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Portal:Indigenous peoples of Australia

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Indigenous Australians are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia, descended from groups that existed in Australia and surrounding islands prior to European colonisation, as far back as 80,000 B.P..

Although there are a number of commonalities between indigenous Aboriginal Australians, there is also a great diversity among different Indigenous communities and societies in Australia, each with its own mixture of cultures, customs and languages. In present-day Australia these groups are further divided into local communities. At the time of initial European settlement, over 250 languages were spoken; it is currently estimated that 120 to 145 of these remain in use, but only 13 of these are not considered endangered.

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The Aboriginal "Emu in the sky". In Western astronomy terms, the Southern Cross is on the right, and Scorpius on the left; the head of the emu is the Coalsack.

Australian Aboriginal astronomy is a name given to indigenous Australian culture relating to astronomical subjects – such as the Sun and Moon, the stars, planets, and the Milky Way, and their motions on the sky.

One of the earliest records of indigenous astronomy was made by William Edward Stanbridge, an Englishman who emigrated to Australia in 1841 and befriended the local Boorong people.

Some Aboriginal groups use the motions of celestial bodies for calendar purposes. Many attribute religious or mythological meanings to celestial bodies and phenomena. There is a diversity of astronomical traditions in Australia, each with its own particular expression of cosmology. However, there appear to be common themes and systems between the groups.

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Aboriginal millstone used for making flour

Bush bread, or seedcakes, refers to the bread made by Australian Aboriginals for many thousands of years, by crushing seeds into a dough, after which it is baked. The bread was high in protein and carbohydrate, and helped form part of a balanced traditional diet. Photo credit: Fir0002

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  • ...
    that Indigenous Australians believe that the number of Min Min light sightings has increased with the number of Europeans venturing into the outback?
  • ... that traditionally, Aboriginal Tasmanians sourced ochre from sites throughout Tasmania, the most celebrated of which is Toolumbunner in the Gog Range in NW Tasmania?
  • ... that anyone may be invited to participate in Corroboree, although the songs and dances require a great deal of knowledge and skill to perform?
  • ...
    Part of the UNESCO listed Australian Indigenous Language collection held at AIATSIS.JPG
    that the AIATSIS holds over 6 million feet of film, 653,000 photographs, and 3,000 rare books relating to the oral and visual traditions and histories of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
  • ... that Wollumbin, the local Aboriginal name for Mount Warning, means "cloud-catcher" or "fighting chief of the mountains"?
  • ... that Indigenous Australian sandpainting is used to mark territory, record history, and tell stories about The Dreaming.
  • ...
    that Mount Coonowrin is the subject of a number of Aboriginal tales, and said to be the son of Tibrogargan and Beerwah?
  • ... that scarred trees are significant evidence of historical Aboriginal occupation, as scars remain in trees for over 200 years?
  • ... that until the 1967 Australian Referendum, Indigenous Australians were excluded from the census?

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For a topic outline on this subject, see Indigenous Australians.
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