The 200 Nations of First Australians Comprising Prehistoric Australia

First Footprints : ABC TV

First Footprints Part 3

SBS (2013)

Film Review

Part 3 begins as the Australian ice age ended around 13,000 BC. This was followed by 130 meter sea level rise that swallowed up over 1/4 of the continent. The encroaching sea forced coastal First Australians to move inland, leading to competition over food and water with inland tribes.

There is a marked change in the cave drawings around this time, with richly adorned human figures leisurely engaged in ceremony replaced with armed stick figures in detailed battle scenes (the oldest anywhere in the world).

This episode profiles specific cultures that grew up around Sydney, and in Tasmania and the Kimberley, as the continent was divided up into more than 200 discrete nations.

My favorite part of the film concerns invention of the boomerang, which is unique to Australia. The oldest boomerang (its wood preserved in a peat swamp) is 9,000 years old. They were used mainly to drive waterfowl (who mistook the weapon for a hawk) into a waiting net. They were also used in battle, for butchering, for digging out fire pits and for making music.

Although Part 3 can’t be embedded, it can be viewed free in New Zealand at

And in Australia at

It can be rented from

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