Articles

Islanders’ deadly inheritance

The wobble walk was an early sign of the Groote Eylandt “sickness” for Bakala. Police officers have been known to mistake the walk for public drunkenness. It wasn’t so long ago that Groote locals with the sickness were mistakenly thrown into paddy wagons, too panicked to slow down and concentrate on their words so they could explain themselves.

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Throw a sea cucumber on the barbie: Australia’s trade history really is something to celebrate

There is evidence fishermen from Makassar, on what is now the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, were visiting the coast of what is now Arnhem Land to collect sea cucumbers as early as the mid-1600s to sell to Chinese merchants. The fishermen camped on the beach to boil and dry their caught trepang, and exchanged goods with the local Indigenous tribes.

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Why do so few Aussies speak an Australian language?

Linguistically speaking, Australia is special. With around 250 languages spoken when Australia was first colonised, Australia was one of the most linguistically diverse places in the world. But few people speak our Indigenous languages. As of 2016, only 10% of Australia’s Indigenous population spoke an Indigenous language at home. Most Indigenous languages are now “asleep”, waiting to be woken up by language revivalists.

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How to keep your house cool in a heatwave

Should you open or close your house to keep cool in a heatwave? Many people believe it makes sense to throw open doors and windows to the breeze; others try to shut out the heat. Listen to talk radio during a hot spell and you are likely to hear both views.

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Teleporting and psychedelic mushrooms: a history of St Nicholas, Santa and his helpers

The original Santa, Saint Nicholas, was a fourth century CE bishop of Myra (in modern Turkey) with a reputation for generosity and wonder-working. St Nicholas became an important figure in eighth century Byzantium before hitting pan-European stardom around the 11th century.

He became a focus not just for religious devotion, but Medieval dramas and popular festivals – some popular enough to be suppressed during the Reformation

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