Emu Dreaming: An Introduction to Australian Aboriginal Astronomy

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Astronomy is more than just stories - it means a quest to understand the patterns in the sky and the motion and eclipses of the sun, moon and planets.

Emu Dreaming: An Introduction to Australian Aboriginal Astronomy gives you an easy-to-read introduction to what we know about Aboriginal Astronomy, and the current state of research into this area.

Each of the 400 different Aboriginal cultures in Australia has a distinct mythology, ceremonies, and art forms, some of which have a strong astronomical component. Many share common traditions such as the “emu in the sky” constellation of dark clouds, and stories about the sun, moon, Orion, and the Pleiades. Several use the rising and setting of particular stars to indicate the time to harvest a food source, and some link the sun and moon to tides, and even explain eclipses as a conjunction of the sun and moon.

These traditions reveal a depth and complexity of Aboriginal cultures which are not widely appreciated by outsiders. Emu Dreaming explores the mystical Aboriginal astronomical stories and traditions, and the way in which these are used for practical applications such as navigation and harvesting. It also describes the journey of exploration which is opening Western eyes to this treasury of ancient Aboriginal knowledge.

Can we answer the question: Were the Australian Aboriginal people the world's first astronomers?



The Milky Way and the Emu

The Magellanic Clouds

Sun, Moon, and Eclipses

Calendars and Constellations

Morning Star, Evening Star

Astronomical measurements


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Cite this page

Korff, J 2020, Emu Dreaming: An Introduction to Australian Aboriginal Astronomy, <>, retrieved 22 April 2024

Creative Spirits is a starting point for everyone to learn about Aboriginal culture. Please use primary sources for academic work.

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