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.

40,000 years of adapting to sea-level change: the story of Alor’s first peoples.

Early people were island hopping and rapidly adapting to climate change as they made their way towards Australia tens of thousands of years ago. Archaeological discoveries — including shells, fish bones and fishhooks — paint a picture of how people lived and adapted to the environment over 40,000 years ago. […]

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Obi Island — stepping stones back in time

Stone tools, animal bones, and decorative beads unearthed on a remote tropical island in the northern gateway to Australia are helping to build a picture of how people lived there more than 17,500 years ago. The discoveries, on the small Indonesian island of Obi, include the earliest evidence in the […]

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What lies beneath — submerged sites could help tell the story of Australia’s first people

The story of Australia’s first people begins many tens of thousands of years ago. Archaeological evidence suggests people arrived on the Australian continent up to 65,000 years ago. And many Aboriginal communities across Northern Australia have strong oral histories of ancestral beings arriving from the north. We are working with […]

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We were what we ate — clues to the survival of our earliest ancestors in teeth fossils

Analysis of ancient teeth has unlocked surprising new insights into the ability of early humans to adapt to new and extreme environments. The breakthrough came from a study of fossil teeth found during archaeological excavations of caves and rock shelters on two islands in a region known as Wallacea. Analysis […]

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Looking at past climates to understand the present — and predict the future

As we grapple with the reality of climate change and imagine what it will be like to live in a warmer world, CABAH researchers are looking for answers to some big questions in some surprising places. For the past hundred thousand years or so, the continent has been much cooler […]

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Indigenous cultures have archaeology too

In late 2015, I arrived for the second time at a place called Orokolo Bay on Papua New Guinea’s south coast. The bay is a long grey-black beach, densely forested with hibiscus and coconut trees. As we approached by dinghy from the east, clusters of houses could be glimpsed fleetingly […]

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From cave art to climate chaos: how a new carbon dating timeline is changing our view of history

Geological and archaeological records offer important insights into what seems to be an increasingly uncertain future. The better we understand what conditions Earth has already experienced, the better we can predict (and potentially prevent) future threats.  

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This rainforest was once a grassland savanna maintained by Aboriginal people

If you go to the Surrey Hills of northwest Tasmania, you’ll see a temperate rainforest dominated by sprawling trees with genetic links going back millions of years. It’s a forest type many consider to be ancient “wilderness”. But this landscape once looked very different. The only hints are a handful […]

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Why we need to care about a 2℃ change in temperature

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that without a substantial decrease in our use of fossil fuels, we are on track for a global average increase of 2℃ in the next few decades, with extremes of between 3 to 6℃ at higher latitudes. But […]

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ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage

Now is the time to tell a culturally inclusive, globally significant 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. The ARC Centre of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) will undertake research that will safeguard our national heritage, transform research culture, connect with communities and inform policy. By tracking the natural and human history of Australia, Papua New Guinea and eastern Indonesia, we will be able to fill vast gulfs of knowledge to help us protect our national assets. Opened at Parliament House, Canberra, on 22 June 2017, the centre is funded by a $33.75 million grant from the Australian Research Council, $1 million from the NSW Government, and $11 million from participating universities, museums, and organisations. The funding will support around 40 new research positions and more than 50 new research students over the 7-year life of the Centre. CABAH will be at the forefront of discovery and education, inspiring Australian children to engage in science and connecting with the broader Australian and global community through a comprehensive outreach program. We will help build Australia’s research capacity by equipping future generations of researchers with a range of interdisciplinary skills, and implement initiatives to nurture the careers of Indigenous and female researchers. We’re building a impressive online resource to tell Australia’s Epic Story. Want to be kept up to date with our blockbuster discoveries? Like our page!
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
CABAH's Sue O'Connor from The Australian National University is leading this fascinating research finding lost Australian stories in ancient trees in the Kimberley.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
"When we first started monitoring seriously we were only at 40 or 50 breeding pairs reliably located and now we're at 128."

Breeding pairs of Carnaby's black cockatoos have almost tripled in an area of WA bushland thanks in part to dozens of artificial nesting hollows. 🖤

STORY via ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: https://ab.co/31odwnv.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
ABC Science
"When we first started monitoring seriously we were only at 40 or 50 breeding pairs reliably located and now we're at 128." Breeding pairs of Carnaby's black cockatoos have almost tripled in an area of WA bushland thanks in part to dozens of artificial nesting hollows. 🖤 STORY via ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: https://ab.co/31odwnv.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
A great model for teaching Indigenous children on Country.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
Huge congratulations to CABAH's Ané van der Walt — 2nd place winner of @VisualiseThesis #VYT2020 against some tough competition! 👏🏾

The judges were impressed by her beautiful, richly illustrated animation as well as the cultural importance of Ané's research.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage

Twitter


Finding lost stories carved into iconic centuries-old trees in the Kimberley.

@ANU_CHL
@ANUmedia

https://t.co/84GQFmPBQ4 https://t.co/LYTi8k02M3

A program for school kids in Kakadu and West Arnhem Land — incorporating traditional knowledge and Western science — is a model for teaching Indigenous children on Country.

https://t.co/PWUswYwsuT via @ConversationEDU

Huge congratulations to CABAH's Ané van der Walt — 2nd place winner of @VisualiseThesis #VYT2020 against some tough competition! 👏🏾

Judges were impressed by her beautiful, richly illustrated animation as well as the cultural importance of Ané's research.
@MonashUni
@arc_gov_au https://t.co/ncG1p0jvsi

How a university can embed Indigenous knowledge into the curriculum and why it matters https://t.co/DLqQLiPwzE via @ConversationEDU

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WILDLIFE

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

[Image by Georgia Steytler]

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TIME

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

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People

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.

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Landscapes

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?

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Climate

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

[Image: Sonia Leber and David Chesworth]

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Models

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

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