Indigenous peoples in Australia

The indigenous people in Australia are called Aboriginals. They came to Australia about 50.000 years ago. When the British came to Australia in 1788, they called these native people “aboriginals”, meaning people who had lived there since the earliest times. Many of them suffered when Europeans (mainly from Britain) arrived in Australia, because of disease and the loss of their hunting lands. Aborigines also have their own type of art.Aboriginals

The word aboriginal (click the links to see full explanation of the words) has been in the English language since at least the 16th century, to mean, “first or earliest known, indigenous”. It comes from the Latin word aborigines, derived from ab (from) and origo (origin, beginning). The word was used in Australia to describe its indigenous peoples as early as 1789. It soon became capitalised and employed as the common name to refer to all Indigenous Australians.

The Rainbow Serpent

In class we saw the short story about the Rainbow Serpent. It begins with a vast and desolate earth, with no animals or plant life. Roaming the abandoned planes was none other than human beings, gathered up into small tribes. Apart from the humans there was one creature of godly make; a rainbow serpent who whished to find his own people by traveling from the South part of Australia, to the North. He made his way through the planes of the wilderness, forging mountains, lakes and hills in his tracks. On his way he crossed paths with a human tribe, a primitve and selftaught people. Upon meeting them, the serpent quickly realized that these people did not speak a familiar tounge. He had to look further for his own people.

Rainbow serpent Reuse

The Rainbow Serpent continued its search for its own people, forming the landscape of what we now may refer to as Australia. One day he heard singing on the wind. He traveled North, the singing becoming louder and louder. He found his own people who were dancing and singing. He crawled up quietly, and lay in hiding to watch them. Finally he came out, and he was welcomed by his own people.

A storm was coming, so the people started to build shelter. Two brothers came running to find a place to hide from the storm, but no one had room for them. They ran to the Rainbow Serpents tent. He said they could hide in his mouth, but instead of protecting them, the serpent ate the two brothers. He fled up into the mountains, worring what his people might do. When  they found that the two brothers were missing they realized that the Rainbow Serpent had eaten them. They ran to the mountain, but they could not climb it. The walls were to steep. Only two men managed to make the climb. They  climbed for days and nights, before they reached the top where the serpent lay sleeping. They cut open his stomach and reached inside to save the two brothers. They had changed into beautiful parrots with all the colors of the Rainbow Serpent.

Rainbow Parrot

The two brothers flew away on their new wings, and the climbers hurried back down the mountain. The Rainbow Serpent felt a cool wind blow through his stomach, and he awakened. He realized something was wrong, and he looked down and saw that his stomach had been cut open! He became angry, and worked himself into a great rage. He began to move around in fury, his long red tounge flashing like lightning. The mountain shook, and thunder tore the landscape apart. The Rainbow Serpents great rage formed the mountains and hills we have today. The people ran and fled to try to evade the huge rocks. Some of them were killed by flying stones, others turned into animals in their escape. Birds, insects or plantlife. The people turned into all the types of animals and the world had been turned into the one we live in today.

You can watch the short story here:

The meaning of the story

Aboriginals believe that during the Dreamtime the world was created. The story above happens during the dreamtime period and the Aboriginals believe that this is how Australia (and perhaps the entire the world) was created. All the animals and plantlife, mountains and hills were created by the help of the Rainbow Serpent, which seems to be a very powerful creature. It even turned two brothers into beautiful parrots with wings as colorful as the rainbow. I think the story is about how the world was created, and how all the life we see today came to be.

You can click the red words in the text to be redirected to pages explaining them. You can do the same thing with the links below. The pictures used in this blogpost where all verified to be reused by doing an advanced search.

Other sources:

Australian Aboriginal mythology

Australian Aborigines


indigenous inhabitants of mainland Australia

Tank you for reading 🙂






One thought on “Indigenous peoples in Australia

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