The skies of Aboriginal Australia

When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, our sky is filled with billions and billions of tiny stars. Astronomers from all around the world have spent years studying these stars but none longer than Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal people have the world’s oldest continuous knowledge of the sky and stars. They were, and continue to be, experts in a variety of astronomy fields and as a result, have developed rich astronomical traditions, such as the 'Emu in the Sky'. Over the years, their knowledge has been used to construct calendars, song lines and other navigational tools, with many of these instruments still being used today.

This July, in celebration of NAIDOC Week, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead Precinct Education Hub and the Westmead Redevelopment project team, in collaboration with Aboriginal liaison officers across the Westmead precinct, will host a special event titled ‘The skies of Aboriginal Australia’ to explore Aboriginal astronomy.

The event will feature presentations, tradition songs and storytelling from a range of guest speakers and will also include information on how concepts of the skies of Aboriginal Australia are being integrated into new facilities at the Westmead precinct.

Key speaker Professor Ray Norris, an astronomer with CSIRO astronomy and space science and Western Sydney University, will discuss the knowledge that Aboriginal people have shared with him on the sun, the moon and the stars.

Shai Grigg, Aboriginal Liaison Officer at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead will perform traditional storytelling and Narelle Holden, Aboriginal Liaison Officer at Western Sydney Local Health District will perform a traditional star song.

‘The skies of Aboriginal Australia’ is a free public event and registrations are now open.

Event information

  • Date: Thursday, 5 July 2018
  • Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
  • Location: The Cabaret, Westmead Education and Conference Centre (WECC) Level 1, Westmead Hospital
  • Register: WSLHD-PMO@health.nsw.gov.au

Download a copy of the event invitation. If you cannot attend, a video will be made available following the event.

If you have questions about this event, please contact WSLHD-PMO@health.nsw.gov.au.