Why the Aboriginal Culture in Darwin, Northern Territory is so significant

Why the Aboriginal Culture in Darwin, Northern Territory is so significant

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 10/17/2018

Reading time: 3 mins

The Indigenous Australians are known as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, who are the first inhabitants of Australia.

They have been inhabiting the country for over 60,000 years, since the Beginning. They are the oldest continuous living culture on Earth. The diversity of the culture and language is vast, with rich traditions and beliefs, tying to the Australian land. You can see the culture by looking at the incredible art, Dreaming stories, as well as the significant spiritual landmarks of the land.


Australia has always been a multi-cultural country. With around 270 different cultural and language groups spread around the country. The traditional owners of the land have a tragic history, with the invasion of the Europeans causing a catastrophic destruction of the community. Before the European invasion, the Indigenous community cultivated the environment, protecting it and living on the land. They lived in natural dwellings ranging from deserts to jungles, to beach coasts.

They preserve their land, ensuring it was always abundant in resources, and protected all species. The arrival of the Europeans caused waves of tragedy to the Indigenous community. Murder, disease, kidnapping, and slavery were bought to the land when Europeans arrived. Indigenous people were stolen from their land and wrongly removed from their families. Invaders believed Indigenous people to be ‘uncivilised,’ as their culture and way of life was very different. This, of course, was drastically untrue. The European invasion has seen entire languages and customs erased. Despite this, the culture lives on and has played a vibrant role in modern Australian society.

Indigenous communities across Australia are working hard to revitalise their cultures. Supporting Indigenous communities and businesses is key to helping them thrive.

The significant culture of Aboriginal people in Darwin

  • Art

    Darwin’s galleries are full with the Indigenous art. The specific type of art style, including dot paintings, carvings, and ceramics, has been used for generations. Techniques pass from elders to young generations. Many works of art tell a story, and are reflections of the artists experiences. Darwin has Indigenous art and history open for the public, with locally owned galleries and museums.

  • Language

    There are hundreds of Indigenous languages across Australia. Many place names, slang and flora/fauna words used in Australian English are derivatives of Indigenous words. Some examples include;  billabong, waratah and yakka (meaning work). It is important to remember there is no one Indigenous language and communities across Australia speak their own dialects.

  • The Land

    The indigenous community have an intense relationship with the land they live on. They believe the land not to be just sand and soil, but a living, breathing thing. The tell Dreaming stories which explain the land’s creation. The Larrakia people, a local community within the area tell a Dreaming story of a frog that created the significance sites and wildlife along the waterfront. The Litchfield National Park’s traditional owners the Wangait people have an immersive connection with the area. With songs, dances, and stories all dedicated to the bushes and trees. Some significant landmarks are sacred due to the belief that past ancestors’ dwell in the land.

Related article: History of Darwin.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.