1. The Indigenous population of Australia
prior to European settlement is generally estimated to be
Most published estimates are in the vicinity of 300,000.
Of course, no-one really knows what the original population
was in Australia and estimates have been generated by literature
research and extrapolation.
2. At the time of European settlement, there were approximately
how many distinct Indigenous languages spoken in Australia?
It is generally accepted that there were about 200
distinct Indigenous languages and 600 dialects spoken in Australia
at the time of European settlement. Many are no longer in
use and a handful are still widely spoken in Central Australia
and the Top End of the Northern Territory. The take home message...
there isn't one Aboriginal language but many.
3. Before European settlement of Australia, the Indigenous
people lived in harmony with the land, were peaceful nomadic
hunter-gatherers who never warred against each other, and
enjoyed a life free of diseases.
Indigenous Australians have long been romanticed by
the West and for a time, the notion of the "Noble Savage"
prevailed. However, the reality is that Indigenous Australians
are not unlike other peoples throughout the world. They exploited
the land and its resources, sometimes changing the landscape
as a result (there is a current debate as to whether the Australian
Megafauna were hunted to extinction by the ancestors of today's
Australian Aborigines). Tribes, clans and family units fought
against each other during the early settlement era, and it
is not inconceivable that this happened before the arrival
of Europeans on the continent we now call Australia. And archaeologists
suggests that human populations in Australia suffered from
a variety of ailments and diseases, from studies of ancient
human skeletal remains.
4. ATSIS, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services,
was established in 1 July 2003 out of a perceived need for
separation of powers within ATSIC, the
Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Commission.
5. Generally speaking, compared to the average Australia,
the life expectancy of an Indigenous Australian today is (mark
all correct answers):
d. 20 years lower due to complicating factors
including dispossession, lower socio-economic status and living
conditions sometimes resembling Third World countries
Whilst there is evidence of improved health outcomes
for Indigenous Australians living in 'outstations' where lifestyle
is traditionally-oriented, in the main the average Indigenous
Australian has a life expectancy 20 years less than the average
Australian. Renal failure, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases
plague Indigenous communities in many parts of Australia.
6. Which of the following statements about the Aboriginal
flag are false (mark all that apply)?
a. It has the colours green and gold
b. It has the colours black, white, yellow and
a and b are false (the Aboriginal flag has the colours
black, yellow and red), and c, d and e are true.
7. Olympic swimming champion and multiple World record
holder, Ian Thorpe (complete sentence and mark all correct
c. visited Katherine, Northern Territory, in
e. has established a charity called Ian Thorpe's
Fountain for Youth
c and e are correct.
8. Who was Australian of the Year in 1978?
a. Galarrwuy Yunupingu
9. Vegemite is a commercial food product derived from
Aboriginal knowledge of yeast and fermentation processes.
10. Who was the Australian Federal Government's first
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs?
Willian Charles (Bill) Wentworth or
Bill Wentworth was appointed in 1968 as the first Minister
for Aboriginal Affairs, though there was no department under
him. A few years later, with a change in government and under
the leadership of Whitlam, a Department of Aboriginal Affairs
was established, with Gordon Bryant appointed as its first
Minister for that department.
11. David Gulpilil is best known as:
a. an actor
12. The Yolngu cultural bloc is in:
b. north-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory
13. Northern Territory's Arnhem Land (mark all correct
b. is private property owned under special
c. is Aboriginal land
d. is inalienable land
f. can be leased to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
b, c, d and f are correct.
Arnhem Land was declared an Aboriginal Reserve in 1931.
It is the largest Aboriginal Reserve in Australia. In 1976,
with the passing of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, government
"reserves" in the Northern Territory including Arnhem Land
automatically became Aboriginal Schedule One land.
Because of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976, Arnhem Land
is now Aboriginal land and is private property owned under
special freehold title. It is inalienable meaning that it
cannot be bought, acquired or forfeited. However, the land
can be leased. Communal title to the land is formally vested
in Aboriginal Land Trusts comprised of Aboriginal people who
hold the title for the benefit of all the Aboriginal people
with a traditional interest in the land.
