Australian Aborigines occupied this continent long before the ancient civilizations in the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas flourished, which is more than 50,000 years before European navigators visited the shores of "The Great South Land". Aborigine's ancient traditions thrived in a kinship and close spiritual bond with every living thing and even inert objects such as rocks, rivers, and other geographical features. Dreamtime (or Dreaming) is the English term for the Aboriginal system of laws and beliefs. It is the basis of all traditional Aboriginal thought and practice. More specifically, it is their cultural, historical, and ancestral heritage. In the context of Aboriginal beliefs, it is an age that existed long ago yet remains ever present as a continuing, timeless experience, linking past, present, and future. Dreamtime was the dawn of all creation when the land, the rivers, the rain, the wind and all living things were generated.
Every Aborigine is believed to have two souls. One mortal and one immortal, they are linked with ancestral spirits. It is also believed that each family clan is descended from the same ancestral being. The spirits can provide either protection or misfortune. Hence, some clan members are assigned responsibilities for maintaining sacred sites and should this responsibility be neglected, one will be severely punished.
For thousands of years the Aborigines were a race of hunters leading a nomadic presence. Lightweight but flexible tools, such as the boomerang, are used for hunting. Through living in small groups in a vast land, Aboriginal society came to be broken up into numerous clans separated by different languages and customs. They live in a clan of 10 to 50 or more people. It is estimated that the Aborigines once spoke 500 different languages, grouped into 31 related language families, each as rich and complex as the languages of Europe.
Dreamtime taught their people to be wise and independent, thus preparing them to face the toughest challenge of survival and life.
Top of Page