The Aborigines come from many different parts of Australia. However, most of them originate from North/ East Asutralia. Depending on where in Autralia the Aboriginals are located the physical features and biome vary. If they are located towards North it is very tropical but if they are located East it is more grassland and subtropical. Some Aboriginies are also located in the desert areas which are located in the center of Australia.

  • Climate Map of:
  • Australia-climate-map_MJC01.png

  • Physical Features Map of Australia:

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Time Line of Inportant Events:

  • 65,000 B.C- The Aboriginies first started to live on Australian land.
  • 1616 A.D- The indigenous Australians had first contact with a European.
  • 1788 A.D- The British count 750,000 aborigines and want to take over there land; The two cultures clash.
  • 1829 A.D- The Aboriginal welfare was the direct responsibility of the Colonial Secretary.
  • 1840 A.D- The Colonial government issues a law that no aboriginies are alound into any towns.
  • 1903 A.D- Rottnest Island prison for the Aboriginies was closed.
  • 1964 A.D- The Aborigines were given the right to vote


The aborigines have a self – government. The self – government agreements allow the aborigines to have control with their internal affairs and have control over greater things within their communities. Self-government agreements contain: the right of Aboriginal governments to have their own law-making powers, financial arrangements and responsibilities for providing programs and services to their members.Because Aboriginal groups have different needs, negotiations will not result in one type of self-government. Self-government arrangements may take many forms based on the diverse historical, cultural, political and economic circumstances of the Aboriginal groups, regions and communities involved.
In 1962 aborigines were given the right to vote by the Federal Government.


· Although the Aborigines that live the traditional way is not as large a group as it used to be before the modern society happened it is still a very unique and fascinating indigenous culture. The reason that they are not as traditional as they used to be is because a lot of the tribes agreed on trying to fit in with modern society whilst others stayed the same.
· The economy type of the aborigines is hunters/gatherers. The Aborigines are very intelligent when is comes to finding the food or water sources that they need. They know which plants or trees give them liquids and know how to access water in extremely dry areas; an example of this is that they would follow a specific breed of animal and it would lead them to a water hole, pond or other.
· The Aborigines do not have agriculture; meaning that they do not farm or plant anything but just take what nature gives them. The Aborigines are very independent unless they are around another aboriginal group, so they do not have any trade either. The different Aboriginal groups do not trade but if a group asked or needed help the other would of course help.
· When it comes to shelter the Aborigines live in little huts they make out of leaves and logs. Their clothing is nothing special they barley wore any, the Aborigines would wear a lot of paint and they have some bottoms made out of animal skin.
· The food that the Aborigines eat is any animals and fruit that they might come across depending on wehe they are located in Australia (desert, or tropical).


The aborigines live in different communities called tribes or groups. In these groups they share a sense of community, speak the same language, have a recognized territory and have common customs. The maps of aboriginal groups are not always clear because territorial boundaries were not always officially established. Because of this some groups shared the same hunting / gathering grounds, ceremonial sites and camping areas. Often close groups come together to perform ceremonies because they have similar ways of performing it.
There are many different types of social structures within the aboriginal tribes. Here are the main ones:

  • Physical structure
  • Religious structure
  • Kinship system
The aborigines are Hierarchal.

Belief Systems

· One thing that is a strong belief to the Aborigines is their land. This is because the Aboriginal land is passed down from previous generation so that different tribes would stay in the same location for hundreds of years. The Aboriginals also believe that their ancestors stay on the land and that there are spirits always surrounding them. This is generally considered a good thing.
· The Aboriginals also believe that when someone died, it could have been because of someone else’s magic which they used to kill someone. Then for the Aboriginals to find this person they would think back to someone that was maybe jealous of the dead person and then come to an agreement of how to punish them.
· Spirits: The Aboriginals believe that their world is surrounded by spirits, some good and others bad. They believe that once you died it would be the end of your physical life but that your spirit would then be freed from the body and wait above the skies to re-enter a human body.
· Magic doctors are a important member of Aboriginal tribes. Magic doctors have several jobs such as making it rain (or making it stop), finding cures to sicknesses, finding causes of death and predicting the future. It was said that if a person gets sick a bad spirit enters their body. The way the doctors removed it was to rub or suck the infected part of the body.
· The Aboriginals have daily pleasures auch as having a gathering each day; at these gatherings they dance and listen to music. The music that they listen to is made with a didjeridu, drums (made from wood and animal skin) and them selves; they do this by slapping their legs to a specific rhythm. They also have ceremonies to value the good spirits. The tribes do not believe in any gods; only very few did.


