People and Culture

The Indigenous cultures of Australia are the oldest living cultures in the world, with evidence of an Aboriginal presence in Australia up to 60,000 years ago.

There are many different Indigenous cultures in Australia, made up of people from various Indigenous nations and speaking their own languages. Before the arrival of the first fleet in 1788, there were approximately 700 languages spoken throughout Australia. Consequently, what might be correct protocol for one Indigenous clan may not be correct for another, while some communities have a mixture of clans and customs.  In addition, different regions and clans of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have experienced different history with white settlement.

It is therefore important to understand the history and background of a region/person as well as gain knowledge of the appropriate cultural protocols in order to generate positive relationships.

The following information is provided to raise awareness of some cultural issues that may be encountered, and in particular, to provide strategies to ensure enjoyable and sustainable relationships.