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Australian Indigenous Astronomy

“How wonderful in a world of flux and unpredictability, the travels of the stars also tell an earth story” – Deborah Rose Bird (2006)


Australian Indigenous Astronomy is the study of how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people understand and interpret the night sky and astronomical phenomena. For thousands of years this nuanced understanding of astronomy helped Indigenous people navigate country, predict weather and keep time. Their understanding of astronomy also informs Indigenous law, social structure, dance and ceremony. 

Australian Indigenous Astronomy is an interdisciplinary subject combining science, history, anthropology and archeology, and sits under the broader field of cultural astronomy. 

The purpose of this Resource Guide is to to provide educators, academics and interested readers with a firm grounding in this subject area by collecting a range of resources, in various mediums, in one place.  

This Resource Guide is divided into Dreamings with significant astronomy themes, Media, Books, Cultural Competency and Astronomy basics. All resources are open source or accessible from the libraries.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that this guide may contain images and voices of deceased persons.


We Don't Need a Map

In this documentary, Samson and Delilah director Warwick Thornton explores the Southern Cross constellation and its current representation as a symbol of exclusion among white Australia, a far cry from the spiritual significance the constellation embodies to Australian Aboriginal groups.