Australia: Dreamtime to Dust

Bond University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Australia: Dreamtime to Dust

  • Host University

    Bond University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Anthropology, Archaeology, Australian Culture, Environmental Science, Geography, History, Indigenous Studies, Natural Sciences, Pacific Studies, Paleontology, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4.5 - 6
  • Overview

    This subject outlines Australia's natural and human development: continental origins; the oldest life forms yet found on Earth; the origin and adaptation of marsupial fauna; the drying of the continent and the story of the oldest continuous human culturein the world - the Australian Aborigines. It examines Aboriginal art, social and belief systems and survival of Aboriginal culture after colonisation. It will be a valuable subject for students of History, Geography, Environmental and Natural Sciences, Anthropology, Archaeology, Palaeontology, and Social and Cultural Studies.
    Learning Objectives
    1. Students learn about the age and sequence of major stages in the physical and biological evolution of the Australian continent, the basic function of plate tectonics, climate variation over time and glacial episodes & their consequences for the formation of the modern continent. The formation of the supercontinent Gondwana; Australia's contribution to some of the oldest life forms on the planet; the variety of Australia's dinosaurs & the origin, evolution and dispersal of Australia's marsupials and monotremes are also described.
    2. Students learn about the process of the Gondwanan break up and the subsequent drying of the Australian continent together with climatic change and the adaptation of Australia's fauna and flora to Australia's increased aridity.
    3. Learn the story of human migration & evolution across the planet as a prelude to the entry of the first people into Australia. The culture of the first Australians, their origins & how they might have moved across the continent is described together with an assessment of what they looked liked through study of their skeletal evidence & the oldest evidence for human occupation. We review Australia's megafauna.
    4. Definitions used for Aboriginal Australians and their basic cultural divisions are taught together with the special relationship they have with the land. Social and organisational networks are described against a background of the role of ancestral beings, the notion of the 'Dreaming' and ritual and ceremony.
    5. Students learn methods used by Aboriginal people to transmit their culture and the various styles of Aboriginal art used across the continent to accomplish this. Methods of hunting and gathering, & seasonal movement are compared in desert and tropical environments together with how  firing of the land is used to promote plant growth, food production and keep the landscape clean.
    6. The lifestyle of Australia's Indigenous people had its health issues the same as any community world wide. These are reviwed in terms of palaeopathological evidence drawn from across the continent. Health is linked to lifestyle and this was no less applicable to Aboriginal way of living. We therefore look at economic intensification and variety of Aboriginal economies in certain regions of Australia are undertaken and how some of these affected the health of some groups particularly in southeastern Australia. The eventual impact of introduced disease like smallpox, which took a heavy toll on the Indigenous population, is also reviewed.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.