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
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
Aboriginal theme park at Smithfield, (right next to