Arnhem Land

Tiwi Islands


Australia's Aboriginal people have survived almost fifty thousand years and have developed a rich culture in harmony with the environment and founded on strong spiritual beliefs.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans aboriginal society was well adapted to the conditions of an isolated southern Pacific island with many unique characteristics due to it's isolation. Over 200 distinct languages were spoken and life revolved around harvesting the rich flora and fauna that existed on the coast lines and the interior.

Both the men and women took part in the acquisition of food. The men used a variety of instruments for hunting and the women made many types of fish traps and baskets for gathering and carrying food items. Sophisticated fishing techniques, traps and nets were used and unique tools and weapons for hunting such as the boomerang and axes were well adapted to the type of animals hunted for food.

While there was the concept of owning the land you were from and an incredibly strong spiritual tie to that land , aboriginal people were also nomadic and moved to various areas where there was an abundance of food at various times. Ceremonies which included songs, dances and artistic depictions were an integral part of life and a fundamental way that knowledge was passed on by the elders and events celebrated . There was no written language within the numerous social groups across the continent and there were many differences between groups not only language but historically the stories or "dreamings" which are the stories of creation and social development vary from area to area.

There are many similarities though and the importance of family, sharing and the rituals performed by ceremonies and painting are a few of those consistent similarities found in aboriginal society.

> About Australia's Aboriginal Art and People
  • Aboriginal Artistic Heritage

  • Upheaval and Sadness

  • Hope for the Future

  • The New Art Movement

  • Adapting to Change

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