Aboriginal culture

The story of the first Australians

The Aboriginal people were the founders of Australia. They came to the continent thousands of years before Europeans discovered it. Aborigines have been on the Australian continent for at least 40,000 years.

It is difficult to determine where the Aborigines lived exactly before they came to Australia. It is known that Aboriginals came from somewhere in Southeast Asia and they traveled to Australia in canoes or with land bridges.

Australian Aboriginal culture is among the oldest and longest surviving cultures in the world and dates back at least 40,000 years.


The Aboriginal language is one of many variations and dialects. There have existed over 250 Aboriginal languages in Australia with many different dialects spoken.

Living with the land

Traditional Aboriginals are known for living in harmony with nature. The nature is not just the physical elements like rock, earth, plants and water, but is a part of the people’s spiritually.

The Aboriginals lived as semi-nomadic people. They lived in large groups within their own territories. These areas were defined by the surrounding environmental borders, such as rivers or mountains.


The Aboriginals believed that the world was made by the Ancestors. They refer to this as the Dreamtime. The Ancestors created everything on earth, including the Aboriginals.

According to the Aboriginals, the Ancestors left certain sacred sites. The sites were the places where the Aboriginals performed ritual songs and ceremonies in order to keep the spirits of the Ancestors alive.

Different Aboriginal tribes had different views about the Ancestors. Some believed that they were animal spirits. For example, in parts of Arnhem Land the Ancestors were huge snakes. In other places the spirit who created the world was Wanadjina.


The legends of the Dreamtime form a part of Australian historical literature and can be seen as the basis for Aboriginal religion and culture. They date back 65,000 years and contain many parts: It is the story of things that have happened, how the universe came to be, how human beings were created and how the Creator intended for humans to function within the cosmos.

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