The Oldest Sites in Australia


Guugu Yimithirr

Nguunbarr click-im-gurrala animation nhaathinu. Wali 40,000 years ago bama bubu Australia warrga-ngamuwi nhin-gaalnggi.


Click to watch this animation. By around 40,000 years ago people lived in every part of the country.


Earliest occupation of Ngarrabullgan shelters is dated to about 40,000 years ago.


Earliest occupation at Madjedbebe rock shelter has been dated to about 65,000 old.


The oldest rock carvings at Murujuga have been dated to about 40,000 years old.


Human remains at Lake Mungo have been dated to about 45,000 years old.


Earliest occupation of Warreen Cave has been dated to more than 35,000 year ago.


Earliest occupation of Meekadarabee cave is dated to about 48,000 years ago.


Earliest occupation of Warratyi rock shelter is dated to about 49,000 years ago.


Earliest occupation of Allens Cave has been dated to about 40,000 years ago.


Guugu Yimithirr

Nguumbarr map click-im-gurrala binaal-mathinu nangguurrngayngu bama muguul-muguulgamungu, galmba binaal-mathinu wanhthaa thana bama muguul-muguul thamaalbi thaday.


Find out about some of the places where the first ancestors travelled and lived by clicking the spots on this map.

Language Points

Guugu Yimithirr

Garrgu bada gadaayga Sahulbi bama ngutha-nguthangan wali thataayga nagaar gurra guwaar yarrba thalun-barrga gurra waguurrga, wuguurrgurrin birringay gurra nhin-gaalnggi buruungu warragunbi. Garrgu walu 40,000 years ago bamangay nhin-gaalgi wali-wali bubuwi. Nganhthaan binaalgu nhanarrin bubu ngamu-buthun wanhthaa thana bama muguul-muguulngay nhin-gay. Mundal yinharrin bubungay, wulbu warra mugul-buthun bubuwi.

Thilin warra wawu-murrgarra yinharrin bubungay waamil, nganii-ma thalun banggaathi, gurra mundal bubu wanhthaa yinharrin bama ngutha-nguthangan nhin-gay, gunggan-garr bubungan gurra wali thalun-barrga, nhila badiimbarr thalunbi. Yiway bubuwi, wanhthaa thana thagaalngan bama nhin-gay, archaeologistsngun bagay bubuwi, gurra waami nambal thamun-mathi, jinyjingay gurra baluyngay, minha-bathibayngay, biida thamu-mathi, wuba thamu-thamu, duuliir, mugungay, mayi, gurra buthu bamawi nhimangay.

(Alternative translation:

Nhamun-gu bama Sahulbi miiraathi, thana naga thaday, guwa thaday. Thana thalun-barrga thaday, galmba waguurrga. Thana birri-barrga thaday, walnggawi galmba buyurrbi barrbiilbi. Wali 40,000 years ago bama warrga-ngamu bubuwi nhin-gaalnggay. Nganhthaan binaal bubungay warrga-ngamu whanhthaa thana bama muguul-muguul nhin-gaalngay. Mundal bubungay warra muguul-muguul.

Nhila nganhthaan wawu-murrgarra nhanharrin bubungay waaminu, thalun yandaayga. Buurraay warrga-mathi, bayjarrin bubu wanhthaa bama muguul-muguul nhin-gay. Gunggaalu, gurra thalun barrga, yuwalin nhila buurrayi badiimbarr. Bubuwi wanhthaa bama muguul-muguul nhin-gay, thana archaeologistsngun bubu bagay dagungay waami: waarbingay, jinyjingay, baluuyngay, bathibay minhawi, biidangay, wuba, wambu, gurrma, mugu mayiwi, mayi, galmba nhimangay gurra nambingay. Guunduu-guunduu bubuwi nganhthaan nhila-ngarraalgu nhaamaalma nguumbaarrngay dabaar, bama muguul-muguul nganhthanun-gamun balgay.)

Technique nhilaa use-im-gurralal binaal-manaathinu wanhtha-whanthaalga bamaal yinharrin bubungay start-use-im-gurray, gurra scientists nhila-ngarraalgu wuguurr-ngarraaliya. Nganhthaan nhuumaar facts nhilaa waamilmil.


After arriving in Sahul the ancestors travelled east and west along the coasts and also inland, following the river systems and staying around lakes and springs. By around 40,000 years ago people lived in every part of the country. We know about many places where these ancestors lived. Some of these places are among the oldest in the world.

However it is difficult to find some of these old places because the sea level has risen and much of the land where these ancestors lived, in the north of the country and along the coasts, is now under the sea. In the places where the first ancestors lived, archeologists have dug in the ground and found flaked stones, grinding stones, animal bones, shellfish remains, ground ochre, charcoal, seeds, plant foods as well as human burials.

New techniques are being used to find out how long ago people used these places but it isn’t easy and scientists still disagree about it. Learning about the past is a work in progress.