Now is the time to tell a culturally inclusive, globally significant human and environmental history of Australia. We like to call it, Australia’s Epic Story.

Australia has been shaped as a nation by its natural, historic and Indigenous heritage. To adapt successfully to future changes, we must dramatically improve our understanding of Australia’s past.

We are undertaking research that will safeguard our national heritage, transform research culture, connect with communities and inform policy.


Extinction domino effect linked to climate change

Environmental changes increase the risk of an ‘extinction domino effect’ that could annihilate all life on Earth, according to new research. Researchers, including CABAH Chief Investigator Professor Corey Bradshaw, simulated 2,000 ‘virtual Earths’ linking animal and plant species. Using sophisticated modelling, they subjected the virtual Earths to catastrophic environmental changes, including runaway […]

Mapping the journeys of Australia’s first people

A ‘treasure map’ of island locations has been developed to identify the stepping-stones Aboriginal people used to get to Australia. The mapping work undertaken by CABAH Associate Investigator Shimona Kealy from The Australian National University (ANU) plots the potential routes taken tens of thousands of years ago by Australia’s first […]

Getting to the bottom of 200,000 years of history

ALMOST 20 metres of sediment from the bed of a Northern Territory lagoon with, the potential to unlock vital clues to our environment and human history, have been retrieved by CABAH researchers. Girraween Lagoon, near Darwin, is a significant Aboriginal site and gained a place in modern Australian popular culture […]

Fifty years ago, at Lake Mungo, the true scale of Aboriginal Australians’ epic story was revealed

This month marks the golden jubilee of a watershed event in the history of this nation that should cause all Australians to pause and reflect. On July 15, 1968, while searching for clues to past climates and ancient landscapes on land under the joint care of Paakantyi/Barkindji, Ngiyampaa and Mutthi […]

Using drones to study extensive Aboriginal stone-walled fishtraps in the Gulf of Carpentaria

CABAH researchers have used high-resolution close-range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) photogrammetry and a suite of spatial information analytical techniques to investigate Kaiadilt Aboriginal stone-walled intertidal fishtraps on Sweers Island in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Stone-walled intertidal fishtraps were built to control the movements of marine animals. They are […]

How to get to Australia … more than 50,000 years ago

Over just the past few years, spectacular new archaeological findings have revealed the lives of early Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory’s Kakadu potentially as early as 65,000 years ago, from the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia by about 50,000 years ago and the Flinders Ranges of South […]

The Hiri

Stories of adventure and entrepreneurship suggest indigenous Australia was not isolated With epic voyages into adulthood, risky encounters with head-hunters, innovative ship building, and countless generations of deep ritual, the story of Papua New Guinea’s hiri trading voyages reads like a swashbuckling adventure novel. Every page in this exciting story […]

How Antarctic ice melt can be a tipping point for the whole planet’s climate

Melting of Antarctica’s ice can trigger rapid warming on the other side of the planet, according to our new research which details how just such an abrupt climate event happened 30,000 years ago, in which the North Atlantic region warmed dramatically. This idea of “tipping points” in Earth’s system has had something […]

Rewriting History: Australia’s oldest known campsite

Archaeologists, working together with Mirrar Aboriginal people, are unlocking some extraordinary secrets from Australia’s oldest known campsite. Latest dating techniques have established a new minimum age for arrival of the first Australians at least 65,000 years ago. This suggests Aboriginal people and megafauna co-existed for 20,000 years or more. Perhaps […]




How has Australia’s wildlife responded to climate, landscape change and human impact over thousands of years?



Time is fundamental to understanding the story of Australia’s natural and Indigenous history and heritage.



Human history is written in the land. Delve into the lives of the first Australians, by looking back 60,000+ years, and ponder how our past informs our future.



Australia is a land of ragged mountains and sweeping plains, shaped by droughts and flooding rains. How did the landscapes we see around us come to be and how have they changed?



Reconstructing climate to better understand the drivers and impacts of past and future change.



Combining the diverse results from other themes, using statistical and computational methods to quantify uncertainty and model complex interactions.