Aborigines have to hunt and search for their food. The food they find depends on where they live and what the season is. In brush areas the most common foods are berries, roots, nectars, etc. However, around the more coastal areas shellfish and fish are the more common source of food for the aborigines. It also depends a great deal on the season. Some plants don’t survive during winter so the aborigines have to hunt and search for food that is around during that time of the year.

Aboriginal culture contains many ceremonial performances. Ceremonies werea way for the aborigines to connect to the spirit world. These performances are filled with music, dance, decorating of the body, ´sculptures and paintings. The dances tell the stories of historical and ancestral heroes, family links and clan rights are passed down from one generation to the next, as well as songs with their history. There are also songs for healing, injuring the enemy, bringing rain, stopping floods, and causing wind to turn to a different direction. The aborigines celebrate and have ceremonies to bring elders and the young together by making their culture and traditions come alive. Some of these festivals are more traditional but others are more modern fusions of dance and music which attracts non indigenous people to watch. An example of one of these festivals is called The Dreaming.

The aboriginal everyday life is very nomadic. They move around a lot for food, water, shelter, etc. The aborigines know what food will be plentiful in what season and where it will be located. They also know what type of shelter to build in each season and what clothes to wear. Originally aborigines don’t wear any or much clothes. The men usually wear girdles and the women wear aprons. The aborigines especially care about body decorations such as: headpieces, necklaces, bracelets, armbands, etc. Most of these body decorations are worn during ceremonies/festivals.

Rites of passage are very important for aborigines. Boys are initiated into men at around the age when puberty starts. These boys are given a series of tests and ordeals through a series of ceremonies to test their mental and physical strength that are in preparation for adult responsibilities. Girls are also initiated into becoming women too but the process is much less intense. Themarking of some sort to prove that they are women and then are sent off to different clans to be married and carry on their lives as women in the tribe. girls get a physical

Science and Technology

The aborigines originated about 40,000 years ago. Around this time they did not have machines to make metal tools or anything to cook their food. Their only means of attaining food was from nature a.k.a. hunting / gathering because they did not know how to farm or tame animals. The women in the tribe picked berries, seeds, fruits, vegetables and the men hunted different animals such as kangaroos, emus and snakes.

The aborigines used many different tools that they had made. They use these things to make shelters, hunt for food, protect themselves and in ceremonies. These tools were made by materials found in the surrounding environment and trading amongst tribes and groups. Some common tools for the aborigines are:

o spears for killing animals and for protection
o boomerangs for killing birds and for sports
o shields for protection and for use in ceremonies
o spearheads, hatchets, knives, clubs, spear throwers called woomeras
o made of: plant fibers, shells, wood, stone and bone

Art and Architecture

  • The Aboriginals have very interesting paintings called ‘Dot Paintings’ they are called this because out in the wild they do not have any paint brushes so they take a branch then make “paint” using colourings from the nature around them, then start dotting on some bark. This is normally done to tell a story or pass useful information down through generations. Since the Aboriginals do not have an alphabet they use pictures.
  • The aborigines invented a well known instrument that the whole world knows of; the didjeridu. It is a long pipe made from bamboo or a eucalyptus branch. Normally only the northern tribes have them. It takes great talents to play one of these instruments. One has to be able to hold their breath for extremely long periods of time and has to be able to do more than two tones on the didjeridu.


