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.
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.
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.
Get a taste of Indigenous culture from Maningrida at the Maningrida Arts and Culture centre. They have an outlet for artworks in Darwin, if the 400 kilometre-trip out to the community isn’t an option.
Venture out and take a guided tour of Kakadu National Park with Ayal Aboriginal Tours Kakadu.
Indigenous art from remote communities can be found at the Outstation Gallery.
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.
The National Museum of Australia has a gallery dedicated to the First Australians.
The National Gallery of Australia has a permanent display of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks from all around Australia.
The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies has a vast digital library of material about Indigenous cultures. It contains many oral histories.
Visit Reconciliation Place, situated between the National Library of Australia and the High Court of Australia, to experience an educational public art installation.
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.)