History of Aboriginal Australians: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kelley Lipke

Kelley has been teaching middle school for six years and has a master's degree in educational administration.

Thousands of years ago, a group of people, now known as Aborigines, settled on the island continent of Australia. In this lesson, learn about their unique culture and traditions, as well as some of the challenges they faced.

Settling In

Have you ever wondered how a country began or how certain family traditions came to be? If so, then you are ready to learn about the history of Australia!

The original settlers of Australia, known as Aborigines, came from Southeastern Asia more than 40,000 years ago. The Aborigines created unique cultural traditions that are still practiced by some Australians today. Keep reading to find out more!

Nomadic Way of Life

Aboriginal Australians lived a nomadic life as hunters and gatherers.

Aborigines lived a nomadic life. Rather than settling down in one location, they moved around from place to place. This type of lifestyle led them to become hunters and gatherers. This means they were always on the move, searching for food. They hunted wild animals and gathered plants to eat. Because they were often close to the ocean, fish was also a great food source.

Can you imagine not only needing to hunt for your food, but also having to make clothes and tools out of the trees found in your backyard? Aborigines didn't have stores, but they were able to make what they needed from natural resources. Bark from trees was used to build temporary homes, as well as tools and weapons.

Furthermore, the Aborigines were split up into smaller groups called clans. The people in a clan shared the same ancestors, much like a family. The clans would work together by trading with one another, which helped ensure everyone had what they needed to survive. Each clan also developed their own unique traditions.


Many cultures have a religion or set of beliefs, and the Aboriginal Australians were no different. They believed their ancestor spirits, who lived in an ancient time called the Dreamtime, created all life and developed laws to help guide human behavior. Dreamtime stories revealed information about cultural beliefs and traditions, and were passed on to later generations through storytelling, dancing, and painting.

Dreamtime stories are still shared among Aboriginal Australians today, linking them with their ancient ancestors and keeping tradition alive.

Painting of Dreamtime spirits

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