St Patrick's Parish Guildford

The World's First Astronomers

29/08/2015 until 29/08/2015

Catherine McAuley Room 6 Victoria Road, Parramatta, NSW, 2150


Australian aborigines knew the sky intimately and they were familiar with planetary motions, tides, and eclipses. Their songs and stories show that they sought to understand their Universe in a similar way to modern scientists. They used this knowledge of the sky and land to construct songlines and other navigational tools, enabling them to navigate across the country, trading artifacts and sacred stories. 

Ray and Cilla Norris will share with us their understanding of the Australian Aboriginal people’s rich astronomical tradition. This includes the Emu in the Sky constellation of dark clouds and stories about the sun, moon, and stars, that reveal a depth and complexity of pre-contact Aboriginal cultures, which are not widely appreciated by outsiders.

Professor Ray Norris is a British/Australian astronomer who researches how galaxies evolved over the lifetime of the Universe. He also researches the astronomy of Australian Aboriginal people, for which he is an Adjunct Professor in Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University. He was educated at Cambridge University, UK, and moved to Australia in 1983 to join CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science, where he became Head of Astrophysics in 1994, and then Deputy Director, before returning in 2005 to active research.

He currently leads an international project to image the faintest radio galaxies in the Universe, using the new ASKAP radiotelescope being built in WA. He has performed in a stage show called The First Astronomers? and has published a novel, Graven Images.

Cilla works with Ray on Aboriginal Astronomy. She has been an artist, high school teacher, veterinary nurse and wild-life carer.

Tags: Aboriginal   Astronomy   Professor Ray Norris

Contact: Sister Valda

« Return to events list

Receive our feeds

Did you know that you can receive automatic RSS updates from any page of this website the moment they are updated?