Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Astronomy 

The First Nations cultures of Australia – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders – speak over 250 distinct languages and stretch back for over 65,000 years. This makes the First Australians the oldest astronomers and the oldest continuing cultures in the world. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people developed a number of practical ways to observe the Sun, Moon and stars to inform navigation, calendars, and predict weather. Australia’s First Nations people assign meaning and agency to astronomical phenomena, which informs Law and social structure. It also serves as the foundation for narratives that are passed down the generations through song, dance, and oral tradition over tens of thousands of years.

“Indigenous astronomy” is the first astronomy – the astronomy that existed long before the Babylonians, Greeks, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment. This website explores the many aspects of Indigenous Astronomy in Australia. Learn how Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities perceive various types astronomical phenomena, how elders read the stars, or watch videos of animations, dances, and songs related to the stars. You can find educational curricula, information about degree programs, and learn about the generation of Aboriginal students studying astrophysics who are quickly becoming the new faces and voices of this work.

The site will constantly improve and grow. Take some time to explore!

https://indigenousknowledge.research.unimelb.edu.au/themes/astronomy

Indigenous Astronomy now part of the National Curriculum

We are happy to announce that the new National Curriculum incorporating Indigenous Astronomical Knowledge is now available for teachers and educators via the University of Melbourne Indigenous Education web portal.  The 14 Units are aimed at Years 5 & 8, and show how Indigenous Astronomy can be incorporated into the seven learning areas of Science, Mathematics, The Arts, English, Technologies, Humanities and Health. Please take some time to explore.

Recent Publications

A Comparison of Dark Constellations of the Milky Way

by Steven Gulberg, Duane Hamacher, Alejandro Martin-Lopez, Javier Mejuto, Andrew Munro and Wayne Orchiston. British Archaeological Reports, (in press).

 

Baiami and the emu chase: an astronomical interpretation of a Wiradjuri Dreaming associated with the Burbung

by Trevor Leaman and Duane Hamacher. Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Vol. 22(2), pp. 225-237, 2019.

by Duane Hamacher, John Barsa, Segar Passi and Alo Tapim. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, Vol. 131, pp. 24-33, 2019

 

Recent Media

Credits

Curator: Dr Duane Hamacher

Website Editor: Trevor Leaman

Web Developer: Sean Williams

Logo: Rae Cooper