History, Language & Culture Australia
Human habitation of the Australian continent is known to have begun at least 65,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia.The Madjedbebe rock shelter in Arnhem Land is recognised as the oldest site showing the presence of humans in Australia.The oldest human remains found are the Lake Mungo remains, which have been dated to around 41,000 years ago.These people were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual cultures on earth.
At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest that a population of 750,000 could have been sustained. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime. The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited sporadically by Makassan fishermen from what is now Indonesia.
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