Articles on Aboriginal history

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The first people to walk along the shores of northern Australia arrived more than 50,000 years ago. Corey Bradshaw

An incredible journey: the first people to arrive in Australia came in large numbers, and on purpose

New research shows just how many first people were needed to create a viable population in what is now Australia.
Mukurtu is a Warumungu word meaning “dilly bag” or a safe keeping place for sacred materials. Nina Maile Gordon/The Conversation CC-NY-BD

Mukurtu: an online dilly bag for keeping Indigenous digital archives safe

Mukurtu: an online dilly bag for keeping Indigenous digital archives safe. The Conversation71.5 MB (download)
Mukurtu - Warumungu word meaning 'dilly bag' or a safe keeping place for sacred materials - is an online system helping Indigenous people conserve photos, songs and other digital archives.
Detail of the Connecticut Inscription, with image enhancement. Centre for Rock Art Research and Management database

Rock art shows early contact with US whalers on Australia’s remote northwest coast

Etchings over much earlier Aboriginal engravings show foreign whalers made contact with Australia's remote northwest long before colonial settlement of the area.
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. Renee Chapman

DNA from ancient Aboriginal Australian remains enables their return to Country

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.
“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

Found: the earliest European image of Aboriginal Australians

The image, depicting a group of Indigenous people resisting their enslavement, predates the next oldest image by 75 years.
Ammunition found at a mounted police camp at Eyre Creek. Lynley Wallis

How unearthing Queensland’s ‘native police’ camps gives us a window onto colonial violence

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 sample of the Eucalyptus giunnii plant, sometimes called a cider gum for its ability to produce an alcoholic drink without human intervention. Shutterstock/Modest Things

Alcohol brewed from trees and other fermented drinks in Australia’s Indigenous history

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.
Humans would have first seen Kata Tjuta very shortly after arriving in Australia 50,000 years ago. Alan Cooper

When did Aboriginal people first arrive in Australia?

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

Friday essay: the ‘great Australian silence’ 50 years on

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

Reimagining Parramatta: a place to discover Australia’s many stories

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)

How to get to Australia … more than 50,000 years ago

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

Indigenous communities are reworking urban planning, but planners need to accept their history

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.

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