coorong or Gippsland will help you get in touch with the past and present of this important piece of the Australian identity. This is only a starting point – if you stop to look closer and investigate any national park or town centre in Australia, you will find a story, an artwork or an individual connecting it to the indigenous culture. What you will find will both fascinate and move you.
Places Rich with Australia’s Aboriginal Heritage
Uluru and surrounds, Northern Territory
One of the most iconic sights in Australia is the mighty red rock Uluru (formally known as Ayers Rock). This breathtaking natural wonder is 348 metres high and is known to change colour as the sun moves over the landscape – an ideal opportunity for budding photographers.
The rock is connected beneath the earth to nearby Kata Tjuta, a similar red dome about 40 kilometres away that has been shaped by millions of years of wind and water erosion. Both sites are extremely culturally and spiritually significant to the local Aboriginal Anangu community and are best appreciated with a walk around their bases with an Indigenous guided tour. Alternatively a motorcycle ride, camel trek or scenic flight will give you a sense of the scale of these mighty rocks. Accommodation in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park varies from camping sites to luxurious five-star resorts.
The eerie silence of this expansive landscape will help you appreciate the strong spiritual connection between the local people and this red giant, which, according to ancient mythology, was formed by ancestral Dreamtime spirits.
The Gippsland region varies greatly in scenery – from rainforests, to farmland, to snowfields, to beaches and towns. There are several tranquil waterways in Gippsland offering a variety of activities such as dolphin watching cruises, sailing and fishing in the Tambo, Mitchell and Nicholson rivers. The Croajingalong National Park is a worth a visit to bushwalk through the coastal forests and windswept hills, fish in the estuaries and camp overnight under the stars.
Wilsons Promontory National Park is the traditional home for several indigenous groups, who originally knew the area as Yiruk or Wamoom. With a diverse natural landscape and abundance of wildlife, the area was ideal for supporting these traditional owners (evidence of human habitation goes back as far as 18,000 years). Visitors to the town of Bairnsdale can learn about the traditional indigenous crafts of basket weaving, spear making and canoe building as well as the unique ancient Dreamtime stories of the area
Coorong South Australia
The coastal wetlands known as the Coorong are a complex system of waterways, lagoons, beaches and the estuary of the Murray River, resulting in a rich ecosystem of both salt and freshwater plants and wildlife. This pristine area can be appreciated from the water either in a kayak or a canoe, on foot along the vast sand dunes, from the vantage point of a wildlife observation site or from an overnight camping trip. A local Ngarrindjeri guide can offer insightful knowledge on traditional bush tucker, natural medicines and significant indigenous historical sites.
Kimberly Western Australia
The Kimberly region is an area of contrast – from sparkling coastline, to rugged bushland, to vast gorges and waterfalls – it is a wilderness that is largely unspoilt by modern development and a snapshot into another side of the Australian outdoors.
The seaside town of Broome enjoys perfect weather for most of the year, and is home to an eclectic art and multicultural scene. The picturesque Cable Beach is the ideal location to watch a stunning Western Australia sunset. Inland, the Bungle Bungle Range in the World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park is a bizarre expanse of huge rocky domes that are best appreciated from the perspective of a scenic flight. On foot, the famous Cathedral Gorge walk leads to a naturally sheltered amphitheatre with rocky ledges for sitting and absorbing the eerie atmosphere and echoing acoustics. Other picturesque walks include the Domes Walk, Piccaninny Creek Walk and the Echidna Chasm.
Some of Australia’s most striking indigenous rock art can be found in the Kimberly Region, including sites at Keep River, the Cockburn Range and throughout the Bungle Bungles. Several tour operators do take groups to some of the more remote ancient rock art sites, whereas modern indigenous works may be viewed and purchased from several art centres around the region in locations such as Fitzroy Crossing, Derby and Kununurra. Many of these art centres are run by the Kimberly Aboriginal Artists alliance, ensuring the work is ethically created, bought and sold.
The Simpson Desert
The Simpson Desert, Northern Territory, South Australia.