14. The celebrated ethnomusicologist Alice Marshall Moyle
was born in which country?
e. South Africa
Moyle was born in 1908 in Bloemfontein in South Africa.
15. The Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (AIAS)
was established in which year?
1961 and 1964 are both acceptable though 1964 is not one
of the multiple choice alternatives. "The Institute commenced
in 1961 with an interim Council. An Act of Parliament in 1964
established The Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies
(AIAS), with a twenty-two member Council and a foundation
membership of one hundred. The Institute's activities resulted
in increasing interaction between scholars in different fields,
and the field 'Aboriginal studies' began to take shape"
- (AIATSIS website).
16. Which of these four is least like the other three?
d. Melaleuca cajuputi
Melalauca cajuputi is the odd one out as it is not used
by Aboriginal people to make into didgeridoos, whereas the
other 3 species are.
17. The NLC, an Aboriginal organisation, is an abbreviation
d. none of the above
The NLC is an abbreviation for the Northern Land Council.
a, the Northern Lands Council, is incorrect.
18. The NLC's jurisdiction includes which of the following
e. Mulgurram outstation
Papunya is in the zone of the Central Land Council, Bathurst
Island is the responsibility of the Tiwi Land Council, and
Groote Eylandt is the jurisdiction of the Anindilyakawa Land
19. According to a recent paper by Prof. Jon Altman, the
'fourth pillar' for sustainability in Indigenous arts is:
The paper referred to is "Developing an Indigenous
Arts Strategy for the Northern Territory: Issues Paper for
Consultations with Practitioners, Organisational and Bureaucractic
Stakeholders, April-May 2003".
20. A national conference on Australian Indigenous arts
in 2002, held in Adelaide, recommended, amongst other things,
stronger protection of Indigenous Intellectual and Cultural
Property. With regards to the didgeridoo, the conference report
stressed the urgency in protecting the didgeridoo because
(mark all correct answers):
a. non-Aboriginal people are making and selling
the instrument for profit
b. Aboriginal people without the didgeridoo as
part of their cultural tradition are making and selling the
instrument for profit
d. commercial demand is having an impact on the
didgeridoo's cultural integrity
e. commercial demand is having an impact on the
The conference was the Fourth National Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Visual Arts Conference.
21. Which of the following four is least like the other
Niwuda is the odd one out as the other
3 are names related to the Dhuwa moiety Ancestral Honeybee.
Niwuda is Yirritja.
22. A non-Aboriginal person adopted into Aboriginal culture
has all the rights and priviledges of an Aboriginal person
including ownership of land, ceremony, and sacred designs.
Whilst non-Aboriginal visitors to Indigenous
communities are often 'adopted' into Aboriginal families,
this does not constitute any rights or priviledges as far
as ownership of land, ceremony and sacred designs are concerned.
23. Yolngu didgeridoo makers spend a considerable amount of
time and effort in tuning their instruments which accounts
for the acoustic superiority of their work.
Yolngu craftsmen do not place much emphasis on tuning
an intrument. Instead, much time is spent on seeking an appropriate
tree to harvest to make into a didgeridoo... a suitable tree
with the correct dimensions and shape will be in tune if cut
in the right place and of the right length. Occasionallly,
a craftsman will cut short lengths from either end of the
finished instrument to raise the note of the fundamental key
of the drone.
24. A didgeridoo player not born into Yolngu culture will
find it difficult to play in the traditional styles and techniques
of the Yolngu because (mark all correct answers):
c. many years of practice are needed to learn
25. The didgeridoo is a male-oriented instrument in Aboriginal
society because (mark all correct answers):
d. strong gender divisions mean that men's
and women's roles are different
26. In a song by George Rrurrambu, of Warumpi Band fame,
b. a barge
27. Which of the following sets consist of individuals who
have both played yidaki in one or more tracks in the
Yothu Yindi band's albums (mark all correct answers)?:
a. Milkayngu Mununggurr, Makuma Yunupingu
b. Gurrumul Yunupingu, Gapanbulu Yunupingu
d. Rrawun Maymuru, Yomunu Yunupingu
28. Which of these four is least like the other three?
Guyingarr, meaning "cold" in the Yolngu language,
is the odd one out. The other 3 are Yolngu words for water
of various states of saltiness.
