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Aboriginal Astronomy-Black History Month.

Today, as part of Black History month, we visited the Brisbane Planetarium for a lecture on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander astronomy!

Aboriginal astronomer and proud Wiradjuri womanKirsten Banks walked us through the story of how the Kamilaroi people of New South Wales used the position of the celestial Emu named “Gawarrgay”, to understand when Emu’s were laying eggs and when to hunt for them. Hint; Gawarrgay is found in the negative space seen when viewing the Milky Way, have a look tonight!

Elder, Uncle Alo Tapim of the Meriam Mir Torres Strait Islander people spoke to us about how his people used the stars for navigating the diverse geographic regions and how their culture is linked to the story of “Tagai”.   Tagai is important for hunting, planting crops and navigation, as the Southern Cross (his left hand) points in the direction of south. When Tagai’s left hand dips in to the sea the Islanders know the wet season names Kuki is about to begin. This is around mid-November when Usal and Utimal (Pleiades and Orion) are rising, and in anticipation of Kuki the Islanders plant their gardens which is also when Dugongs and Turtles are mating.

It’s highly recommended to visit the planetarium which is also right next to the Botanical Gardens for an extended educational and most importantly fun experience.

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