Non one is sure when the Aborigines first arrived in Australia, but it was at least 50,000 years ago. The oldest dated site so far discovered is in Kakadu National Park, which was occupied about 50,000 years ago. The first settlers must have arrived by boat and it seems likely that people living in southest Asia gradually made their way south, sailing from island to island until they reached the shores of Australia. The land the first Aboriginal settlers discovered was very different from Australia as it is today. It was larger as the sea levels were much lower and the island was much wetter, makingit more attractive ti humans.
The way of life of nomadic Aborigines had existed virtually unchanged for a least 2,500 human generations because of almost total isolation from the outside world. Before white settlement, the Aborigines were a diverse people occupying most of the continent. They spoke many languages and had different technologies. Their spiritual and cultural traditions varied, but because of their mutual sense of unity with the land and creation, they lived in comparative harmony.
There were about 600 Aboriginal tribes on the Australian mainland before European contact. A tribe was a group of people related by actual or implied genealogy, speaking a common language and occupying a recognized tract of land over which they hunted and gathered food. The tribes were subdivided by kinship, into clans. Each group lived within its out tribal boundaries, which they believed were allocated in the Dreamtime. Each tribe were reponsible for the protection and mainteneance of sacred sites within their territory and outsiders visited only by invitation. The tribes had no chiefs, only tribal elders, who because of their experience and wisdom, were considered suitable for making decisions and upholding laws. Proper behavior was demanded for every occasion and breaches of law brought severe penalties.
The economy was based ao daily activities of hunting, gathering seeds and fishing. Hunting, which was carried out in strict silence was considered to be men´s work, while the collecting of seeds was left to the women. Scarcity of food and water caused by drought was interpreted to mean that the spiritworld was displeased and that manmust make amends. Both the man and the women made and repaired tools.
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