About Australia

Kategorie: Geografia (celkem: 1046 referátů a seminárek)

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  • Přidal/a: anonymous
  • Datum přidání: 01. července 2007
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About Australia

Non one is sure when the Aborigines first arrived in Australia, but it was at least 50,000 years ago. The oldest dated site so far discovered is in Kakadu National Park, which was occupied about 50,000 years ago. The first settlers must have arrived by boat and it seems likely that people living in southest Asia gradually made their way south, sailing from island to island until they reached the shores of Australia. The land the first Aboriginal settlers discovered was very different from Australia as it is today. It was larger as the sea levels were much lower and the island was much wetter, makingit more attractive ti humans.
The way of life of nomadic Aborigines had existed virtually unchanged for a least 2,500 human generations because of almost total isolation from the outside world. Before white settlement, the Aborigines were a diverse people occupying most of the continent. They spoke many languages and had different technologies. Their spiritual and cultural traditions varied, but because of their mutual sense of unity with the land and creation, they lived in comparative harmony.
There were about 600 Aboriginal tribes on the Australian mainland before European contact. A tribe was a group of people related by actual or implied genealogy, speaking a common language and occupying a recognized tract of land over which they hunted and gathered food. The tribes were subdivided by kinship, into clans. Each group lived within its out tribal boundaries, which they believed were allocated in the Dreamtime. Each tribe were reponsible for the protection and mainteneance of sacred sites within their territory and outsiders visited only by invitation. The tribes had no chiefs, only tribal elders, who because of their experience and wisdom, were considered suitable for making decisions and upholding laws. Proper behavior was demanded for every occasion and breaches of law brought severe penalties.
The economy was based ao daily activities of hunting, gathering seeds and fishing. Hunting, which was carried out in strict silence was considered to be men´s work, while the collecting of seeds was left to the women. Scarcity of food and water caused by drought was interpreted to mean that the spiritworld was displeased and that manmust make amends. Both the man and the women made and repaired tools.

A spear, boomerangs, shields, digging sticks were made of wood, but the Aboriginals people had a detailed knowledge of the enviroment and of the behavior and lifecycles of animals and plants. In the past they did not have clocks or numerical calendars and used the changes in the enviroment to tell them when it was the right time for certain activities. Theyhad and still havea unique perception of the seasons in any enviroment. In the tropical north, for example, the Aborigines identify six seasons, when non-Aboriginals usually see only two – the Wet and the Dry. The seasons mark different phases of weather, winds, rains, tides, and the coming and going of animals and plants.
Traditionally, they believe, that the land was a gift from the Creator of the Dreamtime. The ancestral spirits came up out of the earth and down from the sky to walk on the land and they shaped its rocks, rivers, mountains, forests and deserts; they also created all the people, animal and plants. According to the tradition, peple are born of the spirit that inhabits the land, and that on dying they will return to the soil to be born again. Each person is thought to be descended from something in Nature, such as plant or an animal, and this becomes his or her ´totem´. Each totem has its own taboos and rules of behavior. The elders prescribed the spiritual form of ceremonial life, particuralry in the initation, marriage and burial rituals. The beliefs and traditions of Aboriginal people are reflected in Aboriginal art. In Australia there are traditions of painting and engraving on rock. Some engravings and paintings are thousand years old , other are relatively recent and are part of living tradition. The drawings, usually in red ochre, show elegant, graceful, stick-like human figures in action, fighting, running, dancing, leaping and hunting. The Aboriginal painters used ears colors – reds, browns and yellows, blac and white – from natural ingredients. Aborigines made a pictures of a wide variety of subjects including mythical beings, humans, birds, animals, fish, reptiles and animal tracks as well as more abstract designs. Many of them were connected with religion, ritual and ceremony. However, many paintings contain a vivid record of the daily life of the people who created them. Besides, the rocks painting and engraving, there is also the tradition of sculpture and carving producing items of wood, clay and fiber.

Mortuary poles and sculptures of ancestral beings and totemic birds and animals are still produced for ceremonial use, and at the same time many beautiful wooden implements were produced for use in everyday life – among them, coolamons, spear towers, boomerangs, shields and clubs. The Aborigines also made objects from animal and vegetable fibers – ritual objects, they made things for the survival – ropes, strings, strings bags, baskets and mats.

Aboriginal ate seasonals fruits, nuts, roots, vegetables, meats and fish, all varieties that were native to Australia and available in the area. The Aboriginals ate in different parts of Australia different foods – kangaroos, wallabies, posums, emus, and variety of birds, snakes, fishs, crabs, turtles, whales.. But the traditional food is insects – monts, worms, grubs,larvae.

Before Europeans came to Australia in 1788, 600-700 distinct ´tribes´had their own territory and their own language. In some parts of Australia the names of tribes were named according to the language they used. The names of a few tribes end in – wurung- - Thagawurung, Wuywurung. The 600-700 tribe nations spoke between 200-250 languages.
Australian languages have rather complex grammars, more similar to Latin and Greek than to English, and large vocabularies of several thousand words. Australian languages have a rich cultur heritage – long narrative and song cycles have been handed down from parent to child for thousand of years. Each tribe had its own song styles, which often had a special metrical pattern, and used special words, which were not used in the everyday language. Many tribes had a special ´avoidance´style of speaking, which had to be used in the presence of a relative with whom one could have only formal contact, according to the laws of kinship systems.
Many Aboriginal people are deeply concerned about the state of their languages, but there are some important means how to preserve them, like for example language centers, Aboriginal media associations, which broadcast radio and television programs in Aboriginal languages.

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