How Did Australia Begin: A Land of Ancient Stories.

Australia is a land of enchanting nature and mysterious history. As one of the world’s oldest countries and continents, it has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. For around 60,000 years or more, human beings have been living, thriving, and surviving on this unique land. In this article, we will explore the history of how Australia began and how its ancient stories provide evidence of its fascinating past.

The Dreamtime and Creation Stories

According to the Aboriginal people, the earliest human memories and traditions revolve around ‘The Dreamtime,’ which is also referred to as ‘The Dreaming.’ In many Aboriginal cultures, the name for Dreaming is Tjukurpa, pronounced as ‘Chook-orr-pah.’ It refers to the creation stories of their land, people, and beliefs. The Dreaming describes how the land, people, and living things were created by their ancestors during a time when the earth was being formed. The stories pass down the knowledge of creation, the complex relationship of living things with the land, and traditional way of life.

Aboriginal stories are multifaceted and varied, but many share the common themes of creation and the power of the land. For instance, the Aboriginal people believe that the iconic shape of Uluru (Ayers Rock) came about from ancestral spirits turning to stone after an enormous battle. Another story tells how the Rainbow Serpent forged rivers and valleys while slithering across the land during the Dreamtime.

The Creation of the World

Aboriginal people tell a story of a world created by the creator spirits – the Rainbow Serpent, Biami (Rain and Thunder), and Baiame. In their creation story, the creator spirits roamed the earth to form the land, the sky, and everything else in between. After creating the land, they created animals and various creatures before finally forming humans. To ensure that their creation continues, the spirits created various rules and ceremonies that humans must follow to maintain the balance of nature.

Other Dreaming Stories

The Aboriginal people have countless Dreamtime stories that describe how nature, animals, and humans were created. Each story imparts valuable lessons and serves as a connection to the ancestral heritage. Other Dreamtime stories include:

  • How the kangaroo came to be.
  • How Uluru was formed.
  • How the Great Barrier Reef was formed.
  • How the Milky Way came to be.
  • How fire was created.

The Arrival of the British

While the Aboriginal people have been in Australia for over 60,000 years, the British arrived on the continent in the late 18th century. Australia, at that time, was seen as an asset, which led to British expansionism. The British government wanted to establish settlements in Australia, where they could imprison the growing number of convicts they had, and gain land to boost the country’s resources. On 26th January 1788, the ‘First Fleet’ of British ships arrived in Sydney, which eventually led to the colonization of Australia.

The Impact of Colonization

Over time, the colonization of Australia had a significant and detrimental impact on the Aboriginal people. The coming of the British led to conflict, displacement, and the loss of cultural heritage. The Aboriginal people also suffered from diseases brought over by the British, such as smallpox and influenza, which caused a significant decline in population. The British also claimed ownership of the land that belonged to the Aboriginal people, depriving them of their life and culture.

Reconciliation and Recognition

While the British colonization of Australia had a devastating effect on the Aboriginal people, the government has since acknowledged its past wrongs and made efforts towards reconciliation. In 1992, the Australian government recognized the importance of the Aboriginal people’s rights and formulated the Native Title Act. This legislation served as a way of recognizing and compensating Aboriginal people for their loss of land and culture.

Ancient Land with an Interesting Beginning

It’s fascinating to study the history of Australia and the ancient stories that piqued the curiosity of many around the world. The Aboriginal people have a profound connection with the land that has sustained them for thousands of years. Australia’s history is unique and diverse, filled with countless ancient stories that continue to be passed down through generations. This land has endured so much, from creation stories to British colonization, and it’s important to respect and appreciate those stories for what they are – a part of Australia’s rich history.

Most Common Questions and Their Answers About How Australia Began

  • Question: What is the Dreamtime?
  • Answer: The Dreamtime, also called The Dreaming, is a term used to describe the creation stories of Aboriginal Australians. It is a part of Aboriginal culture, traditions, and way of life.
  • Question: What is the creator spirits in Aboriginal creation stories?
  • Answer: The creator spirits are supernatural beings who created the universe and everything in it. They are central to the Aboriginal Dreamtime stories and serve as the foundation of the traditional beliefs and way of life.
  • Question: When did the British arrive in Australia?
  • Answer: The British arrived in Australia in 1788 in present-day Sydney. The British came to Australia with the aim of establishing settlements and expanding their colonial territories.
  • Question: What impact did colonization have on Australia’s Aboriginal people?
  • Answer: Colonization had a significant impact on Aboriginal people, including displacement, the loss of cultural heritage, and a decline in population due to European diseases. The British also claimed ownership of Aboriginal land, leading to various conflicts and disenfranchisement.
  • Question: How has the Australian government sought reconciliation and recognition?
  • Answer: The Australian government has recognized the mistreatment of Aboriginal people and has made efforts towards reconciliation. This includes creating legislation that acknowledges the rights of Aboriginal people, such as the Native Title Act, and creating partnerships between the government and Aboriginal communities.


  • Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. (2021). The Dreamtime.
  • History. (2021). British Colonization of Australia.
  • Reconciliation Australia. (2021). Understanding reconciliation.

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