Only in Australia can you see and experience the oldest culture in the world. It is believed people settled in the Torres Strait Island around 20,000 years ago and on the mainland of Australia over 60,000 years ago. Archaeologists and scientists are still making new, valuable discoveries so the Australia’s First Nations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) culture may even be older!
The First Nations people were Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first artists.
In celebration and acknowledgement the library has gathered together some resources on truly remarkable sports people, artists, leaders and activists.
Mumu Mike Williams
Mr Williams was a renowned ngangkari (healer), pastor of the Mimili community church and political activist. He became a celebrated senior artist, addressing issues including governance, sustainable land management, the protection of sacred heritage sites, and the rights of Traditional Custodians.
He emerged from the cave of bats with the name given to him by his people. He was Jandamarra - a man of power who could appear and disappear like a ghost. Set in the Kimberley region in north-west Australia, this is the story of a young warrior born to lead. To the settlers, he was an outlaw to be hunted. To the Bunuba, he was a courageous defender of his country.
Read Jandamarra by Mark Greenwood
The real first eleven
In 1868 a determined team of First Nations cricketers set off on a journey across the world to take on England's best...Led by star all-rounder Johnny Mullagh, and wearing caps embroidered with a boomerang and a bat, they delighted crowds with their exceptional skill...From the creators of Jandamarra, this is the remarkable story of the real first eleven.
Read Boomerang and bat by Mark Greenwood.
Evonne grew up on a hot, dusty farm in Australia. She was the third of eight children, and descendant of the Wiradjuri people, who have lived on the land for more than 60,000 years. Her talent for tennis was discovered at a local tennis club, and before she knew it, the girl dreaming about the place called 'Wimbledon' was playing on centre court.
Read Evonne Goolagong by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
As a young Brisbane kid, Johnathan Thurston was written off as too skinny, too slow and too wild to play rugby league professionally. But he defied the odds to become one of the game's greatest players.
Read the young reader’s edition of his best selling autobiography JT: the making of a total legend.
Ever since Cathy was little she only had one dream — to win a gold medal at the Olympics. Beginning athletics at the age of 5, Cathy soon begin winning regional and national titles in a number of track events. At 16 years of age Cathy was the first Australian First Nations person to become a Commonwealth Gold medallist. Four year later she won two more gold medals and went on to win a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games. And finally at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Cathy realised her dream and won Gold in the 400 metres.
Read Cathy's biography Born to run on eBook.
David was an author, inventor, preacher and political activist and the first Australian First Nations author. Due to his obsession with the idea of developing mechanisms he radically changed the shearing tools that were used in 1909, making them more efficient. Due to his impact on Australian History he is featured on the $50 note.
Learn more about David in Britannica Library online. Simply use your library membership number to log in.
Read these books to learn more about Australia’s first people:
- Welcome to country: an introduction to our first people for young Australians by Marcia Langton.
- Young Dark Emu: A truer history by Bruce Pascoe
On the web
- Watch or stream Jarjums on NITV
- View the seasonal calendars to better understand the environment and the relationship between First nations people and the cycles of resources in the Northern Territory and Western Australia
- Explore how First Nations people understand comets and stars in their traditions through the Australian Indigenous Astronomy website.
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