Indigenous Australians are also known as Aboriginal people or First Nations People and we want you to know some of the Aboriginal facts for kids for your next school project. We have dived deep into Aboriginal history, culture, indigenous foods and even music.
Want to know other fun facts about people? Make sure you take a look at our people facts page!
Aboriginal people have a rich history that spans back more than 50,000 years.
- They are the oldest culture on the planet.
- They have a deep connection with their land.
- Aboriginal people tell stories to preserve their history and culture.
- Indigenous Australians are made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- There are approximately 880,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in Australia.
Aboriginal culture is believed to be the oldest culture on the planet. Aboriginal people have been in Australia for more than 50,000 years. They led a nomadic life, travelling through the bush and living in harmony with the land. Historically for shelter, Aboriginals would live in caves or temporary shelters they had built while looking for food.
Aboriginal people have a deep connection with their land and often refer to themselves as custodians of the land, meaning they are simply looking after it for the next generation.
When the British arrived in Australia in 1788, many Aboriginal Australians were killed or died from diseases the British brought with them. Some were used as slaves by the British and worked for minimal or no wages.
The Stolen Generation was a time when children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families were forcibly removed in an effort to eradicate Aboriginal culture. This time period was between 1871 and 1969. Policies around this were abolished in 1969.
When the British arrived they had stated that all the land belonged to the King, however in 1992 the Australian High Court determined that Aboriginal people had the right to apply to claim back land that they had always used. It was also during the 1990s that reconciliation between Aboriginals and the wide Australian community became a big part of the political agenda.
Aboriginal tribes are located across Australia and it is believed there were once 500 different ones. You can find the name of the local tribe in your area as a way of acknowledging them.
It is estimated that around 880,000 indigenous people (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) live in Australia.
There are several hundred different indigenous languages, though many are now extinct.
History and culture is often passed down through stories and song, and less through the written word.
The Aboriginal Flag
The Aboriginal flag is a rectangle that is divided in half, where the bottom half is red to represent the earth, the top half if black to represent the Aboriginal people and in the centre is a yellow circle that represents the sun.
The flag was designed by an Aboriginal artist from the Northern Territory and was first flown in 1971. It is an official flag of Australia as it was recognised by the government in 1995.
Saying an Acknowledgement of Country is a way to show respect to Aboriginal elders past, present and emerging. It helps to create awareness of the traditional owners as well as to acknowledge the land you are standing on. It is done by simply acknowledging out loud the traditional custodians on the land you are on.
A Welcome to Country is a ceremony performed by traditional custodians at the beginning of an event to welcome visitors to their ancestral land. This can include singing, dancing and smoke ceremonies.
Aboriginal people believe the creation of the world is called Dreamtime, when animals, plants and human ancestors created the world. The ancestors’ spirits came in human form, creating plants, rocks and trees and everything on earth.
Walkabout is a rite of passage for male Aboriginals where they undergo a journey during their teenage years to transition to manhood. This can involve living in the bush for periods of up to 6 months, usually alone.
A sacred site is a place with special cultural or spiritual significance to Aboriginal tradition. Uluru is arguably one of Australia’s most famous sacred sites. Other sites include Windjana Gorge, Mount Borradaile in Arnhem Land and The MacDonnell Ranges outside Alice Springs.
A boomerang is a curved piece of wood that has been carved for hunting or fighting. There are two main types of boomerangs – a returning and a non returning. When thrown, a returning boomerang is designed to fly back to the person who threw it. Non returning boomerangs are used for hunting animals like kangaroos.
Traditional Aboriginal art consists of rock paintings drawn in nature, usually on rock surfaces such as caves. Natural materials such as ash, ochre and white clay were used to do drawings, often of the dreamtime.
Aboriginal dot painting is another style of art which emerged in the 1970s and has become increasingly popular.
Face and body painting is a common way for different tribes to express themselves and this is very spiritually significant.
Indigenous tribes would often live off the land, meaning they ate whatever native food was growing around them, including seeds, nuts, animals and fruits.
A very common food is the Australian witchetty grub, which is found in central Australia and is high in protein. It can be eaten raw or roasted over a fire. Another traditional bush food is native yams.
Indigenous Australians have a long history with music and dance.
A didgeridoo is a wind instrument which looks like a long wooden tube, usually made from a tree limb that has been hollowed out by termites. It is played using circular breathing which means that a person is inhaling through their nose while constantly exhaling through their mouth. It makes a droning sound.
Clapsticks are two pieces of wood which are either used separately (by hitting something else) or together (by hitting them together) to create a sound.
A bullroarer is a piece of wood that is tied to the end of a string or rope, then swung around above the head to create a sound. This was also used to communicate over long distances.
This unique instrument is simply a gum leaf which is held to the lips and then blown on. The vibration of the leaf makes a sound.
Learn more about Aboriginal music with these Audio CD and books here.
- Some Aboriginal people have totems, which include plants, animals and even the weather.
- Many English words in Australia come from an Aboriginal language, including barramundi, dingo, kangaroo and kookaburra.
- An Elder is an Aboriginal person who is a custodian of the culture and is recognised as someone who can speak with authority about knowledge and beliefs.
This fascinating culture has an ability to adapt and survive. We hope that this has excited you to learn even more about Aboriginal people.