Dreamtime is a term devised by early anthropologists to refer to a religio-cultural worldview attributed to Australian Aboriginal beliefs. It was used by Francis Gillen adopted by his colleague Baldwin Spencer and thereafter popularised by A. P. Elkin, however revised his views; the Dreaming is used to represent Aboriginal concepts of "time out of time" or "everywhen", during which the land was inhabited by ancestral figures of heroic proportions or with supernatural abilities. These figures were distinct from "gods" as they did not control the material world and were not worshipped, but only revered; the concept of the dreamtime has subsequently become adopted beyond its original Australian context and is now part of global popular culture. The term is based on a rendition of the indigenous word alcheringa, used by the Aranda people of Central Australia, although it has been argued that it is based on a misunderstanding or mistranslation; some scholars suggest that the word's meaning is closer to "eternal, uncreated."
Anthropologist William Stanner remarked: "why the blackfellow thinks of'dreaming' as the nearest equivalent in English is a puzzle", said that the concept was best understood by non-Aboriginal people as "a complex of meanings". By the 1990s, "Dreamtime" and "the Dreaming" had acquired their own currency in popular culture, based on idealised or fictionalised conceptions of Australian mythology. Since the 1970s, "Dreaming" and "Dream time" have returned from academic usage via popular culture and tourism and are now ubiquitous in the English vocabulary of indigenous Australians in a kind of "self-fulfilling academic prophecy"; the station-master and amateur ethnographer Francis Gillen first used the terms in an ethnographical report in 1896. With Walter Baldwin Spencer, Gillen published a major work, Native Tribes of Central Australia, in 1899. In that work, they spoke of the Alcheringa as "the name applied to the far distant past with which the earliest traditions of the tribe deal". Five years in their Northern tribes of central Australia, they gloss the far distant age as "the dream times", link it to the word alcheri meaning "dream", affirm that the term is current among the Kaitish and Unmatjera.
Early doubts about the precision of Spencer and Gillen's English gloss were expressed by the German Lutheran pastor and missionary Carl Strehlow in his 1908 book Die Aranda, who noted that his Arrente contacts explained altjira, whose etymology was unknown, as an eternal being who had no beginning. In the Arrernte tongue, the proper verb for "to dream" was altjirerama, i.e. "to see god". Strehlow theorised that the noun is the somewhat rare word altjirrinja, of which Spencer and Gillen gave a corrupted transcription and a false etymology. "The native," they concluded, "knows nothing of'dreamtime' as a designation of a certain period of their history."Strehlow gives Altjira or Altjira mara as the Arrente word for the eternal creator of the world and humankind. Strehlow describes him as a tall strong man with red skin, long fair hair and emu legs, with many red-skinned wives and children. In Strehlow's account, Altjira lives in the sky. However, by the time Strehlow was writing, his contacts had been converts to Christianity for decades, critics suggested that Altjira had been used by missionaries as a word for the Christian God.
In 1926, Spencer conducted a field study to challenge Strehlow's conclusion about Altjira and the implied criticism of Gillen and Spencer's original work. Spencer found attestations of altjira from the 1890s that used the word to mean "associated with past times" or "eternal", not "god". Academic Sam Gill finds Strehlow's use of Altjira ambiguous, sometimes describing a supreme being and sometimes describing a totem being, but not a supreme one, he attributes the clash to Spencer's cultural evolutionist beliefs that Aboriginal people were at a pre-religion "stage" of development, while Strehlow as a Christian missionary found presence of belief in the divine a useful entry point for proselytising. Linguist David Campbell Moore is critical of Spencer and Gillen's "Dreamtime" translation, concluding: "Dreamtime" was a mistranslation based on an etymological connection between "a dream" and "Altjira" which held only over a limited geographical domain. There was some semantic relationship between "Altjira" and "a dream", but to imagine that the latter captures the essence of "Altjira" is an illusion.
