Aboriginal Australia: Must Be Dreaming

Not only is Australia amazing us with all of the adventures it’s offering, it’s amazing us with its own culture. It’s a weird feeling, learning a new culture. Weird, yet definitely exciting. For this post, I figured I’d share a huge part of Australian culture and history.

Brianna and Lindsay, as Brianna mentioned in her last post, are they’re taking a module of program director Mark’s Australian Culture & Society class that focuses on sports in Australia. My module class is focused on Aboriginal Australia, taught by an aborigine herself, Jennifer Newman (yes, yes, even she knows her name doesn’t make her sound aboriginal at all).

I signed up for the module (the modules are basically a two week spinoff class to focus in one on subject we’re interested in) hoping to get more in touch with the Australian culture that pervades the land. I wanted to understand the history of these people that have been on this land since the beginning of time (literally). More selfishly, I really just wanted to become more of a local by knowing more about what makes Australia…Australia.

The class first met on 9AM Wednesday morning at Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park, where we met Jennifer. She then took us on a tour around a bit of Sydney Harbour, all the while explaining what certain areas spoke about or represented the aboriginal culture of Sydney. Sydney and the Botany Bay area (just south of Sydney) was where the First Fleet of men and women from Great Britain (who were mostly convicts) arrived in 1788 after about three-quarters of a year of sailing. This makes the area where we walked that much more important to the aboriginal history, for the soil we walked was the soil the aboriginals stood on when they first saw these white “creatures” sailing toward them, not knowing what the spirits had in store for them.

A: Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park
B: Martin Place, where some of the first settlement homes were built.
C: The Domain, a public speaking area
D: Art Gallery of NSW, where aboriginal artwork wasn’t allowed in until the 1950s
E: Royal Botanic Gardens
F: Farm Cove, where aboriginals first saw the First Fleet
G & H: Sydney Opera House, different marks of the changing shoreline can be viewed here
I: Harbour Wharf: Stopped here to listen to an aboriginal play the didgeridoo
J: Museum of Contemporary Art

Many religions have their own period of creation in the history of the planet, where plants, animals, and man were, well, created. Aboriginals are no different. They call the period of creation the Dreamtime, or Dreaming. Essentially, the aboriginal spirit ancestors came down to the planet and marked the land where each ancestor’s people would live.

It’s fasciniating to think that these people who’ve been on this planet since the beginning of time (according to their stories) still maintain this culture that relies so heavily on their spirit ancestors. They guide them on whatever path they may choose in life. They help them remember their roots.

Aboriginal art depicting the spirit ancestors.

Aboriginal is actually not what aboriginals call themselves. The word was used by the British, just so they could give these native Australians a name. Some don’t like to be called aboriginal, and that’s why. This module (and it’s not even over yet!) has opened my eyes to see a more colorful picture of the planet. Each culture and background has its own story. And no two stories are the same. We’re all different as humans, but we’re all uniquely bound together as one because of it.

My thanks to Australia for helping me come to this conclusion. Man, I love this country.

In other quick news, our third/newest (and definitely most fun) video blog will be up this week! We’ll show you our adventures at Luna Park and oh so much more. Next week is our program field trip to Melbourne, and right after that we’ll be climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and heading off to Surf Camp! Lots of excitement coming up – stay with us!

Peace, Love, and Tim Tams,

Chris

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7 responses to “Aboriginal Australia: Must Be Dreaming

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