Indigenous land owners (Aboriginals) Edit
The origin of Aboriginal peoples in Australia has been the subject of intense speculation since the nineteenth century. Until recently, no theory of migration had gained wide acceptance. Genetic studies had shown the Aboriginal peoples to be related much more closely to each other than to any peoples outside Australia, but scholars had disagreed whether their closest kin outside Australia were certain South Asian groups, or instead, certain African groups. The latter would imply a migration pattern in which their ancestors passed through South Asia to Australia without intermingling genetically with other populations along the way. A 2009 genetic study in India found similarities among Indian archaic populations and Aboriginal people, indicating a Southern migration route, with expanding populations from Southeast Asia migrating to Indonesia and Australia. In a genetic study in 2011, researchers found evidence, in DNA samples taken from strands of Aboriginal people's hair, that the ancestors of the Aboriginal population split off from the ancestors of the European and Asian populations between 62,000 and 75,000 years ago—roughly 24,000 years before the European and Asian populations split off from each other. These Aboriginal ancestors migrated into South Asia and then into Australia, where they stayed, with the result that, outside of Africa, the Aboriginal peoples have occupied the same territory continuously longer than any other human populations. These findings suggest that modern Aboriginal peoples are the direct descendants of migrants who arrived around 50,000 years ago. This finding is supported by earlier archaeological finds of human remains near Lake Mungo that date to 45,000 years ago. Another 2011 genetic study found evidence that Aboriginal peoples carry to one degree or another some genes associated with the Denisovan peoples of Asia, suggesting that modern and archaic humans interbred in Asia before the migration to Australia.
Australian Aboriginal history timeline
Australian Aboriginal history is the only history that grows both ways—forward into the present and backwards into the past as new scientific methods indicate that archaeological sites are much older than originally thought.
| 7 million yearsEdit
Age of the endocast of a primitive hominid-like skull recovered from among the rubble of a volcanic plug in the Bega district, on the New South Wales far south coast, in May 2005.
| 120,000 yearsEdit
Analysis of pollen and charcoal giving a date of 120,000 BP suggests that people were using fire to clear land in the Lake George basin in the Southern Tablelands of NSW, about 30 kms north-east of Canberra.
| 68,000 yearsEdit
Current estimates for the arrival of Aboriginal people in Australia.
| 60,000 yearsEdit
Age of Lake Mungo 3 human remains (age range between 56,000 and 68,000 years), south-western NSW, 987 km west of Sydney. Footprints discovered at Lake Mungo are believed to be 23,000 years old. Sign: Lake Mungo Lake Mungo, New South Wales. Ancient camp sites have been found in this area.
| 56,000 yearsEdit
Suggested age of two north Australian sites (Nauwalabila and Malakunanja, about 300 kms east of Darwin).
Archaeological evidence suggests that a rock shelter was used by people at a site in Arnhem Land (400 kms east of Darwin) in the Northern Territory. They used stone tools and red ochre probably to prepare pigments for rock painting or body decoration.
| 45,000 yearsEdit
Rock engravings made in South Australia - the earliest dated petroglyphs.
| 40,000 yearsEdit
Clear archaeological evidence that Aboriginal people have been living in south-eastern Australia e.g. Lake Mungo National Park, NSW.
The oldest dated art in Europe is 40,800 years old and was found in the El Castillo cave in Spain. It contains many red hand stencils, similar to stencils found in Australia.
| 35,000 yearsEdit
Age of a oldest known camping site found in the Pilbara region, Western Australia, near the Jugaling Rock Shelter. The site belongs to a mining lease jointly owned by Rio Tinto and Hancock Prospecting. Both companies refuse to permanently exclude the site from mining.
| 30,700 yearsEdit
Age of fireplaces (such as underground oven) at Lake Mungo National Park, NSW.
Aboriginal people living at the Keilor site (20 kms north-west of Melbourne) in Victoria.
| 30,000 yearsEdit
Oldest evidence of bread making in the world at Cuddy Springs (ancient lake located between Marra Creek and Macquarie River, near Carinda, western NSW).
