Indigenous Australians must be involved in research around provenance and country. Here, representatives of the Willandra Aboriginal Elders visit the Griffith University ancient DNA laboratory.
Museums around the world hold remains of Aboriginal people that were often taken without permission and in the absence of accurate records. New DNA methods may help return these items to country.
The excavations at the Normanton site in 2015.
When the remains of Aboriginal people who died more than a century ago were found, the local Aboriginal community wanted to know more about these past lives.
Sydney’s Government House, circa 1802, where Boorong was brought when she fell sick with smallpox in 1789.
Mitchell library, State Library of New South Wales
The NSW government has purchased the land where Bennelong is buried. His third wife played a key role in the early colonisation of Australia.
Of 19 Aboriginal men transported to Cockatoo Island, Sydney between 1845 and 1850, 12 died in custody.
The 1991 Royal Commission into deaths in custody was preceded by an 1850 inquiry, which recommended that Aboriginal people be released should their health deteriorate in gaol.
“New Hollanders” depicted in a 1698 edition of the explorer William Dampier’s journal.
Courtesy of the Pacific Collection, Hamilton Library, University of Hawai'i-Mānoa
The image, depicting a group of Indigenous people resisting their enslavement, predates the next oldest image by 75 years.
Karnatukul during excavation in 2014, note the square holes dug below the rock walls..
They were looking to study rock art at a remote desert site but what they found showed people had been using the place almost since the first people arrived in Australia.
Ammunition found at a mounted police camp at Eyre Creek.
For 60 years, native police were deployed in Queensland to 'disperse' Aboriginal communities (a euphemism for systematic killing). Unearthing their camps is a key part of reckoning with the violence of those times.
A view of Sydney Cove, New South Wale, 1804.
State Library of Victoria
Australia still hasn't answered how Aboriginal people became protected by British law and lost all their land at the same time. If it can't be resolved here, it might be time for international courts to weigh in.
A sample of the
Eucalyptus giunnii plant, sometimes called a cider gum for its ability to produce an alcoholic drink without human intervention.
Sap from one tree collected in hollows in the bark, and natural yeast fermented the liquid to an alcoholic drink used by Aboriginal people. Europeans called the tree a cider gum because of the taste.
Venus shines bright in the sky above Victoria.
Flickr/Indigo Skies Photography
The planets we can see in the sky were known to the ancient Greeks as 'wandering stars'. But they appeared much earlier in the stories and traditions of Australia's Indigenous people.
Humans would have first seen Kata Tjuta very shortly after arriving in Australia 50,000 years ago.
Aboriginal Australians have effectively been on their country for as long as modern human populations have been outside of Africa. We have a limit as to how long ago that was: around 50,000 years.
Detail from Julie Shiels’ 1954 poster White on black: The annihilation of Aboriginal people and their culture cannot be separated from the destruction of nature.
State Library of Victoria
It is 50 years since anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner gave the Boyer Lectures in which he coined the phrase 'the great Australian silence'. How far have we come since?
A new Parramatta is emerging out of the rubble of history.
Artist's impression of the new North Parramatta development/URBANGROWTH NSW/AAP
Sydney's Parramatta is developing fast, building over a rich archaeological history. Finding ways to retain it can help visitors and residents feel a sense of physical connection with those who came before.
Sunset looking across Port Warrender to the Mitchell Plateau on the Kimberley coast. It is in Wunambal Gaambera country.
Mark Jones Films (with permission)
The first people to make it to Australia could have navigated their way by sea crossing, reaching the north-west coastline of the island continent more than 50,000 years ago.
‘The Block’ in Redfern has been a site of struggle and activism for Indigenous inclusion in planning processes.
AAP Image/Paul Miller
While planning policies and practices have contributed to marginalising Indigenous people, planners can now work with them to ensure they have their rightful say in shaping Australian communities.
Participants in A Tasmanian Requiem, a musical performance addressing Tasmania’s Black War.
A Tasmanian Requiem brings together Western and Aboriginal voices to confront the violence of the state's Black War. It shows what a historical reckoning, and reconciliation, might look and sound like.
Detail from William Barak, Figures in possum skin cloaks, 1898, pencil, wash, charcoal solution, gouache and earth pigments on paper, 57.0 x 88.8 cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, 1962
Colony at the NGV pairs colonial art with Indigenous responses, in an effort to create dialogue about Australia's history.
Detail from a reconstruction of a Tasmanian picture board by Simon Barnard (2015).
Kristyn Harman and Nicholas Brodie
In the early days of colonial Tasmania, the British used threatening picture boards to communicate with Aboriginal people, giving them a choice between conciliation and death.
The spread of Pama-Nyungan was likely influenced by climate.
The origin of around 300 of Australia's Aboriginal languages lies in Queensland, about 6,000 years ago.
In July 2017, new research was published that pushed the opening chapters of Australian history back to 65,000 years ago.
Marcella Cheng/The Conversation
When did Australia’s human history begin?
The Conversation, CC BY 16.6 MB (download)
Today's episode of Essays On Air, the audio version of our Friday essay series, seeks to move beyond the view of ancient Australia as a timeless and traditional foundation story.