Who lived here first and how do we know?

PLEASE NOTE: This case study contains names, images and/or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Case Study Overview

Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for thousands of years. There were hundreds of different groups or tribes speaking many different languages. They lived in different parts of Australia – coastal, desert, flat plains and tropical areas.

The Aboriginal people used the landscape for everything – for food, clothing, shelter, tools, medicines and belief systems. But how can we find out what their lives were really like 40,000 years ago?

In this unit you will try to find out about the lifestyles of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people before European settlement – how did they live and how do we know?

You will look at what archaeologists do to uncover the past and how changes to the landscape affected traditional Aboriginal lifestyles. You will also meet today’s Aboriginal people who continue to honour their strong relationship with the land.

This unit of study is presented as a website which includes interactive elements, videos, PDF and worksheets (in Word Doc format). The unit is compatible with computers and iPads.

Case study unit of work inquiry structure

  • Activity 1 Who lived here first and how do we know?
  • Activity 2 Who lived at Lake Mungo?
  • Activity 3 Lifestyle of Aboriginal people
  • Activity 4 The environment’s affect on Aboriginal people
  • Activity 5 How to make a possum rug
  • Activity 6 How to make a spear
  • Activity 7 Understanding a healing ceremony
  • Activity 8 Test your knowledge.

For Primary Students

• The Australian Colonies

Case Study Resources

  • Interactive website
  • Print Resources (PDF)
  • Worksheets (DOC)
  • High Quality Video
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