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Today we like to tell you something about Australien's natives. The most scientists believe, that the beginning of the Aborigines was about 40,000 years ago. People from Indonesia came to Australia. This was possible, because of the lower sea level. The Aborigines did not build houses; they walked from place to place to hunt animals. By contrast to other tribes and races Aborigines did not grow the land. They lived from fire-stick farming. This means, that they burn controlled their land to hunt animals. Aborigines didn't think that they are the owner of the land they live on. At that time the population of the Aborigines laid between 300,000 and 1,000,000. Today live almost 380,000 Aborigines in Australia. But only 50,000 count to the "full blood Aboriginals". A white person can expect to live for 72 years, an Aborigine for only 56. The Aborigines were hunter and collector. They use Boomerangs to knock out and kill their prey. A boomerang is a important hunting tool. It is a flat, curved piece of wood. The special thing is, when it is thrown properly it returns to the thrower. There are many boomerangs used for different jobs. The heavier, non-returing boomerang was used for hunting. And the largest boomerang is up to two metres in length and were also used as a general tool around the camp. The well-known returning boomerang is light and thin and was only used by a limited number of tribes. It flies because of highly complicated aerodynamic principles. Hunting was limited to killling birds and hitting animals from a distance to send them towards traps. They have always known how to find food and water in areas where white explorers died. Almost 300 different languages were used by the Aborigines. Today there are about 50.
After arriving of the European settlers
At the settlement Australia was seen as terra nullius (the land of nobody). Captain James Cook was one of Britain's greatest sailors. He was given command of three great voyages of exploration round the world and visited many lands that no European had ever seen before. He took scientists with him so that they could study new plants and animals. Cook visited New Zealand and was the first European to land on the coast of Eastern Australia. He called the landing spot 'Botany Bay' because there were so many plants and animals there. Cook was killed by Hawaiians in 1779 over an argument about a stolen boat. In 1836 the settlers decided, that the Aborigines were not able to use their land. The rights of the natives were no longer valid. Since then Aborigines were treated like an inferior race, who should die. They were forced to leave their land. Aborigines were hunted, poisoned and shot dead by the Europeans. The settlers brought alcohol and drugs to Australia. Since than to many Aborigines booze to death. Between 1860 and 1940 the Europeans tried to hold the Aborigines in reservations to force the white lifestile on the natives. Many missions worked for "smoothing of the pillow on the black man's death bed". This means, they wanted to speed up the die out of the black in Australia. Than the settlers wanted to integrate the Aborigines. Till 1970 government and church seperated the children of the black from their parents. At foster parents they should learn the white way to live. The white Australians found it difficult to give the natives all civil rights. Till 1961 Aborigines weren't allowed to vote. Aborigines were not given full equality till 1967. Since 1980 the separation of the races at schools has been falled down. 1993 they got parts of their land back in the form of reservations. In 1999 the Europeans rejected that the Aborigines were the first people in Australia. Today the most Aborigines have no real home. About the half of them live in the country and about a quarter live in the city. Their social situation isn't very good. 38% of them are unemployed. Aborigines form 30% of the country's prisoners. Today the most work in the mining industry, or work in the tourism.
The culture of the Aborigines
The Aborigines have a very long tradition. They have many holy places like hills and rivers and they believe, that nobody should touch the land. A holy place, for example is Ayer's rock, or like the Aborigines say Uluru. But since the arriving of the white settlers they couldn't save their land. But not only holy places are a very important part of their tradition. Most of the traditions are a part of the dreamtime. Dreamtime or dreaming is a word for their belief like the world was created. It describes how the land was formed and living things were created. Legends of the dreamtime are different from tribe to tribe. The dreamtime is very detailed and complicated. Chess is said to be a child's game in the comparison to the details and rules of the dreamtime. Every Aborigine has a special bird or animal totem and is not allowed to hunt or eat this. Many dances repeat the dreamtime and are part of the dreamtime themselves. Aborigines join the past to their life today in a dimension of life that does not seem to exist in the West Eeuropean's experience. A spirit never dies but is reincarnated with a new child.This connects each person strongly to his past and hiis environment. The tjuringas symbolise the dreaming for the Aborigines. Tjuringas are very special sacred stones and often represent the owner's totem animal or his spirit. Some tribes make wooden tjuringas which they also use as bullroarers. The name bullroarer comes from the noise they make when tied to a piece of string and swung in circles around the head. This noise was used to keep unwanted people away from sacred ceremonies and areas. But in less than 200 years their traditional way of life and culture have been almost completly destroyed. Sadly, most white settlers were interested neither in the Aborigines themselves nor their culture. Aborigines often come in conflict with state governments and the mining companies.