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By: Anna Mueller and Kimberly Puckett


Australian Aborigines: by Madeleine Jones

Where they live (can scroll arround picture):

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(Google Images)

a) Timeline of Main Events

The time of first inhabitation of aboriginies in Australia is uncertain although Mungo Man, the earliest human remains found in a dry lake bed in New South Wales, Australia, has been dated at 40,000. The aboriginies were hunter gatherers.

Ca. 18,000 years ago: first signs of farming found, some inland tribes harvested seeds in the grass lands area of Australia.

13,000 years ago: land bridge between mainland Australia and Tasmania floods due to melting glaciers, isolating the Tasmanian aborigines from the mainland.

8,000 years ago: Torres Straight Islands are formed as land bridge between Australia and New Guinea is flooded.

400 years ago: the age of some bone tools found in Victoria.

26 Jan. 1788: Australia was colonised by the British and the land, which the British regarded as 'terra nullius' or 'land belonging to no one' was given to various white people in the colony. This established contact between the white colonials and the aboriginal people.

1789: small pox and other diseases kill approximately half of the Sydney aboriginal people who have no immunity to the European disease.

1790: the resistance by the aboriginies against the white people taking over their land begins by stealing crops, killing farm stock, setting fire to property and in Tasmania, stockpiling and using guns.

1868: All Aboriginal Cricket Team travels to England for first time.

1909: the Aboriginal Protection Act was formed by the Australian Parliament to allow the Aborigines Protection Board to take aboriginal children away from their families. This was in the belief that the aboriginal children would be better off being brought up in a white family.

1937: the First Native Welfare Conference Policy of Assimilation is made to say that aboriginal people and white Australians are equal.

1962: all aborigines are allowed to vote in the Commonwealth elections.

1967: a referendum was held and 91% of Australians voted to include aborigines in the census and to allow the Commonwealth to make laws for the aborigines.

1971: aboriginal flag is designed and flown for the first time.

13 Feb. 2008: government apologises to the “stolen generation”, the aborigines who were taken from their families by the government.

Biome: an ecosystem containing specific climate and species of plants, animals etc. For example: desert, forest. (define: biome - Google Search)

Fauna: the animals in a certain place (define: fauna - Google Search)

b) Government: I think that the type of government in aboriginal society is consultative. The leaders are called elders. Elders are in charge of public wrongs or private matters that cannot be settled privately. The elders act as teachers, police and judges. A serious matter like the breaching of sacred aboriginal law is also dealt with by the elders. Elders are mainly male but sometimes female. Elders are revered for their wisdom. Elders are the ones who know the most about religious and ceremonial matters and are not considered elders just because they are old people in the community. Elders also decide the punishment handed to those who have broken their law. The elders met to consider cases as an informal council. Some elders, who are considered particularly wise, may have more influence but I believe from my research that the government type was consultative.

c) Economy: In traditional aboriginal society in non-city areas, especially remote areas, the aboriginal people are hunter gatherers. Aborigines living in the urban environment can have “normal” modern jobs like the rest of the population. Some, like the ones in Uluru in Central Australia (formerly known as Ayers Rock), receive money from tourism and due to the natural resources under the ground throughout Australia, some aboriginal societies who have had their land returned to them, rent their land for mining as well. Fifty four percent of Australian aborigines between the ages of 15-64 were employed in 2008. Aborigines were semi-nomadic hunter gatherers before colonisation. In fact, some still live like that today especially those in the remote and harsh climate areas of inland Australia. As semi-nomadic people, trade was an important part of their lifestyle as they travelled, for example, coastal tribes could trade seafood with inland tribes.

d) Society: Aboriginal society is hierarchical because the elders make the laws and are also teachers which mean they are the leaders. Below the elders are the men and young men and the women and children are usually the lowest social class, although some older women are elders. Each tribe was made up of a number of clans and the clans were usually extended family. Each clan lived independently, but were answerable to the tribal elders. Being an elder was not a status one was born into, but one that one earned with years and with wisdom and could come from any clan.