The complex of religious beliefs encapsulated by "Dreamtime" is called: "Ngarrankarni" or "Ngarrarngkarni" by the Gija people "the Jukurrpa" or "Tjukurpa" by the Warlpiri people and in the Pitjantjatjara dialect "the Ungud" or "Wungud" by the Ngarinyin people "Manguny" in the language Martu Wangka "Wongar" in North-East Arnhem Land "Daramoolen" in Ngunnawal language and Ngarigo language "Nura" in the Dharug languageIn English, anthropologists have variously translated words translated as "Dreamtime" or "Dreaming" in a variety of other ways, including "everywhen", "world-dawn", "Ancestral past", "Ancestral present", "Ancestral now", "Abiding Events" or "Abiding Law". Most translations of "Dreamtime" into other languages are based on the translation of the word "dream". Examples include Espaces de rêves in Snivanje in Croation. Related entities are known as Mura-mura as Tjukurpa in Pitjantjatjara. "Dreaming" is now used as a term for a system of totemic symbols, so that an indigenous Australian may "own" a spe
The black swan is a large waterbird, a species of swan which breeds in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia. Within Australia they are nomadic, with erratic migration patterns dependent upon climatic conditions. Black swans are large birds with black plumage and red bills, they are monogamous breeders, are unusual in that one-quarter of all pairings are homosexual between males. Both partners share cygnet rearing duties. Black swans were introduced to various countries as an ornamental bird in the 1800s, but have escaped and formed stable populations. A small population of black swans exists on the River Thames at Marlow, on the Brook running through the small town of Dawlish in Devon, near the River Itchen and the River Tees near Stockton on Tees. Described scientifically by English naturalist John Latham in 1790, the black swan was placed into a monotypic genus, Chenopis. Black swans can be found singly, or in loose companies numbering into the hundreds or thousands. Black swans are popular birds in zoological gardens and bird collections, escapees are sometimes seen outside their natural range.
Black swans are black-feathered birds, with white flight feathers. The bill is bright red, with tip. Cobs are larger than pens, with a longer and straighter bill. Cygnets are a greyish-brown with pale-edged feathers. A mature black swan weighs 3.7 -- 9 kilograms. Its wing span is between 2 metres; the neck is curved in an "S" - shape. The black swan utters a musical and far reaching bugle-like sound, called either on the water or in flight, as well as a range of softer crooning notes, it can whistle when disturbed while breeding and nesting. When swimming, black swans hold their necks arched or erect and carry their feathers or wings raised in an aggressive display. In flight, a wedge of black swans will form as a line or a V, with the individual birds flying with undulating long necks, making whistling sounds with their wings and baying, bugling or trumpeting calls; the black swan is unlike any other Australian bird, although in poor light and at long range it may be confused with a magpie goose in flight.
However, the black swan can be distinguished by slower wing beat. One captive population of black swans in Lakeland, Florida has produced a few individuals which are a light mottled grey color instead of black; the black swan is common in the wetlands of southwestern and eastern Australia and adjacent coastal islands. In the south west the range encompasses an area between Cape Leeuwin and Eucla, it is uncommon in northern Australia. The black swan's preferred habitat extends across fresh and salt water lakes and rivers with underwater and emergent vegetation for food and nesting materials. Permanent wetlands are preferred, including ornamental lakes, but black swans can be found in flooded pastures and tidal mudflats, on the open sea near islands or the shore. Black swans were once thought to be sedentary, but the species is now known to be nomadic. There is no set migratory pattern, but rather opportunistic responses to drought. In high rainfall years, emigration occurs from the south west and south east into the interior, with a reverse migration to these heartlands in drier years.
When rain does fall in the arid central regions, black swans will migrate to these areas to nest and raise their young. However, should dry conditions return before the young have been raised, the adult birds will abandon the nests and their eggs or cygnets and return to wetter areas. Black swans, like many other water fowl, lose all their flight feathers at once when they moult after breeding and they are unable to fly for about a month. During this time they will settle on large, open waters for safety; the species has a large range, with figures between one and ten million km2 given as the extent of occurrence. The current global population is estimated to be up to 500,000 individuals. No threat of extinction or significant decline in population has been identified with this numerous and widespread bird. Black swans were first seen by Europeans in 1697, when Willem de Vlamingh's expedition explored the Swan River, Western Australia. Before the arrival of the Māori in New Zealand, a related species of swan known as the New Zealand swan had developed there, but was hunted to extinction.