A man from the Lake Mungo area (south-west NSW) is buried in a shallow grave. His forearm bones are stained pink from ochre. This is one of the earliest known burials of a distinctly modern people.
Aboriginal people were living around the now extinct lakes of the Willandra Lakes system. Evidence shows signs of spiritual and creative life and technology linked to much later Aboriginal culture.
Devils’ Lair in southernmost Western Australia is home to Aboriginal people who leave bone tool artefacts, including unique bone-beads of split-pointed macropod shin bones. The cave is occupied from this time to 6,000 BP.
| 28,000 yearsEdit
Age of a charcoal drawing found in the Northern Territory, assumed to be Australia’s oldest known rock art specimen and one of the earliest examples of human art on the planet.
| 26,000 yearsEdit
Age of bones found in sediment at the Willandra Lakes Region of far western NSW.
The body of a woman from Lake Mungo provides the earliest evidence in the world of ritual cremation. The body is prepared with ochre before cremation.
| 22,000 yearsEdit
Occupation site at Wentworth Falls, NSW.
Aboriginal people living at Malangangarr in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, use ground-edge grooved axes. Australian technology leads the world.
In deep caves under the Nullarbor Plains at Koonalda (at the western edge of South Australia, about 50 kms from the ocean), Aboriginal people mine flint and leave grooved designs on the cave walls. This is early evidence of the close relationship of art and work in Aboriginal life. Wentworth Falls, NSW Wentworth Falls, New South Wales. An occupation site has been found in this area dated 22,000 years old.
| 20,000 yearsEdit
Aboriginal people were dispersed across the entire continent, occupying places as remote as rock shelters on the Franklin River in south-west Tasmania and at Birrigai in the ranges of the Australian Capital Territory, which surrounds Canberra, the national capital.
Some 10% of Tasmania is covered by glacial ice. Kutikina Cave on the Franklin River is occupied by Tasmanian Aboriginal people at the height of the last ice age.
| 18,000 yearsEdit
Harvesting grass seeds is integral to Aboriginal socio-economic life on the large grasslands. The seeds were ground and baked or roasted and eaten whole.
Art at Ubirr in Kakadu National Park (Northern Territory, 300 kms east of Darwin) depicts now extinct animals, the Thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), and Zaglossus (the long-beaked echidna).
| 16,000 yearsEdit
Hearths, stone and bone tools, Shaws Creek near Yarramundi (60 kms north-west from Sydney), NSW.
Sea levels begin to rise as ice caps melt. Inland lakes such as Lake Mungo have dried up.
| 13,000 yearsEdit
Land bridges between mainland Australia and Tasmania are flooded. Tasmanian Aboriginal people become isolated for the next 12,000 - 13,000 years.
At Kow Swamp near Cohuna, 230 kms north of Melbourne, Victoria, Aboriginal people wear kangaroo teeth headbands similar to those worn by men and women in the Central Desert in the 19th century.
| 10,000 yearsEdit
Present day Australian climate establishes.
Aboriginal people at Wyrie Swamp near Millicent, 340 kms south-east of Adelaide, South Australia, use returning boomerangs to hunt waterfowl.
| 8,000 yearsEdit
The Torres Strait Islands are formed when the land bridge between Australia and New Guinea is submerged by rising seas.
Earliest visible evidence of Aboriginal belief connected with the rainbow Serpent. This becomes the longest continuing belief in the world.
| 5,000 yearsEdit
Occupation site, Penrith Lakes (about 50 kms west of Sydney), NSW.
Coastline of Australia takes its present form. Rottnest Island (off Perth, WA), previously connected to mainland Australia, becomes an island.
Settlement of Pacific Islands.
Dingo arrives in Australia. Rottnest Island, WA Rottnest Island, Western Australia. Aboriginal people saw the island when it was still connected to the mainland.