10 Deadly Facts about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

We here at Wuchopperen Health Service know we are deadly (deadly means ‘good’ or ‘amazing’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander slang), and our Children and Family Centre team love showing our next generations just how deadly they are too.

So, we put our brains together, and 65,000 years of cultural knowledge (another freebie fact – Aboriginal people have been in Australia for at least 65,000 years with some scientists saying it could be closer to 120,000) to come up with ten deadly things we think you and your kids should know about us!

  • We are the oldest surviving culture in the world.

  • We have art older than the pyramids – Aboriginal rock art in Western Australia’s Dampier Archipelago is at least twice as old as the Pyramids of Egypt.

  • In addition, we have over 500 different languages/dialects.

 

  • Ancient Fish Traps found in Brewarrina in New South Wales may be the oldest man-made things on the planet!

 

  • In Torres Strait Islander cultures, when someone passes away we have a funeral. But, a few years later we unveil the headstone at the grave site and come together to celebrate the life of that person. This is a happy celebration of the things that person has done and the life they have led. We feel it is too sad to do something like this at the funeral.

 

  • There were, and continues to be many different roles in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Our society is filled with ancient knowledge and people who today we would call scientists that designed tools and implements, astrologists who knew the stars, architects who designed and built shelters, Law Men who oversaw the judiciary system, dieticians who knew what plants and animals were good for you, agriculturalists who cultivated the huge fields of native rice, yams and other foods and genealogists who maintained the kinship system.

 

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait art is very different between the regions of Australia. Most people are familiar with dot paintings which are normally from the Central Desert regions of Australia. Whereas in Far North Queensland, you are more likely to see geometric shapes. In Arnhem Land you will see a more x-ray style of painting. This is achieved by using long grasses as paintbrushes. However, in the Torres Strait, lino print carving is the most common style.

 

  • There are over 270 islands in the Torres Strait, with the northern most island only 4km from Papua New Guinea.

 

  • The Dhari is a traditional headdress worn and made by Torres Strait Islander men, made from feathers and other materials. It is often used in traditional ceremony and can vary from island to island.

 

  • The most common Aboriginal languages spoken are: Arrernte in Central Australia, Djambarrpuyngu in Arnhem Land, Pitjantjatjara in Western Desert Region, Warlpiri in the Northern Territory, Tiwi in the Tiwi Islands and Murrinhpatha in Wadeye in the Northern Territory. However, one of the most common languages is Kriol. It is a blend of English and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait languages.


 

Read more HERE.