Publication Details

Griffiths, B., Russell, L. & Roberts, R. (2017). Friday essay: when did Australia's human history begin?. The Conversation, 17 Nov 1-6.

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The Conversation


In July, a new date was published that pushed the opening chapters of Australian history back to 65,000 years ago. It is the latest development in a time revolution that has gripped the nation over the past half century. In the 1950s, it was widely believed that the first Australians had arrived on this continent only a few thousand years earlier. They were regarded as "primitive" - a fossilised stage in human evolution - but not necessarily ancient. In the decades since, Indigenous history has been pushed back into the dizzying expanse of deep time. While people have lived in Australia, volcanoes have erupted, dunefields have formed, glaciers have melted and sea levels have risen about 125 metres, transforming Lake Carpentaria into a Gulf and the Bassian Plain into a Strait.