shoes doc martens Don’t brand our bush oldfellas a bunch of giant
Richard Brookdale calls his Aboriginal countrymen of 37,000 years ago from north west Queensland “the oldfellas from the bush”.
“They did the same things in the olden times as we do go out hunting for food,” he said.
His Waanyi people eat freshwater mussels similar to those eaten by ancient people whose stone tools found in the rock shelter at Riversleigh near Mt Isa have been dated at 37,000 years, making the shelter one of the oldest known human homes in Australia.
Garry Lord is equally philosophical about his own fieldwork at Cuddie Springs, a dry lakebed 85 kilometres south east of Brewarrina in far west NSW. There he has helped Sydney University archaeologist Judith Field develop her theory that Aborigines lived alongside giant kangaroos, emus and crocodiles for some 8000 years. Before he began excavating, sieving, recording and cataloguing there 12 years ago,
he had no idea huge bones were hidden in the soil.
Diprotodon was a giant wombat like creature that weighed three tonnes, was four metres from tip to tail and stood two metres high.
Modern scientists may say that people from over 30,000 years ago cannot be considered an individual’s ancestors on the basis of the same address. But the Aborigines she works with do not see it that way, Dr Field said.
This week nine Aboriginal collaborators, including Mr Brookdale and Mr Lord, visited Sydney University to see what happens to fossil material taken from their traditional country. They saw fragile 35,000 year old megafauna bones being cleaned and donned 3D glasses to view a shell magnified under an electron microscope.
They will attend the Australian Archaeological Association’s annual conference, which begins in Jindabyne today. Dr Flannery claims humans hunted them to extinction within 2000 years of arriving here. Dr Field believes she has evidence these early people did not hunt megafauna and that the two groups co existed between 36,000 and 28,
000 years ago.