|Traditional aboriginal culture, throwing the boomerang, ritual dancing,
starting fire with sticks - that's what lots of tourists expect to see
in Australia. Thanks to movies and books we have romantic imagination
about ancient aboriginal civilisation...|
Reality is quite different. Indigenous population in major cities in
Australia is very small, and it's hard to meet native Australians on the
streets of Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide.
The only touches of Aboriginal culture are artifacts like boomerangs,
paintings, and musical instruments such as didjeridoo and rainstick which
you can buy in souvenir shops.
Aboriginal music on the streets of Adelaide
Playing didgeridoo on Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne
|Apparently, in Australia there are no tribes conducting the traditional
way of life as we know from books. Significant Australian territories,
for example in South Australia, are only for Aboriginal people, and strangers
need permission to visit these areas. However, as far as I know, in these
territories Aboriginals have a modern life, they use cars, TVs and other
|So, what could the tourists do?|
For example, in Russia you can buy traditional nested doll (called matrioshka,
or babushka) in souvenir shop, and also go to a concert of traditional
Russian music. In large Australian cities except for purchase of a boomerang
there are virtually no opportunities to expirience Aboriginal culture.
200 km from Melbourne, in Grampians there is a centre of aboriginal culture
Brambrok. I visited this centre 3 times but unfortunately I did not manage
to see anything beyond souvenir shops stock. Sadly very little practical
demonstration of the traditional Aboriginal way of life is available for
tourists to appreciate.
Calling the ghosts of fire
Lighting the fire with sticks
Fire is lit!
Ritual dance around bonfire
The reason why there is not much of aboriginal culture left lies in the
events back in 1700's and continued until the mid 20th century. Shortly
after colonisation, aboriginals were ruthlessly attacked by white colonizers
on the southeast territories of Australia. Many of the Aboriginals died
from diseases brought to Australia (such as the common cold), due to the
fact that they had never been exposed to these sicknesses.
Nowadays the elements of reconciliation with indigenous population of
Australia are a very important part of the Australian political life.
Hot discussions inflame around the lack of official public apologies of
the Australian government for the so called 'Stolen Generation' of aboriginals,
as well as numerous social privileges reserved specifically for the indigenous
population of Australia.
View on Tjapukai from the SkyRail
Demonstration of traditional medicine
Apart from reading about politics in the newspapers the only place I
know where tourists could experience Aboriginal culture and traditions
is the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.
It is located in the far north of Australia, near Cairns city. You can
see traditional dance, learn how to paint boomerang and throw it so it
The most photos on this page were taken in this centre.
Aboriginal represents a kangaroo in ritual dance
| I believe the pride of the roots, culture and traditions will create
more centres such as Tjapukai, where anyone interested in aboriginal culture
could learn a lot about it. |
|More info on Indigenous Australians:|