Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of International, Cultural and Community Studies

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Pat Baines

Abstract

The people who claimed the great southern continent came from Britain, which was experiencing the industrial revolution, the Enlightenment, a new sense of nationalism and a drive to colonise. Australia was regarded as an uninhabited land. Colonisation brought with it a European form of ownership of land and a way of mapping the landscape on paper with finite borders for administrative purposes. Meanwhile Indigenous people had lived on the Australian continent for over 55 000 years. These lndigenous Australians had a way of life, which was completely different from the Western colonisers. They were very successful hunter-gatherers with complex beliefs and skills. Different groups sustained connections with, and lived in, an extremely wide variety of climates and habitats. Non-Indigenous researchers, including anthropologists, made observations and interpretations of Aboriginal culture. These observers used their own non-Indigenous backgrounds and perceptions, as well as consultation with Indigenous groups to map Indigenous countries. They encountered contradictory evidence and debated about the existence of both linear and amorphous boundaries between groups. How Australia's Indigenous people belong with the land is encapsulated in the Dreaming laws and is demonstrated through many aspects of Aboriginal social and spiritual life. These connections to land of he Yolngu from North-East Arnhem Land are compared with how groups from Central Australia connect to land. This investigation, using mainly ethnographic literature, will show how Aboriginal groups were interrelated with land and how social and spiritual aspects of life affected connections to land.

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