From the archives of the Indigenous community

Milky Way - Private Collection Image 
Milky Way, Private Collection. 

Like the other ancient peoples of the world the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have constructed oral narratives of the celestial bodies that appear in the Australian night sky. There are many narratives about the celestial bodies. Some of the celestial bodies have many interpretations. Thus, the same celestial body can have different interpretations in different parts of Australia. Because of the different language groups the celestial bodies also have different names across Australia.
Aboriginal astronomy is social-cultural astronomy and unlike modern astronomy it is not appropriate for it to be tested by the same methods of modern science or try to infer scientific interpretations from the narratives. It is a belief system and it is classified under other knowledge traditions.

As Justice von Doussa wrote in his judgement of the Hindmarsh Island Affair, "Spiritual beliefs do not lend themselves to proof in strictly formal terms. Their acceptance by true believers necessarily involves a leap of faith. To use lack of logic as a test to discredit those asserting a particular spiritual belief is to pose a test that is both unhelpful and inappropriate".

The information given here is available on open access to members of the public in the National Library of Australia, State and University libraries. The knowledge belongs to the First People of Australia and is common knowledge to them. Some knowledge is secret knowledge and we will not know the content of it except by those who are entitled to know it. The content that appears here has been vetted by a number of members of the First People of Australia. Teachers are welcome to use it in the preparation for their teaching lessons for the new Australian Curriculum. Ragbir Bhathal, Les Vozzo and Terry Mason are researching and working on curriculum material on Aboriginal studies, including Aboriginal astronomy which has relevance to the new Australian Curriculum which is being implemented in schools throughout Australia. 

Students who wish to do postgraduate studies in Aboriginal Astronomy & Education should contact Dr Ragbir Bhathal

We welcome information and corrections to the information that is presented here. Please send your email to