The dry expanse of Australia can really be understood with a trip to the Simpson Desert, which occupies about 200,000 square kilometers of the continent. Many attractions are located on the edges, and are an easy distance from Alice Springs. This includes locations that are perfect for four-wheel driving, camping and hiking, although it is important to note that the park is closed during December, January and February due to the intense summer heat.
A short trip off Explorers Way (the Stuart Highway) in the James Ranges is Rainbow Valley, a stunning rocky landscape of sandstone cliffs and bluffs best seen in the setting sun. The Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve protects several sites of sacred rock art created by the Arrente people. Visitors can come and explore these beautiful samples of early indigenous art, as well as enjoy hiking and picnicking in the reserve. Further down Explorers Way is Chambers Pillar, a large sandstone rock formation with 19th Century markings by European explorers.
The town of Alice Springs is located in the heart of the outback, the perfect base for an adventure to Northern Territory highlights such as the Simpsons Gap, The Simpson Desert and the Macdonnell Ranges, where visitors can four-wheel drive, ride a camel or bushwalk. The fascinating past of this colourful town can be appreciated at its array of heritage sites, galleries and museums. A unique historical highlight in Alice Springs is the famous Royal Flying Doctor Service, the first of its kind in the world, created in response to the need for medical access in remote areas. The Alice Springs Telegraph Station once connected Alice Springs to the outside world and this historic site still marks where the town began.
The town is located close to the Tanami Track and the small Aboriginal communities of St Teresa and Titjikala, each offering visitors a rich array of indigenous artworks, artefacts and sacred ceremonial sites of the local Arrernte people. Both contemporary and traditional indigenous paintings can be viewed and purchased in the many galleries along the Todd Mall, such as the Albert Namatjira Gallery, or at the Desert Mob Festival from August to September The Strehlow Research Centre in the Araluen Cultural Precinct of town houses a large collection of ethnographic indigenous artefacts, many of which can be viewed at several public display galleries in the precinct.
The MacDonnell Ranges sprawl for hundreds of kilometres across the Northern Territory, inspiring the ancient mythology of the Arrernte people who believe the slender alignment of the mountains was formed by giant caterpillars. The western portion of the MacDonnell Ranges is within an easy distance of Alice Springs, and the rugged landscape of rocky chasms and sharp cliff-faces is a uniquely Australian sight. Visitors to Simpsons Gap can wander beneath majestic ghost gums lining deep waterholes, and even catch a glimpse of the elusive rock wallaby hopping through the rocky crevices.
It is worth enduring the midday heat for a walk to the steep Standley Chasm, which famously blazes in red tones under the overhead sun. Another highlight is the 20 kilometre-wide crater at Gosse Bluff (or ‘Tnorala’ to the indigenous people) formed by a comet crashing to Earth millions of years ago. If the scorching heat gets too unbearable, a dip in one of the many red-gum lined waterholes across the ranges is a good way to cool off - for instance at Ellery Creek Big Hole, Glen Helen Gorge, Redbank Gorge or Ormiston George.
Though not as famous as the West McDonnell Ranges, the East McDonnell Ranges still offers many unique experiences and sights to visitors, for instance the ghost town of Arltunga – an abandoned settlement from the gold-rush in the 1930’s. Another highlight is the picturesque Trephina Gorge, where you can bushwalk, camp and four-wheel drive.
Tennant Creek allows visitors to step back in time to the early 20th Century and appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the gold rush in Australia. At the Battery Hill Mining Centre, activities such as gold panning and underground mine tours will give you a first-hand experience of this fascinating past.
A must-see is the Telegraph Station, which in 1872 sprawled from Adelaide to Darwin and beyond with 3600 kilometres of overland cables. The station was once a rest-stop for weary travellers passing through the area until the 1930’s. South of Tennant Creek is the eerie boulders known as the Devils Marbles - a visit to the Nyinkka Nyunyu Culture Centre is a good opportunity to learn about the cultural and spiritual significance of the boulders to the local Warumungu community. Other highlights surrounding Tennant Creek include the small Aboriginal village Ti Tree and Australia’s UFO capital Wycliffe Well.