Australia’s Red Centre

The red monolith of Uluru is the major landmark in Australia’s red centre. You may know it’s sacred to the aboriginal people and that it turns amazing colours at sunrise and sunset. But it isn’t the only landmark in the region, which has its own unique history and legends. Let’s travel way back in time and visit the original red centre.

A totem is an important tribal object or symbolic thing treated with respect and used in rituals.

Before Europeans came, aboriginal tribes inhabited all of Australia. They each had their own territory, own language, social structure and ceremonies and own totem such as the turtle, snake or eagle. Special events were celebrated with people dancing to the sounds of clapsticks and the didgeridoo. They had few possessions because of the need to move often to find food. They lived in natural cave shelters or built simple bark mia mias.

The men hunted fish, kangaroos, goannas and other animals while the women gathered nuts, berries, roots and honey. They were very healthy living in harmony with nature.

Unfortunately the European settlers brought diseases against which the indigenous people had no resistance. They also introduced animals which destroyed small native animals as well as their habitat. Many of the early colonists around the coast argued with the aborigines over land and the fighting led to the extinction of some groups.

If something that is not a living thing (human, animal) is ‘kept alive’ it means something is done so people remember it. ‘Native Americans keep their local traditions alive by holding a festival every year.’

Those in areas such as central Australia were safer. By the time German missionaries arrived at Hermansberg near Alice Springs attitudes were changing. Translations were made of the unfamiliar local language of Pitijanjara which was only spoken. This has been kept alive so we know some of their interesting history and mythology. Unfortunately today most of the tribal elders who knew these stories have died. The younger generation have been influenced by white settlers, intermarriage and a way of life which seems more appealing. Very few aborigines still live in the traditional way.

Spirits were thought to live in everything in nature such as rocks, trees, caves, waterfalls etc. The largest monolith in Australia, Uluru, (also known as Ayers Rock) was honoured as the spiritual centre of the country. At different times of the day the rock, a major tourist attraction, changes colour from mauve in the distance to beige colours at midday and glowing red at sunset. Guided tours around the bottom show permanent pools and caves once used for aboriginal ceremonies.

Nearby Katatjuta, formerly known as The Olgas, is just as fascinating. The large rounded hills also seem red at sunset but look blue in the morning. They have a more mysterious feel.

Other inspiring rock formations in the red centre include Kings Canyon, Chambers Pillar, Rainbow Valley and the many gorges of the Macdonnell Ranges. Each gorge has its special characteristics, with tall coloured rock walls, interesting caves and huge ancient trees growing by the pools.

Artists, photographers and tourists love to see the beautiful landscape of central Australia with its red desert sandhills, plains, ancient eucalypts and dramatic rock formations all under a clear blue sky. This is the beating heart of Australia.

Original article by Janet Baird – Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

Word List Bubble

Australia’s Red Centre Quiz: Medium

Start

Congratulations - you have completed Australia’s Red Centre Quiz: Medium.

You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%.

Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%


Your answers are highlighted below.
Return
Shaded items are complete.
12345
End
Return

The red monolith of Uluru is the major landmark in Australia’s red centre. It is sacred to the aboriginal people and it changes colours at sunrise and sunset. But it isn’t the only landmark in the region. Let’s travel back in time and visit the original red centre.

A totem is an important tribal object or symbolic thing treated with respect and used in rituals.

Before Europeans came, aboriginal tribes lived in all of Australia. They had their own land, own language and ceremonies and own totem such as the turtle, snake or eagle. Special events were celebrated with dancing and music. They didn’t have many things because they needed to move often to find food. They lived in caves or built simple houses.

The men hunted fish, kangaroos, goannas and other animals while the women gathered nuts, berries, roots and honey. They lived in harmony with nature.

Unfortunately the European settlers brought diseases which the tribal people sometimes died from. Many of the early colonists around the coast argued with the aborigines over land and the fighting led to the extinction of some groups.

People thought that spirits lived in everything in nature such as rocks, trees, caves, waterfalls etc. The largest monolith in Australia, Uluru, (also known as Ayers Rock) was honoured as the spiritual centre of the country. At different times of the day the rock, a major tourist attraction, changes colour from mauve in the distance to beige colours at midday and glowing red at sunset.

Nearby Katatjuta is just as fascinating. The large rounded hills also seem red at sunset but look blue in the morning. They are very mysterious.

Other rock formations in the red centre include Kings Canyon, Chambers Pillar, Rainbow Valley and the many gorges with tall coloured rock walls.

Artists, photographers and tourists love to see the beautiful landscape of central Australia with its red desert sandhills, plains, old eucalypts and dramatic rock formations all under a clear blue sky. This is the beating heart of Australia.

