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.
In the cultural warfare over whether January 26 should be retained as Australia Day, survey results are deployed like guided missiles. But what do Australians really think about the continuing debate?
In 1788 there were between 300 and 700 Indigenous languages spoken across Australia by millions of people, as shown in anthropologist Norman Tindale’s 1974 map. However in the Australian 2016 Census, only around 160 of these languages were reported as being spoken at home.
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.
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.
For Australians serving overseas in WWI, celebrations such as Christmas were particularly difficult, a reminder that the war had laid waste to their routines and taken them away from their families.
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
Granny, who lives interstate and whom the kids haven’t seen since last year, is visiting for Christmas. She loves the kids and is eager to scoop them up and smother them with kisses. The young children, who only have a vague memory of who she is, are wary and would rather keep an eye on this strange woman for the next few hours before committing to any physical contact.
It is essential for children’s mental health, well-being and overall development that they experience how to deal with disappointment well. But this can be difficult for parents to handle, particularly around holidays that have grown to involve consumerism, gift-giving and expectations.
Thirty years after Prime Minister Bob Hawke famously promised that by 1990 no Australian child would live in poverty, Bill Shorten has promised that, if elected, Labor will use a “root and branch review” to lift the rate of the Newstart unemployment benefit.