The Aboriginal Australian culture is the oldest surviving culture in the world. When Europeans arrived on the Australian continent in the 17th and 18th Centuries they encountered a people who were living as they had for over 40,000 years. The first Australians arrived on the oldest continent on earth where resources were scarce and they eked out an existence which relied heavily on respecting the country and living in harmony with each other. In his seminal work The Future Eaters Tim Flannery discusses how this evolution took place.
The indigenous culture was largely dismissed as primitive and of little meaning by the early European immigrants to Australia. But more recently discerning people have come to realise the complexity, diversity and strength of the Australian Aboriginal cultures. Australians and travelers from elsewhere in the world are eager to learn about Aboriginal art, languages, skills, customs, ceremonies and stories before they are forgotten or lost.
One way in which this rich vein of history and culture can be and is being preserved is by making it of commercial value by sharing it with the world through Aboriginal experience tourism. There are a multitude of excellent tourism ventures all over Australia which introduce elements of Indigenous culture to visitors to Australia and locals alike.
One which has recently been internationally recognised for its excellence in providing genuine experiences is Uptuyu Aboriginal Adventures. Neville Poelina from Uptuyu was one of three global winners of the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit Tour Operator Scholarships, who received financial backing to attend a summit held in Namibia, Africa. Neville’s tours in the Kimberly of North Western Australia are custom designed and offer travelers the opportunity to visit a range of Kimberly locations and experience different aspects of Aboriginal life and history. Congratulations to Neville and I wish him the best in his endeavours to educate the world about his country and his stories.
Closer to my home in Sydney and NSW there are also some very good Aboriginal experience tourism operators. One that I use regularly and highly recommend is the Waradah Aboriginal Centre near Echo Point in Katoomba, The Blue Mountains. During the regular shows at the Waradah Centre Aboriginal dancing from around Australia is performed and explained and Didgeridoo playing is demonstrated and described. But the best part of the show is the personal segment where one or more of the indigenous performers talks to the audience about aboriginal life in the past and present, aboriginal mobs and languages, traditions, tools, skills and anything that wish to share. They welcome any questions and answer with a genuine sincerity.