Delve deeper into Australian history with some incredible facts about the Indigenous Aboriginal culture and where you go in Australia for an authentic cultural experience.
The world’s oldest living civilisation
Archaeological evidence has proven that the Aboriginal culture dates back an incredible 65, 000 years and remains to be the oldest continuing civilisation in the world. Indigenous Australians now make up approximately 3.5 % of the population or more than 800,000 people and 50% are under the age of 25 years old (Australian Bureau of Statistics and World Vision 2019).
There are over 250 languages collectively spoken
The Aboriginal culture is made up of thousands of distinct nations all of which have their own beliefs, culture and language. It is estimated there is at least 250 dialects currently spoken in Australia. The English language has even borrowed some words from the language including: billabong, barramundi, kangaroo, quoll, yowie, bilby and several place names including the nation’s capital- Canberra.
The Dreamtime encompasses the spiritual beliefs, the story of creation and dictates ancestral law for Aboriginal Australians. Through knowledge passed down by generations, the dreamtime reveals that spirits created the mountains, rivers, steams, plants and animals and is core to their existence.
Made from tree trunks that have been hollowed by out by termites, Didgeridoos are among the oldest musical instruments in the world producing mesmerising low frequency sound that reflect their surroundings. The didgeridoo is also one of the most difficult to learn requiring circular breathing but if mastered correctly is beautiful to listen to and some can even imitate the sounds of animals.
The Boomerang is a cultural symbol of Australia with origins tracing back at least 20, 0000 years. There are many uses for the boomerang but the most common was for hunting purposes, making fires or digging and clearing the ground. Much like the didgeridoo, boomerangs have become mass produced souvenirs. Don’t get caught out, if you are planning on buying these as a gift then check the authenticity to ensure they have been made by Aboriginal communities.
The Aboriginal Flag
The Australian Aboriginal Flag was designed by Harold Thomas with deep symbolism. The black represent the Aboriginal culture and population of Australia while the yellow represents the sun and finally, the red is the earth and the spiritual connection that the Aboriginal people have to the land.
The earliest form of Aboriginal art can be found in various rock paintings located around Australia including the famous Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Art is a form of storytelling and documenting history. Modern Aboriginal art can now also be found in major art galleries around Australia.
As told in the Dreamtime, the Aboriginal people are connected to the land and consider many sites sacred because their ancestors travelled across the country forming the landscape. One of the most famous sacred sites in Australia is Uluru in the Northern Territory.
From the Northern Territory to North Queensland there are many authentic cultural experiences that cross the breadth of Australia. Learn more about the world’s oldest living culture when you visit Alice Springs and Uluru, Arnhem Land near Darwin or travel to Cairns and pay a visit to the Tjapuakai Aboriginal Cultural Park and watch first hand as traditional elders show you how to throw a spear, boomerang play a didgeridoo and perform a traditional dance retelling the stories of the dreamtime.