~ Aborigines - life, culture, history ~

Kuranda / 
Great Barrier Reef
Kata Tjuta NP
Ayers Rock
Kata Tjuta

Aboriginal artist at Kuranda As a part of our tour package to Kuranda we visited also Rainforeststation, a Nature Park; with many tourist attractions, in the middle of the wet tropical rainforest and just 5 minutes drive from Kuranda. Aboriginal people have lived in this area since ancient times, as the rainforest provided everything hunter-gatherers needed for their living and thus it was very enriching, to experience Aboriginal culture in its original environment.

The Aboriginal culture is one of the oldest in the world. The earliest findings of human life in Australia date back to 60,000 BC. Tools about 45,000 years old, made from stone, were found near Sydney and 25,000 years ago flint was mined at the southern coast for the first time. The boomerang was in existence already 8000 years ago and archeological studies of paintings on cave walls and shelters have shown, that Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory have used the Didgeridoo for 1500 years, so it is probably the world’s oldest wind instrument. 

aboriginal paintingAboriginal people always have had a deep adoration and respect for nature and have never tried to impose changes on it, so there was no agriculture or stockbreeding. They consider Nature the holy legacy of their ancestors from the Dreamtime. This is in the Aboriginal mythology the sacred time of creation, when their ancestors in form of humans or animals wandered throughout the world and gave the earth its geographical shape and created all living things. The major and most popular mythological being is the Rainbow Serpent (or snake), a being of immense proportions, which resides in a deep waterhole and controls the most precious resource of life - water. Many regional different stories and legends entwine around this spirit and some describe it as the creator of mountains and valleys during the Dreamtime.

In 1770 James Cook arrived the fertile east coast of Australia and formally took possession of the land as British Colony New South Wales and soon after that, Australian's fate as a British penalty colony was sealed. When in 1788 the first British fleet with 700 prisoners on board arrived, there, where Sydney is today, approximately 750,000 Aborigines lived in Australia. They were considered fair game, were driven from their land, massacred and murdered and had their children taken away. A long period of suffering began.

Today about 464,000 Aborigines live in Australia, about 70% in cities. They have equal rights now and each region of the country is represented by an Aboriginal district administrator. Some of the Aboriginal people even successfully reclaimed their ancestral land. However, despite of government supported programs, their living standard and life expectancy is low and only around 10,000, mainly in the Northern Territory, stay in direct contact with their traditional culture.

Aborigines are proud of their culture and try to cultivate their heritage. They want to get more involved in cultural tourism, because it means they can present their culture and benefit economically. One of the priority aspirations Rainforest Aboriginal people have is, to get secure title to their traditional lands to ensure the integrity and survival of their culture, just as to hunt and to gather in the traditional way.

aboriginal with didgeridoo at rainforeststation

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