Inquisitive

Ancient meets modern astronomy: Stargaze just like the Aboriginals did

Astrotourism WA is revisiting the wonders of the universe

While you may look up at the sky to admire its beauty, spot a plane, or see a pink moon, you might be missing the messages that are written in the stars.

That’s what the Aboriginal people believe, that the heavens above hold stories and can help explain the mysteries of the Dreamtime.

The Dreamtime is a spiritual belief system which marks the very beginning of time and existence for the Aboriginals, in a world that was made by their ancestors.

During this time, it is believed that the land and the people were created by the Spirits, who also provided hunting tools and gave each tribe its land, their totems and their dreaming.

Now, thanks to the wonders of technology, a new experience is combining old and new whereby you can immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture with modern astronomy.

[Credit: Astrotourism WA]

Astrotourism WA are pioneering a new movement that invites people to stargaze under Western Australia, where you can marvel at the brilliance of the Milky Way.

As well as working to protect the night sky, by reducing light pollution to share its incredible beauty, they are also busy recruiting indigenous people to help create an Aboriginal astronomy tourism trail to help younger generations learn about the magic of the skies from elders.

Speaking about their mission, founder Carol Redford – otherwise known as ‘Galaxy Girl’ – says she dreams of a day when Aboriginal people will sit around campfires with guests, sharing ancient stories and using modern technology to explore the universe together.

[Credit: Forgotten Origin]

The indigenous tribes are fundamental to understanding history, with archaeological experts Steven and Evan Strong dedicating their lives to show evidence that the Australian Original people sailed to and settled in America over 40,000 years ago and that they were the first Homo sapiens who evolved before the Sapiens of Africa, and who gave the world culture and language.

The father and son duo speak regularly about their work, with their latest What Comes Next conference coming soon on May 29 and 30.

Here, they will explore knowledge and research of their Out of Australia theory, and introduce a host of other speakers; notably Chris Blackmore, who studied Australian herbs and their properties, and Omar Faizi who will broaden the perspective of what the future holds for us.

[Credit: Carol Redford / Astrotourism WA]

The universe was not only part of Aboriginal culture from the Dreamtime era, it was also important to them for survival, gathering food, navigation and the movement of animals.

Let’s remember, they did not sleep in houses or hotels, they wholly and solely looked at the stars as they slept on the ground each night looking up at them using their light as guidance.

Carol said: “The sky has been really important to Aboriginal culture for tens of thousands of years. Aboriginal people were the first astronomers on Earth.

“The sky means so much to them, it means seasons and direction, when food sources are available, and it even relates to everyday life ­– cultural and traditional themes running through society.”

[Credit: Astrotourism WA]

Meanwhile, over at Beemurra Aboriginal Corporation – the first Aboriginal cattle business in the area – they hope the new initiative will provide opportunities for young people with employment.

Their chairwoman Madeline Anderson said she remembers being told stories by her own grandmother when she was little about the wonders of the skies.

Madeline said: “It is these stories that we can not only pass on and share, but it’s something that is part of who we are, it’s part of our identity.”

She added: “It gives us a sense of belonging and connectedness to the land… what we can do here is share this beauty.”

How beautiful is that, especially in our busy 24/7 world.

To get up close and personal with the stars, click here: Astrotourism WA.

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