Original article by Janet Baird – Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

Word List Bubble

Australia’s Red Centre Quiz: Mild

Start

Congratulations - you have completed Australia’s Red Centre Quiz: Mild.

You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%.

Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%


Your answers are highlighted below.
Return
Shaded items are complete.
12345
End
Return

The red monolith of Uluru is the defining landmark of Australia’s red centre. You may know it’s sacred to the aboriginal people, and that it turns some spectacular colours at sunrise and sunset. But it isn’t the only landmark in the region, which has its own unique history and legends. Let’s travel way back in time and visit the original red centre.

A totem is an important tribal object or symbolic thing treated with respect and used in rituals.

Before European settlement, aboriginal tribes inhabited all of Australia. Each had its own territory, own language, strict social structure and ceremonies and its own totem such as the turtle, carpet snake or eagle. Special events were celebrated in corroborees where naked bodies were painted with ochre designs and bare black feet stamped in the dirt to the rhythm of clapsticks and haunting sounds of the didgeridoo. They had few possessions because of the need to move campsites from time to time following seasonal food sources. They used natural cave shelters or built simple bark mia mias.

The men hunted with their spears and nulla nullas for fish, kangaroos, goannas and other animals while the women gathered nuts, berries, roots and honey. They were very healthy living in harmony with nature.

Unfortunately the European settlers brought diseases against which the indigenous people had no resistance. They also introduced rabbits, foxes, cats, cane toads and other feral species which spread and destroyed small native animals as well as their habitat. Many of the early colonists around the coast did not appreciate the aboriginal culture and disputes over territory led to the extinction of a number of tribal groups.

Those in more remote areas such as central Australia were safer. By the time German missionaries arrived at Hermansberg near Alice Springs attitudes were changing. Translations were made of the unfamiliar local language of Pitijanjara which was oral only. This has been kept alive alongside English. Thus we have some access to their rich oral history and mythology. Unfortunately today most of the tribal elders who held these stories have passed on. The younger generation have been strongly influenced by white settlers, intermarriage and a way of life which seems more appealing. Very few aborigines still live in the traditional manner even though a close association with country still exists.

Because the environment in central Australia is clear and unpolluted, stars in the night sky seem almost close enough to reach. Aborigines used to observe the heavens closely and had a thorough understanding of the movements of the moon, planets and constellations at different times of the year. The sun controlled all life on earth. Therefore many Dreamtime stories revolved around these movements. In aboriginal mythology, Dreamtime is the sacred era in which ancestral spirits created the world. Certain stars were regarded as the souls of ancestors living on forever.

If something is revered, it is honoured with admiration and respect.

Spirits were considered to inhabit everything in nature such as rocks, trees, caves, waterfalls etc. It is not surprising that the largest monolith in Australia, Uluru, (also known as Ayers Rock) was revered as the spiritual centre of the country. Situated not far from Alice Springs, Uluru rises like a sleeping giant from the surrounding red desert plains. At different times of the day the rock, a major tourist attraction, changes colour from mauve in the distance to beige tones at midday and glowing red at sunset. Guided tours around the base reveal permanent pools and caves once used for aboriginal ceremonies. Helicopter flights over Uluru show the upended sandstone layers formed at the beginning of geological history.

Nearby Katatjuta, formerly known as The Olgas has different origins but is equally fascinating. The large rounded domes clumped together also appear red at sunset yet appear blue in the morning. They have a more mysterious feel. As you wander through the valley of the winds enclosed by steep sides it is easy to understand why the aborigines used to regard this area as having such spiritual significance.

Lifeblood is something that is extremely important to a large group. ‘Donations are the lifeblood of non-profit organizations. They need people to give them money so they can help others.’

Other inspiring rock formations in the red centre include Kings Canyon, Chambers Pillar, Rainbow Valley and the many gorges of the Macdonnell Ranges. Most of the gorges have permanent waterholes which would have been the lifeblood for the aboriginal tribes once living in this area. Each gorge has its special characteristics, with towering coloured rock walls, interesting caves and huge ancient river gums reflecting in the pools. Flocks of squawking white corellas roost in the trees, lizards sunbake on the rocks, wallabies shelter in the shade and dingoes howl at night.

Artists, photographers and tourists are naturally drawn to the striking landscape of central Australia with its rich red desert sandhills, spinifex plains, ancient eucalypts and dramatic rock formations all under a clear blue sky. This surely is the beating heart of Australia.

Janet Baird – Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Word List Bubble

Australia’s Red Centre Quiz: Spicy

Start

Congratulations - you have completed Australia’s Red Centre Quiz: Spicy.

You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%.

Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%


Your answers are highlighted below.
Return
Shaded items are complete.
12345
End
Return

Leave a comment





+ six = 12