e) Belief system: According to the 1996 Australian census, almost 72% of aborigines are Christian. However, the traditional religion is based around the Dream Time. The Dream Time is the spirit world and is how the world was created by the aboriginal ancestors and is an oral history, told from one generation to the next. It can also be represented in various forms of painting and dance. The aboriginies believe their ancestors are part of the land and that the land owns them, not the other way around. There is no intermediary between the ancestral spirits and aboriginies. Festivals and rites ceremonies are called corroborees and can be both social and/or spiritual.

f) Customs: Initiation ceremonies for both boys and girls occur between the ages of 10 and 16 depending on the tradition of the tribe. Only children who have proved they are responsible enough, both mentally and physically, are initiated into adulthood. Sometimes the ceremonies include removing a tooth or cutting the body. Special information is given to the young adult during the ceremony to help them into adult life.
Some aboriginal foods include the yam, witchetty grubs – which are large white meaty grubs boring into the branches of trees, kangaroo, lizards, snakes, goannas, small birds, vegetables, fruit and seeds. .
Everyday life was centred around food. The men would go out hunting as a group with spears and axes while the women and children stayed behind in the camp. The women would dig for root vegetables and would do all the cooking once the men returned with a catch. Mostly, being semi-nomadic, camps were set up beside rivers or dams for access to water.
Corroborees were the tribal festival dances and often contained stories from the Dream Time. Some corroborees were for initiation ceremonies and some were men only, and some were women only. The women only ceremonies were called ‘secret women’s business’.

g) Science and technologies: The technologies that were developed in the coastal tribes were to use fishbone at the point of their weapons while desert tribes use stone tips. All aborigines (that aren’t urbanised), no matter what location, have stone knives, scrapers, stone axe-heads, spears, containers for food and drink made from natural materials such as carved out wood, and digging sticks. They also usde fish traps in rivers and were the first to grind the edges of cutting tools and they invented the boomerang. They also invented the Woomera, a spear thrower that acts as an extension of the arm, there for throwing the spear further. There was very little scientific knowledge as we know it in the modern world, but they had, and have, an intimate knowledge of the science of the land of their tribe including the animals, the plants, the rivers the rocks and the deserts. It was this knowledge that allowed them to live for many thousands of years without the modern conveniences we live with. They had ability to make fire and they could make stone tools and they understood aerodynamics in the way they made the boomerang and the Woomera.

h) Art and architecture: The traditional aboriginal culture was semi-nomadic. Each tribe had a designated tribal area and each clan within the tribe lived a semi-nomadic life within that tribal area. Some even lived in organised villages and were found to have been eel farming in artificial rivers. The houses in this particular village arrangement were made from stone, but this is very unusual as most traditional housing was made from found natural and temporary materials such as branches covered by woven leaves and huge layers of bark from trees. Some camps had no buildings at all and the aboriginals just slept surrounded by fires to keep warm and to keep away animals and mosquitoes. Some common traditional aboriginal musical instruments are the didgeridoo, a hollowed out narrow log or branch and clapping sticks which are short, decorated solid pieces of wood are. There is also a ‘bull-roarer’ which is a small rectangular piece of wood tied to a piece of string or vine which is twirled around the musician’s head to produce a pulsating beat. In modern times, aboriginal music has also mixed with rock and roll, hip hop and reggae. There is also a branch of music called aboriginal rock. Art: the traditional art is thousands of years old. Some types of traditional art are rock art which is where large flat rock platforms have carved figures and animals on them and cave paintings which show animals and ceremonies painted in natural plant pigments and soil colours and bark painting with paint made from ochre. Traditionally, aborigines painted stories from their Dream Time but they also painted the land and animals and plants they saw around them. The carvings and painting recorded their surroundings and the clans who had been there and were like their books. Modern aborigines continue the traditional way of painting but with modern materials. Aboriginal painting is the most
internationally recognised form of Australian art.


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