We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Aboriginal Spirituality – Smarts Seven Dimensions

The whole doc is available only for registered users

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now


The aboriginals have lived in Australia for thousands of years. They had little outside contact until the British arrived two hundred years ago. The aboriginals have one of the oldest unchanged religions in the world. They believe in the Dreaming and respect the environment around them. This assignment will break the aboriginal religion into Smart’s seven dimensions.


The three SOR classes in grade 11 travelled to Chillagoe on the 3rd of May, 2006. On the way to Chillagoe we stopped at Tjapukai which is an Aboriginal Cultural Park. At Tjapukai we learned about aboriginal way of life and history. After Tjapukai we went to St Stephen’s College, where we talked to some local elders. At Chillagoe we went to caves and saw aboriginal art work and artefacts.


Chillagoe was near the boundary of three aboriginal tribes; the Wagaman, Wakoora and Djangun people. James Venture Mulligan was the first European person in the Chillagoe region; he found the Chillagoe- Palmer River gold field in 1887. William Atherton built a homestead in the area and called the area Chillagoe. A wealthy man named John Moffat was interest in mining and found native copper in 1887. By 1894 there were two smelters in Calcifer and Mungana. The Chillagoe central smelters was built by ‘The Chillagoe Smelting Company’. It opened in 1901, smeltering copper, gold and silver lead. The smelters finally closed in 1943. Today Chillagoe’s industries are tourism, marble, minerals and cattle.

Ritual and Practical

The Aborigines used rituals to connect themselves to the Dreaming and to contact their ancestors. An example of one of these rituals is the corroboree. The corroboree is a ceremonial meeting of Aborigines. At the corroboree the participants are connected to the Dreaming through dances and music. At many corroborees the aborigines act out events from the Dreaming. They pass these rituals down from generation to generation. The custodians of particular sacred sites perform ceremonies at different times of the year.

Non Aborigines aren’t allowed to watch or participate in a corroboree. At Tjapukai, they showed us how the aborigines would perform a corroboree. They showed was how to use aboriginal music instruments e.g. didgeridoo and how to perform the dances.

Experiential and Emotional Dimension

Aborigines believe that they are connected to the land. When they die the Aborigines believe that they become part of the land. If the land is destroyed, they believe they have lost apart of themselves. It is said that the Aboriginal people can communicate with their ancestor spirits through the land.

The aborigines at Chillagoe believed that the caves contained evil spirits. They say that if you entered the caves you would not return.

Mythological or Narrative Dimension

The beginning of the world is described through dreaming stories. Each tribe around Australia has a different version on how the world was created. Most of the stories the aborigines told were about the world and why it is the way it is.

At Tjapukai they showed the Djabugay peoples story of how the world was created. There were two elements that came out of a cassowary egg. The two elements were the Wet and the Dry. From the two elements all life forms were created. Also two brothers came, one was from the wet and one was from the dry. The Wet brother made things hard for the aborigines so they would be strengthened by the environment, while the Dry brother made things easier for the aborigines. The Wet brother then killed the Dry brother. Then one day at a river the Wet brother was killed by a crocodile, one of his creations.

Doctrinal and Philosophical Dimension

The aborigines got their laws from the Dreaming. The elders teach the younger aborigines about the laws the Dreaming and to live in harmony with the land, follow the laws and have respect for everything. The elders addressed issues within their tribes so they didn’t fight amongst themselves. Totems were a fundamental part of Aboriginal life. The totem is normally an animal but it could be a sacred landmark or plant. An aboriginal is given their totem when they are born. For the rest of their life they are not allowed to hurt, kill or eat their totem.

Ethical and Legal Dimension

The Dreaming shaped the rules for their ceremonies and everyday life. If an Aborigine went against these rules they were punished. The elders decided what the punishment should be. Some punishments were banishment, death and physical damage. If an aboriginal’s punishment was a spear through his leg and he survived he was allowed back into the tribe again.

At Mareeba, one of the talkers explained about how the elder’s role is to teach the next generation about the beliefs and to make sure they follow them. The elders are also considered guardians and have certain responsibilities. There job is to look after and protect certain sacred areas and make sure it is not disturbed by outsiders.

Social and Institutional Dimension

The kinship of the aborigines was a network of relationships that governed and interacted between members of a tribe. The elders were the authority and the tribe looked to them for advice. The men were the hunters which caught the large game while the women were the gatherers which gathered the fruit and other small foods, they also cooked the meal An Aboriginal was given a totem when they were born. The totem was normally an animal. They had responsibilities and laws which they had to uphold. An example of this not to harm, kill or eat their totem. If they broke the laws and responsibilities they were punished. Marriage was an important aboriginal ceremony. An aboriginal wasn’t allowed to marry a person that was of the same totem and true love was against the law.

Material Dimension

The aborigines didn’t have any buildings but they had sacred sites and artwork. They used sculptures, bark and rock paintings to express what they believed in. To paint the aborigines had to trade with other tribes to get different colour ochre if they couldn’t get them in their own area. The art of the aborigines was an important way for them to communicate and tell stories between each other. Only recently white people have called aboriginal artefacts and images art. They made didgeridoos to express their beliefs through music. They used the didgeridoo in ceremonies and used it to imitate animals so they could celebrate the environment around them. Only men were allowed to play the didgeridoo.

The aborigines had different sacred sites for each tribe. An example of a sacred site to the Chillagoe aborigines was the Bogey Hole. The reason the Bogey Hole was sacred to the Chillagoe aborigines is because it provided them with water all year round.


The trip to Chillagoe has given me a better understanding into aboriginal society and how they used to live. It was good to learn about there religion because it is one of the oldest religions in the world. I think that we should all treat the environment like the aboriginals and we all could learn a thing or two from them.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59