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Indigenous Australia


The history of Indigenous Australians is thought to have spanned 40,000 to 45,000 years, although some estimates have put the figure at up to 80,000 years before European settlement. The Indigenous Australians lived with a strong dependence on the land, and also the water. Each group developed skills for the area in which they would live - hunting or fishing or gathering.

The path of Australian Indigenous history changed radically after the 18th and 19th century settlement of the British: Indigenous people were displaced from their ways of life, were forced to submit to European rule, and were later encouraged to assimilate into Western culture. Since the 1960s, reconciliation has been the pursuit of European Australian–Indigenous Australian relations.

There are no clear tribes or an accepted origin of the indigenous people of Australia, although they are believed to be among the earliest human migrations out of Africa. Although they likely migrated to Australia through Southeast Asia they are not demonstrably related to any known Asian or Polynesian population. There is evidence of genetic and linguistic interchange between Australians in the far north and the Austronesian peoples of modern-day New Guinea and the islands, but this may be the result of recent trade and intermarriage.

It is believed that first human migration to Australia was achieved when this landmass formed part of the Sahul continent, connected to the island of New Guinea via a land bridge. It is also possible that people came by boat across the Timor Sea. The exact timing of the arrival of the ancestors of the Aboriginal Australians has been a matter of dispute among archaeologists. The most generally accepted date for first arrival is between 40 000–80 000 years BP ("years Before the Present")

Photos Courtesy Laurie Davies Photography

Information contained on these pages are from various sources on the web and therefore may not be accurate. The history of Indigenous Australia is complicated and any information omitted or wrong is not intentional. If you can help with this important part of Australia, please contact us directly on Your information will be attributed accordingly.

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