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26th of May 2021
ATNF Colloquium
Indigenous astronomy and Navigation
Ray Norris (WSU/CSIRO)
Abstract: Aboriginal people in Australia have a rich astronomical tradition such as the "Emu in the Sky" constellation of dark clouds, and stories about the Sun, Moon, and stars, revealing a depth and complexity of pre-contact Aboriginal cultures which are not widely appreciated by outsiders. Not only did they know the sky intimately, but they were familiar with planetary motions, tides, and eclipses. Their songs and stories show that Aboriginal Australians sought to understand their Universe in a similar way to modern science. They used this knowledge of the sky to construct calendars, songlines, and other navigational tools, enabling them to navigate across the country, trading artefacts and sacred stories. The image above is a bark painting showing sky-stories by Dhuwarriny Yunupingu of the Yolngu people.

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