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Pictures of the Carnavon Gorge, Central Highlands, Queensland, Australia
Pictures of the Carnavon Gorge, Central Highlands, Queensland, Australia

Pictures of Roma, Queensland, and Surrounding Towns
Pictures of Roma, Queensland, and surrounding towns

Aboriginal Australia

Frog and Toad's Aboriginal Australia

Frog and Toad's Aboriginal Australia









UNCLONED TIME - australian dreamtime
THE PARADOXICAL THING ABOUT TALKING ABOUT HISTORY IN AUSTRALIA is that, from a traditionally Australian point of view, there is no such thing as history and historical time. The Australian Aborigines lived in two times only: primeval times, in which all life came into being, and the present. There was no past, no history, and the future barely figured in their thinking. There were only two times, the primeval Dreamtime when all the mountains and rocks and animals and humans were created, and there was the Now. Actually even this description is flawed -- the Dreamtime didn't happen "back then", in the past, but rather continued in an ever-present "past in the present tense". The Dreamtime and the Now were one. So, you can see, from an Australian Aboriginal point of view, there can be no such thing as history. Perhaps it would be better to say that, from an Australian Aboriginal point of view, the world is called into existence and created every second, according to the Dreamtime myths and stories. The only thing that matters is the endless progression of the seasons and the movements of stars and the glorious cycle of life.

The AboriginalArt.com.au website proclaims defiantly: "They say we have been here for 40 000 years, but it is much longer -
We have been here since time began. We have come directly out of the Dreamtime of our creative ancestors -
"We have kept the earth as it was on the first day. Our culture is focused on recording the origins of life.
"We refer to forces and powers that created the world as creative ancestors.
"Our beautiful world has been created only in accordance with the power, wisdom and intentions of our ancestral beings."

However, a more pragmatic, western view is that Australia's original inhabitants -- the Aborigines -- migrated to the Land Downunder in three major waves from Asia, starting some 40,000-60,000 years ago. The Aboriginal culture is the oldest in the world, and Aborigines have lived in Australia so long they have been able to watch whole global weather cycles come and go. For example, 30,000 years ago the country was mainly a pleasant place in which to live - a place of greenery where giant animals roamed, kangaroos three meters high and marspial lions, the lakes were full, and the mountains were covered with snow. This idyllic paradise was frozen over by a great Ice Age around 20,000BC, which lasted 5000 years. Australia became a severely inhospitable land in which to live -- the average temperature dropped to 10 degrees lower than the present levels, while rainfall was reduced to half its current level. Cold dry winds scoured the continent and made life very difficult. During this period, Aboriginal people faced severe stresses on their food and water supplies and it has been speculated that up to 80% of the population may have died.

According to research by Professor Rhys Jones at the Australian National University, surviving populations migrated into refuges in mountainous parts of the Pilbara, Kimberley and southeast coast of Australia. They also survived in localised patches of rainforest in Arnhem Land and Kakadu. Without these refuges, the inhabitants would have become extinct due to climatic changes. Westerly winds that now roar across the Southern Ocean then blew across the middle of Australia, creating great mobile sand dunes. At the other end of the continent, the impact on humans was the opposite, with the Ice Age allowing hunter-gatherers a greater land area in which to hunt as the tree cover was reduced. Evidence for this new understanding comes from caves such as one at Carpenters Gap in the Kimberley and Purit Jarra in central Australia.

Temperatures started rising 14,000 years ago and by 10,000 years ago the country was warmer and wetter than now, sparking a widespread surge in plant growth and recolonisation, and leading to optimum conditions for hunters and gathers. This was the Aboriginal Golden Age. By 10 000 years ago the vegetation patterns reached approximately their present condition.

Through all this time sea levels were also fluctuating. At their lowest point sea levels were more than 100 metres below their present level and Australia formed one giant landmass from the bottom of Tasmania through to New Guinea.

I mentioned before that experts believe there were three great Aboriginal influxes, bringing immigrants from Asia. The fourth great migration began in 1788, and carried millions of colonists from Europe, principally the United Kingdom and Ireland, but more recently from southern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Somehow the peoples of the four influxes have managed to mix and create a new race of humanity -- the modern Australian race. In the next article, I will discuss what exactly makes up the Australian personality.