ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The 50,000 Year Old People from the Bottom of the World

Updated on May 22, 2014

The Mystical Aboriginals

Tasmanians Settle in Australia

The triangle-shaped island south of the eastern mainland of Australia is known as Tasmania. The last pure-blooded Tasmanian died in 1876. However, many of Australia's aborigines are of Tasmanian ancestry. As the ancestral Tasmanians made their way north to Australia's mainland, their cultural imprint remained alive. Several waves of Australian blackfellows with African ancestry followed shortly after

The first inhabitants of Tasmania traveling over land sea to settle the 26,215 square mile island and the northern, eastern and southeastern coasts of Australia. These aborigines re classified as part of the Australoid subdivision of mankind. This racial type was also originally differentiated in the Malaysian region north of Australia. Australoids spread over a wide area as indigenous people of southern India, Malaysia, Australia and coastal New Guinea.

Aboriginal Settlers

These seafarers brought the dingo, a species of dog not native to Australia. They were food gatherers, hunters, fishermen and required a territory with a permanent supply of fresh water. For a time the numbers of an original aborigine group increased. This caused a limitation on food supplies and subgroups to emerge to find a new food-gathering center. Food gathering among these aborgines created a nomadic life that kept them relatively isolated.

From Subgroups to Tribes

As the subgroups became divided into 500 tribes, each tribe had its own language, dialect and territory. Each other possessed peculiarities of social organization and custom. Each tribe was identified by a single name even when subgroups continued to split off from the tribal unit. The main focal point for the tribes was usually a local watering hole where they shared common history, pre-existent cultural heritage and became a general source of life for tribesmen and their animals. These were to become ancestral mythical places where their forebears and heroes rituals, exploits and deaths occurred.

Nature, Clans and Totemism

Tribal organizations included totemism, clans and membership determined by ancestral descent. Some tribes were divided into "moieties" (halves) and others had a complex system of division into four or eight sections. These sections could also be imposed on moieties and given names, sometimes for animal species like the emu, kangaroo or duck. In turn, these became part of the group's totem. Interestingly, the group's totem was thought to be 'of the flesh" of the group and therefore, meant that two people from the same totemic group could not marry. The totemic group also did not hurt, kill or eat one's "flesh" or social totem.

Aboriginal Totemic Beliefs

If a totem appeared in an aborigines dream, it was in the "waking life" to warn of danger. It could also be a sign of a needy relation or to strengthen the relation in illness. In addition to humans in the totemic belief, each clan included other natural species, phenomena and objects. Aborigines belief the relationship to nature is the same as the relationship between men thus requiring reciprocal and expected behavior patterns. As in many totemic cultures, aboriginal totemic belief were largely patriarchal and patrilineal. Males were expected to go through a long period of rigid discipline in their adolescence.

Within the belief system of aborigines, re-enactments of acts of heroism and myths were vital, some of which were kept a secret among the clans with tribes. Dreams played an important role in the myticisms of these native people. They sought to understand the meaning of life, death, illness, accidents through chanting and the performance of certain magical rites like "pointing a bone" or hurling "invisible magic stones" in the direction of their victim.

Other More Deadly Forms of Sorcery

Although Aborigines described other more deadly forms of sorcery, they were never actually practiced. One example is extracting the "caul fat" or blood from a heart in a way that left no mark. Nor, was the victim aware of what happened until he died a few days later. When the aborigines could find no explanation for illness and death, sorcery provided a physiological theory.

The Clever Man With the Bone

Given the Aborigines strong belief in the ties between men, animals and all living things, a clever man or medicine man was charged with the duty of effecting cures. He would do this by withdrawing a bone or some other evil object. He was believed to have the ability to interpret communications from spirits of the dead. The Medicine Man could also decide blame for a death or injury usually upon the general approval of his decision by tribesmen.

The Medicine Man could perform a nocturnal dance called a "Corroboree." He painted his face with ashes and ochre to give rest to the spirits of the dead. A postulant studying to be a Medicine Man often passed through particularly terrifying initiation based on the themes of death and restoration. Initiation was followed by contact with the sky world and with the world of the spirits and the dead.

The Medicine Man also interpreted dreams and often practiced telepathy as well as mass hypnotism. Thus, the Medicine Man played an extremely important role in the lives of tribesmen.

Music and Dance of Aborigines

Another important aspect of Aboriginal life was art, music and dance as it related to their social and religious lives. A nocturnal song and dance fest took place whenever several groups camped together. Men with painted bodies danced to markedly energetic rhythms while women stood in the background moving their arms and bodies rhythmically. In Arnhem Land, the peninsula in the Northern Territory, songmen were specialists in a follow-on type of harmony with a developed fugal structure.

Rhythm was kept by beating sticks against each other or on the ground, tapping boomerangs together or hitting the things or buttocks with cupped hands. This created a unique, remarkable rhythmic control. Only one wind instrument, the didjeridu, a hollow piece of wood or bamboo 4 or 5 feet long and 1 1/2 inches in inside diameter was used. It produces only two notes, a tenth apart.

Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal art consisted of rock paintins, bark paintings, rock engravings and composite and carved wooden figures mainly for totemic and initiation rituals. All aboriginal weapons, implements and ornaments painted to ensure heroic efficiency related to the mythological period of dreaming.

Other Aboriginal Customs

In aboriginal culture, the custom of tree stage exposure is the first phase of burial, following by ritual disposal of the bones. In Arnhem Land, unique fertility-mother concepts developed in myth and ritual. Mother hero, in human form led her bands of men and women or brought their pre-existent spirits into various tribal territories. By her rituals caused natural species to appear.

Aboriginals are distinctively unique in their religious beliefs, lifestyles and strong mythical values. Though they appear to be primitive, many of the basic beliefs have proven them to be highly sophisticated in sociological survival and highly intelligent.

It can be said that a civilization of 50,000 years may, in fact, be more highly sophisticated by virtue of the ancient genome they possess. The mirror image may make their belief system appear alien to the modern world. Yet, what lies hidden in their culture may be the secret to the earliest known survival instincts and intelligent sensitivity to nature at its most basic level.

The Corroboree dance ritual performed by Australian Aborigines.
The Corroboree dance ritual performed by Australian Aborigines. | Source


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      2 years ago

      No problem, it was a long shot question.

    • Ewent profile imageAUTHOR

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 

      2 years ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Robert, No. I'm sorry. I don't have that information. I do know though that they speak several languages, depending on which tribes they are part of.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      2 years ago

      An interesting article about this ancient people. Do you know if their oral history has ever been tested? For example an earlier accounting of their oral history matched up against a current account of their oral history.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)