Culture of Australian Aborigines


"The Culture of Australian Aborigines - Fascinating!"

The Aborigines are the rightful owners of the Australian land having been here for centuries before the white settlers arrived.

It's been hard for them to prove that however with the settlers pretty much destroying their land and their heritage - we should all be ashamed of our ancestors! I'd encourage you to read a book or two about life in Australia as an aborigine to get more of an insight into how badly they have been treated right up to the 1960's.

That said, there is now a far greater appreciation of the aborigine community with governments and local communities doing all they can to protect the aboriginal culture.





It's an interesting balance though - part of the culture of Australian Aborigines is its rituals and that comes with a certain level of secrecy, which is needed to preserve the culture. But on the other hand we all need more information about their culture to ensure it doesn't die and become forgotten.

As you travel Australia, do look out for the ancient rock art which is an important method used to pass on the Australian Aboriginal Culture from generation to generation.

This page aims to tell you more about their beliefs, ceremonies, art, music and recreation in the hope that we keep the aboriginal culture very much alive. It gives you the highlights but if you want more information then I would suggest going to this site - www.aboriginalculture.com.au.

Australian Aboriginal Culture - Beliefs and Religion


Firstly Aborigines had different tribes across Australia and each tribe may have slightly different beliefs than the next. They are extremely spiritual and have a strong beliefs system

The key thing that unites the tribes is that they don't believe in one God. Instead they believe in a series of gods or deities that are tangible (visible). This could be an image depicted in a rock for example.

They believe in reincarnation, with rocks and animals being interchangeable with human life - all have been created by their deities. But they don't believe that these objects still have souls.

That said, they do believe that certain objects and animals e.g a plant may have the spirit of a former ancestor - someone important that has shown the tribe the correct way to conduct a ceremony or make tools - These would be considered one of their gods.



Culture of Australian Aborigines - Dreamtime


This is an important concept for the Aborigines and refers to the time of creation - whether that be how the mountains were formed, or how animals or plants came to be.

Aborigines interpret dreams and treat them as part of a memory from this creation. It's not totally clear how long ago they think this creation happened but it is likely to be at least 40,000 years!



Culture of Australian Aborigines - Rituals and Ceremonies


This is another key element of aboriginal life. The key ceremonies are as follows:

  • Rituals to ensure continuous supply of food or rain etc - Usually chants and singing are involved
  • Bringing boys and girls into adulthood.These can last days rather than hours and can involve body decorations and sacred objects
  • Funerals are another key ritual and vary depending on tribe. The usual burial for an aborigine is firstly to let the flesh rot from the bones (the body is covered in leaves) and then the bones are scattered. It is important that the spirit of the person is allowed to go back to its birthplace so that he or she can be reborn
  • Walkabout is the belief that wandering in the wilderness for 6 months as an adolescent is a right of passage.


  • Culture of Australian Aborigines - Music and Recreation


    Everyone has probably heard of the didgeridoo and associates it with aboriginal Australia. It may interest you to know that this musical instrument was not widely used by Aboriginals. It was really only in a couple of areas where the didgeridoo was used - Arnhem land and perhaps Kakadu.

    The more popular musical instrument is the clapping sticks which are used to keep rhythm and are more commonly used throughout Australia

    Other recreational past times other than music include a type of football game using possum hide. Rumour has it that this inspired Aussie Rules football?!





    Australian Aboriginal Culture through art


    Aboriginal art is world famous - with most people siting the artwork of dots and patterns, but it is much more than this.

    Go to the north of Australia, around Kakadu or the Kimberleys for example, and you will be able to see some amazing rock art. The art depicts their many values, beliefs and stories that date back centuries.

    There are 2 types of art - natuarlistic and figurative style. The first is art where you can recognise the object e.g. a kangaroo or a man. The second is the circle and shapes type artwork where each shape represents something. The dots were also part of the ceremonies and were painted onto the aboriginals during this rituals.



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