In 1864, the Australian black swan was introduced to New Zealand as an ornamental waterfowl and populations are now common on larger coastal or inland lakes Rotorua Lakes, Lake Wairarapa, Lake Ellesmere, the Chatham Islands. Black swans have naturally flown to New Zealand, leading scientists to consider them a native rather than exotic species, although the present population appears to be descended from deliberate introductions; the black swan is very popular as an ornamental waterbird in western Europe Britain, escapees are reported. As yet, the population in Britain is not considered to be self-sustaining and so the species is not afforded admission to the official British List, but the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust have recorded a maximum of nine breeding pairs in the UK in 2001, with an estimate of 43 feral birds in 200
Australian Aboriginal religion and mythology
Australian Aboriginal religion and mythology are the stories traditionally performed by Aboriginal peoples within each of the language groups across Australia. All such myths variously "tell significant truths within each Aboriginal group's local landscape, they layer the whole of the Australian continent's topography with cultural nuance and deeper meaning, empower selected audiences with the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of Australian Aboriginal ancestors back to time immemorial". David Horton's Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia contains an article on Aboriginal mythology observing: "A mythic map of Australia would show thousands of characters, varying in their importance, but all in some way connected with the land; some stayed spiritually in that vicinity. Others came from somewhere else and went somewhere else." "Many were shape changing, transformed from or into human beings or natural species, or into natural features such as rocks but all left something of their spiritual essence at the places noted in their stories."Australian Aboriginal mythologies have been characterized as "at one and the same time fragments of a catechism, a liturgical manual, a history of civilization, a geography textbook, to a much smaller extent a manual of cosmography."
An Australian linguist, R. M. W. Dixon, recording Aboriginal myths in their original languages, encountered coincidences between some of the landscape details being told about within various myths, scientific discoveries being made about the same landscapes. In the case of the Atherton Tableland, myths tell of the origins of Lake Eacham, Lake Barrine, Lake Euramo. Geological research dated the formative volcanic explosions described by Aboriginal myth tellers as having occurred more than 10,000 years ago. Pollen fossil sampling from the silt which had settled to the bottom of the craters confirmed the Aboriginal myth-tellers' story; when the craters were formed, eucalyptus forests dominated rather than the current wet tropical rain forests. Dixon observed from the evidence available that Aboriginal myths regarding the origin of the Crater Lakes might be dated as accurate back to 10,000 years ago. Further investigation of the material by the Australian Heritage Commission led to the Crater Lakes myth being listed nationally on the Register of the National Estate, included within Australia's World Heritage nomination of the wet tropical forests, as an "unparalleled human record of events dating back to the Pleistocene era."Since Dixon has assembled a number of similar examples of Australian Aboriginal myths that describe landscapes of an ancient past.
He noted the numerous myths telling of previous sea levels, including: the Port Phillip myth, describing Port Phillip Bay as once dry land, the course of the Yarra River being once different, following what was Carrum Carrum swamp. The Great Barrier Reef coastline myth in Yarrabah, just south of Cairns, telling of a past coastline which stood at the edge of the current Great Barrier Reef, naming places now submerged after the forest types and trees that once grew there; the Lake Eyre myths, telling of the deserts of Central Australia as once having been fertile, well-watered plains, the deserts around present Lake Eyre having been one continuous garden. This oral story matches geologists' understanding that there was a wet phase to the early Holocene when the lake would have had permanent water. Other volcanic eruptions in Australia may be recorded in Aboriginal myths, including Mount Gambier in South Australia, Kinrara in northern Queensland. There are 900 distinct Aboriginal groups across Australia, each distinguished by unique names identifying particular languages, dialects, or distinctive speech mannerisms.
Each language was used for original myths, from which the distinctive words and names of individual myths derive. With so many distinct Aboriginal groups, languages and practices, scholars cannot attempt to characterise, under a single heading, the full range and diversity of all myths being variously and continuously told, elaborated and experienced by group members across the entire continent; the Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia observes: "One intriguing feature is the mixture of diversity and similarity in myths across the entire continent." The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation's booklet, Understanding Country, formally seeks to introduce non-indigenous Australians to Aboriginal perspectives on the environment. It makes the following generalisation about Aboriginal myths and mythology: "...they describe the journeys of ancestral beings giant animals or people, over what began as a featureless domain. Mountains, waterholes and plant species, other natural and cultural resources came into being as a result of events which took place during these Dreamtime journeys.
Their existence in present-day landscapes is seen by many indigenous peoples as confirmation of their creation beliefs..." "The routes taken by the Creator Beings in their Dreamtime journeys across land and sea... link many sacred sites together in a web of Dreamtime tracks criss-crossing the country. Dreaming tracks can run for hundreds thousands of kilometres, from desert to the coast may be shared by peoples in countries through