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HISTORICAL USE OF LAND interactions and relationships with the Australian environment as expressed by indigenous cultures.

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Presentation on theme: "HISTORICAL USE OF LAND interactions and relationships with the Australian environment as expressed by indigenous cultures."— Presentation transcript:

1 HISTORICAL USE OF LAND interactions and relationships with the Australian environment as expressed by indigenous cultures

2 The Gunai Tribe  "Gunai" (sometimes written "Kurnai") is the name of the tribal group which inhabited the Gippsland region for at least 18,000 years.  The five clans are Bratwoloong (1), Brayakooloong (2), Brabuwooloong (3), Tatungooloong (4) and Krowathunkooloong (5).

3  Mostly the people lived in harmony with one another, meeting for corroborees which involved marriages and initiation ceremonies, dancing, feasting and trade of goods such as stones suitable for axe making.  The area around Cann River and Mallacoota was the country of the Bidawal. People from tribes all over what is now Victoria and southern NSW who had breached tribal law were sent into Bidawal country for a period of exile

4 Perception  Indigenous Australians perceived the land in terms of worship. The land owned the people as much as they owned to land. Aboriginals perceived that the environment was their own being and whom they were inherently linked to. Each had a responsibility to care for and protect the land. They saw themselves as part of the environment along with animals, plants and the non-living elements. Aboriginal people have a spiritual association with the land and sea which is core to their cultural values.

5  The Mountains are very old and an ongoing life force that strengthens the ancestral link of our people. We have a living, spiritual connection with the mountains. We retain family stories and memories of the mountains, which makes them spiritually and culturally significant to us.  Our people travelled from many directions over long distances to gather peacefully on the mountains for trade, ceremony, marriages, social events and to settle differences. The cycle of life and many seasons influence the movement of our people through the mountains to the sea and the desert. The stars, clouds, sun and the moon guided people to and from places of importance. These travel routes continue to be used and spoken about today…  Extracts from: Kosciuszko National Park 2004, ‘Draft Plan of Management’, A Statement from the Kosciuszko Aboriginal Working Group

6 Understanding  It is evident that indigenous Australians had a very good understanding of the Australian environment. This was reflected in their land uses

7 Fire Stick Farming  Fire stick farming involves burning small areas of land in a patchwork pattern to reduce the incidence of larger more devastating fires. Burning promotes regrowth which advantageous to plants, animals and humans. To frequent burning off may be responsible for the many grasslands and woodlands present when the Europeans arrived.

8 Fire stick farming  Fire-stick farming is the way that Indigenous Australians used fire regularly to burn the land. This helped hunting by herding the animals into particular areas, and also caused new grass to grow which attracted more animals. Over many years it changed the types of plants and animals that lived in an area.  Fire-stick farming had turned scrub into grassland, which increased the numbers of grass eating animals such as the kangaroo. Scientists say that the changes caused by fire- stick farming caused the extinction of the Australian megafauna.

9  In the forests, fire-stick farming opened up clear areas and let more plants grow at ground level. This increased the number of animals that could feed on these plants, such as the herbivore marsupials. It was Used to keep understorey down and made hunting easier  Burns were relatively cool and did not have a huge impact on the land, however it is believed to have contributed to the decline of fire sensitive plants and shaped the environment to be as it is today.

10 Seasonal calendar and movements  Nature itself provided the Aboriginal calendar - blossoms appearing, stars and their patterns of movement, temperature and seasonal conditions and the appearance and disappearance of insects and animals.  The calendar was essential for survival and the organisation of Aboriginal people's lives. The calendar, number of “seasons" in it and the distinguishing features of each, vary greatly from region to region.  When the different climates of Australia is considered - the northern tropics to the vast deserts of the inland to the snow- capped mountain ranges of the southeast - it is not surprising that the many different communities not only had different languages and cultures, but different calendars.

11  The Gunai/Kurnai tribe and the Yatmathang tribe used the touring route between Omeo and Bruthen as their traditional travelling route, which we now call the Great Alpine Road. Other routes used were via the Dargo High Plains & Mitta Mitta River.  One of the major reasons why this route was travelled so much, was for the migration to food sources, the Lakes in the cooler months, and the foothills in the Summer.  The Bogong Moth or 'Cori' was one of the abundant delicacies that was sought. The tribes got together in this area also not just for feasting but for trade, song & story telling, betrothals and feuding.

12 Hunting and gathering  The Gunai tribe collected food by hunting and gathering. They moved with the seasons to ensure that they did not exhaust supplies  All of Australia's Aboriginals were semi-nomadic hunters and gatherers, with each clan having its own territory from which they 'made their living'. These territories or 'traditional lands' were defined by geographic boundaries such as rivers, lakes and mountains. They understood and cared for their different environments, and adapted to them.

13  “We cultivated our land, but in a way different from the white man. We endeavoured to live with the land; they seemed to live off it. I was taught to preserve, never to destroy.”  Nomadic approach had very little impact on the natural environment

14 Conservation zones  The establishment of conservation zones/areas allowed animals to reproduce  At risk environments were protected due to the aboriginal’s beliefs that saw this area protected: closely related to their dreaming  Animal overflow from these areas meant that the aboriginals had animals to hunt. These areas were marked by natural boundaries.

15 Management practices  Sustainable – due to use of fire and migration of tribal groups in search of seasonal foods  Detailed knowledge of all aspects of the land and its flora and fauna. Indigenous Australians whole lifestyle reflected their role of caretakers of the land  Low population and mobility meant very little impact on the land. The land was valued; they never caused severe damage  The land belonged to various tribes; natural features defined boundaries.

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