Aboriginal people always have had a
deep adoration and respect for nature and have never tried to impose
changes on it, so there was no agriculture or stockbreeding. They
consider Nature the holy legacy of their ancestors from the Dreamtime.
This is in the Aboriginal mythology the sacred time of creation,
when their ancestors in form of humans or animals wandered throughout
the world and gave the earth its geographical shape and created
all living things. The major and most popular mythological being
is the Rainbow Serpent (or snake), a being of immense proportions,
which resides in a deep waterhole and controls the most precious
resource of life - water. Many regional different stories and legends
entwine around this spirit and some describe it as the creator of
mountains and valleys during the Dreamtime.
In 1770 James Cook arrived the fertile east coast of Australia
and formally took possession of the land as British Colony New South
Wales and soon after that, Australian's fate as a British penalty
colony was sealed. When in 1788 the first British fleet with 700
prisoners on board arrived, there, where Sydney is today, approximately
750,000 Aborigines lived in Australia. They were considered fair
game, were driven from their land, massacred and murdered and had
their children taken away. A long period of suffering began.
Today about 464,000 Aborigines live in Australia, about 70% in
cities. They have equal rights now and each region of the country
is represented by an Aboriginal district administrator. Some of
the Aboriginal people even successfully reclaimed their ancestral
land. However, despite of government supported programs, their living
standard and life expectancy is low and only around 10,000, mainly
in the Northern Territory, stay in direct contact with their traditional
Aborigines are proud of their culture and try to cultivate their
heritage. They want to get more involved in cultural tourism, because
it means they can present their culture and benefit economically.
One of the priority aspirations Rainforest Aboriginal people have
is, to get secure title to their traditional lands to ensure the
integrity and survival of their culture, just as to hunt and to
gather in the traditional way.