History

Bennelong and Yemmerrawanyea singing in England

Bennelong and Yemmerrawanyea

In a townhouse in London's Mayfair, near Berkeley Square, two Aboriginal men sing in their own language 'in praise of their lovers'. Their voices rise above the repetitive beat of the two hardwood sticks they clap together to maintain the rhythm. They wear fashionable Regency breeches, buckled shoes, ruffled shirts and waistcoats. The year is 1793 and the singers are Bennelong and Yemmerrawanne, far from their Wangal homeland on the south bank of the Parramatta River in Sydney. This was certainly the first time an Aboriginal song was performed in Europe ... Read more about Bennelong and Yemmerrawanyea singing in England

Aboriginal 'circus performers' carted through USA and Europe

A gruesome discovery revealed the fate of Tambo, an Aboriginal man put on show in the USA in the 1800s. The story begins in 1883 on Hinchinbrook and Palm islands, in Far North Queensland. Robert A. Cunningham, a recruiter for Barnum and Bailey’s circus, had traveled there to find subjects for his next show-stopping exhibition, Ethnological Congress of Strange Tribes. He sought to add to his collection of indigenous people, which already included Zulus from Africa, Toda from southern India, Nubians from southern Egypt and Sioux from the USA. Read more about Aboriginal 'circus performers' carted through USA and Europe

Revealing the science of First Nations fermentation processes

It is well documented that First Nations people knew how to make alcoholic drinks from sweet juices and nectars well before the European invasion, but little is now known about the processes involved, the yeasts and bacteria at work, or the chemistry, taste and smell of the plants and finished products, but now the University of Adelaide is investigating these traditional practices.
 

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Possibly the largest collection of First Nations Artefacts was destroyed in 1882 fire

An ethnographic exhibition of Indigenous artefacts and items that had been 'traded' by Aboriginal communities over the previous hundred years were in a seven-month-long exhibition, which received over one million visitors, the artefacts were placed in storage in the Garden palace. When the predominantly-wooden building burnt down three years later, these items and their inherent cultural links were lost.

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Why old theories on Indigenous counting just won’t go away

My Australian-educated friends tell me they were taught at school that all Aboriginal people only counted one, two, three, four and 'many' ... there is abundant evidence of complex Aboriginal number systems extending to high numbers.
 
So why do some people believe the generalised view that all Aboriginal people can't count beyond four when there is abundant evidence to the contrary?
 

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