Research on Indigenous astronomy covers a range of projects. We work closely with Aboriginal and Islander communities, educators, and industry partners. We also collaborate with Indigenous astronomy researchers at other universities. Here are some of our current projects.
Astronomical Knowledge and Traditions in the Torres Strait
Dr Duane Hamacher (Monash)
Dr Duane Hamacher was awarded a grant from the Australian Research Council to study Torres Strait Islander astronomy. He will chart Islander customs and traditions with a deep connection to the sun, moon, and stars. This will help Islanders continue longstanding traditions in developing knowledge about their place in the world.
Wiradjuri Astronomical Traditions of Central New South Wales
Trevor Leaman (UNSW) and Dr Duane Hamacher (Monash/University of Melbourne)
Trevor Leaman is conducting his PhD research at UNSW on the astronomical knowledge and traditions of the Wiradjuri people of NSW, under the supervision of Dr Hamacher and A/Prof Daniel Robinson. Working with communities across the Central West of NSW, this project is expanding our knowledge of Wiradjuri astronomy and providing educational materials for the community.
Astronomy and Songlines of the Saltwater People of New South Wales
Bob Fuller (UNSW) and Dr Duane Hamacher (Monash/University of Melbourne)
Bob Fuller is conducting his PhD research at UNSW on the astronomical knowledge and songlines of the saltwater people of coastal southeast Australia, under the supervision of Dr Hamacher and A/Prof Daniel Robinson. He is working with Aboriginal communities all along the NSW coast border to learn about the relationship between astronomy, songlines, and Dreaming tracks.
Aboriginal Astronomical Knowledge in Tasmania
Michelle Gantevoort (UNSW) and Dr Duane Hamacher (Monash)
Michelle Gantavoort completed her BA(Honours) thesis on the Aboriginal astronomical knowledge of Aboriginal Tasmanians at UNSW under the supervision of Dr Hamacher, for which she received a High Distinction. She is continuing to help study and reconstruct the fragments of astronomical knowledge from the early days of colonisation.
Cultural Competence for Astronomers
Carla Guedes (UNSW) and Dr Duane Hamacher (Monash)
Carla Guedes has completed her Master of Arts by research at UNSW in May 2019 and her thesis is now accessible (go to “Theses”, this website), under the supervision of Dr Hamacher and A/Prof Daniel Robinson. She explored cultural competence for astronomers to help them better understand Indigenous cultures and work with relevant communities, and used the issues surrounding the construction of the TMT in Hawai’i and the SKA in Australia as case studies.
Moon Haloes and Predicting Weather
Karlie Noon (ANU) and Dr Duane Hamacher (Monash/University of Melbourne)
Kamilaroi woman and astrophysics Masters student Karlie Noon is researching the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people observed Moon haloes to predict weather.
The Planets in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditions
Kirsten Banks (UNSW) and Dr Duane Hamacher (Monash/University of Melbourne)
Kirsten Banks, a Wiradjuri woman, is working on a research project with Dr Duane Hamacher to explore the myriad ways Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people observed the planets, their motions, and dynamics and what role these objects play in traditional cultures.
The Astronomical Traditions of the Murruwarri People
Krystal De Napoli (Monash), William Stevens (Sydney Observatory) and Dr Duane Hamacher (University of Melbourne)
Krystal De Napoli (a Kamilaroi woman studying an astrophysics degree at Monash University) and William Stevens (a Murruwarri man) are working with Dr Duane Hamacher to conduct an archival study of Murruwarri astronomical knowledge and traditions form northern New South Wales. This is primarily drawn form the original journals, field notes, and collections of Janet Mathews, a descendent of ethnographer R. H. Mathews.
Moon Cusps and Weather Prediction
Melissa Miles (Swinburne) and Dr Duane Hamacher (University of Melbourne)
Melissa Miles, an astrophysics student at Swinburne University, is conducting a project to examine correlations between rainfall throughout the year and the angle to which the cusps of the crescent Moon point. Traditions from around the world relate the angle of the crescent Moon to rainfall, so Melissa is testing this quantitatively to see if a correlation exists in each particular region.