29. Complete the following verb sequence:
bathan, bathul, bathar, bathana
Bathan is the Yolngu present tense verb form for "cook"
or "set fire to". Bathul is the future and imperative
verb form, bathar is the today past form, and bathana
is the distant past form of the verb.
30. Complete the following sentence:
Luku is to dhapathung as liya is to djonggu
In the Yolngu language, luku is foot and dhapathung
is shoe, so djonggu or bathapu' (hat) is
the natural extension of liya (head).
31. 'Manymak', in the Yolngu language, can mean (mark
all correct answers):
e. thank you
32. What are two of the principles driving Djalu's Rripangu
autonomy, bridging cultures
33. In north-east Arnhem Land, one effect of the moiety
division is that (mark all correct answers):
e. none of the above
The moiety division has no effect on the type of tree used
to make a didgeridoo. Dhuwa didgeridoo makers may cut both
Dhuwa and Yirritja trees on both Dhuwa and Yirritja lands,
and the same applies to a Yirritja didgeridoo maker. A didgeridoo
made from a Dhuwa tree may be used in either a Dhuwa or Yirritja
ceremony, and a didgeridoo made from a Yirritja tree may be
used in either a Dhuwa or Yirritja ceremony.
34. With regards to the 'skin' or malk system in north-east
Arnhem Land, which of the following statements are false (mark
all that apply):
a. In theory and in practice, Balang' can only
marry Ngarritjan and Bulanydjan, and not any other
b. If my biological father is Gamarrang, I must
be either Burralang, Galigali, Balang or Bilinydjan
d. Gela is a colloquial term for Burralang and
e. The 'skin' system has been used by Yolngu peope
for centuries if not longer to organise society and to regulate
a, b, d and e are false. Ngarritjan and Bulanydjan
are the preferred marriage partners of Balang', but Balang'
may also marry women not of these two skins whom he calls
"galay" (mother's brother's daughter or mother's
mother's brother's daughter's daughter). If my father's skin
is Gamarrang, I am not necessarily Burralang, Galigali, Balang
nor Bilinydjan but what I am will depend on my mother's skin
as the skin system is matrilineal. Gela is a colloquial term
for Burralang but not for Galigali. The skin system was adopted
by the Yolngu of north-east Arnhem Land probably some time
in the 19th century. Ronald M. Berndt, the doyen of Australian
Aboriginal anthropology suggests that it was introduced from
the south and south-west. In Yirrkala in the 1940s, the old
people did not use the skin system much.
35. Ngapipi (mother's brother) can also be called:
gawal , mori' and ngathi'mirringu.
36. Robert Mirabal, acclaimed Native American musician,
performed with which Australian Indigenous group in Santa
Fe in 1999?
The White Cockatoo Performing Group.
37. What is the Yolngu term for describing the brother-sister
38. Learning the didgeridoo 'mouth sounds' of traditional
rhythms will allow a didgeridoo player to easily play traditional
"Mouth sounds" are merely sounds used to assist
in learning and practising the structure and beat of a rhythm,
and are not a true reflection of the actual techniques used
to play the rhythms.
39. String figures are made in parts of the Northern Territory,
predominantly by women. The following string figure, recorded
in Yirrkala, represents what?
This string figure was photographed and collected by Frederick
D McCarthy in Yirrkala in 1948.
40. An eccentric entrepreneur and keen photographer travelled
through Arnhem Land on a bicycle in the early part of the
20th century. What was his name?
Edward Reichenbach or Ryko as he was more