Cheat Sheet

Indigenous Australia For Dummies

Australia’s Indigenous peoples have been in this land for over 60,000 years, making their cultures the oldest living race on Earth. To better understand the recent history of Indigenous communities in Australia, have a look at key events that have affected this group of peoples since European colonisation in 1770. Some public and private institutions across Australia, such as museums and art galleries, offer educational and informational experiences on Indigenous communities. Learn more about the first peoples of Australia by exploring this list of places to visit in each state or territory capital.

Key Dates in Indigenous Australian History

Indigenous peoples have lived in Australia for an estimated 60,000 years — but it’s impossible to cover all of that history in such short space! Instead, the following timeline starts from European colonisation in 1770, and details important Indigenous events throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, right through to Kevin Rudd’s apology speech in 2008.

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Learning about Indigenous Cultures in Australia

Indigenous cultures around Australia vary in their traditions, values and histories; each group of traditional owners have their own histories and stories to share. To find out more about the traditional peoples of Australia, visit the following institutions (or their websites) for more information.

  • In Sydney:

    • The Museum of Sydney has a large collection of Indigenous artefacts and facts about Indigenous cultures, housed on the site of the first Government House.

    • Take a cultural cruise around Sydney Harbour on the Tribal Warrior, a tourist venture owned by the local Indigenous community.

    • The New South Wales Art Gallery has a permanent collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art on display in the Yiribana gallery.

  • In Darwin:

  • In Alice Springs:

    • Discover treasures of Indigenous art at the Araluen Cultural Precinct. This hub also includes the Museum of Central Australia and the Strehlow Research Centre.

    • Visit Uluru (previously known as Ayers Rock), a place held sacred by Indigenous people. The Ayers Rock Resort at Yulara is now owned by the Indigenous community.

  • In Melbourne:

    • The Koori Heritage Trust is a treasure trove of information about Indigenous cultures. The Trust also runs educational programs and walking tours and is owned and operated by Indigenous people.

    • The Museum Victoria has a significant collection of Indigenous cultural material and information.

  • In Canberra:

  • In Cairns: Learn about bush foods and medicines, Indigenous dance and art at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

  • In Brisbane: Catch wonderful views of Brisbane while seeing Indigenous art in a natural environment on the Mount Coot-tha Aboriginal Art trail. (Information about the trail can be found through the Brisbane City Council.)

  • In Adelaide:

  • In Perth:

    • Find some art treasures from Indigenous artists in Western Australia at the Aboriginal Art Gallery in Kings Park.

    • Take a walk through the Botanic Gardens and Kings Park on the Kings Park Heritage Tour with Indigenous Tours WA to learn about bush tucker and tool making.

  • In Hobart:

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