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.

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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65,000-year-old plant remains show the earliest Australians spent plenty of time cooking

Australia’s first people ate a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and other plant foods, many of which would have taken considerable time and knowledge to prepare, according to our analysis of charred plant remains from a site dating back to 65,000 years ago.

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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
“One of the real hallmarks of archaeology, I think, is understanding how all these different disciplines fit together, and harnessing the power of those multidisciplinary approaches to reveal aspects of the past that you couldn’t do from any one of those disciplines on its own.”

CABAH's Sean Ulm on the importance of collaborating on projects like Deep History of Sea Country
— a collaboration between archaeologists, rock art specialists, geomorphologists, geologists, specialist pilots, scientific divers, and the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
First Nations' expertise leading the way. 👏🏾
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
NITV
First Nations' expertise lead the way, creating climate solutions for the globe.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
Throughout history, native plants, animals and other biological materials have been removed without the consent of Indigenous people.
In many cases, Indigenous knowledge was also taken without permission – and Indigenous people rarely benefited from the commercial products developed as a result.

The Queensland government has now reformed a law governing “biodiscovery” — the taking, analysing and using of native biological material. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
Some resources to help understand and celebrate Australia's First Peoples and rich Indigenous history. 👍🏿

Twitter


We're delighted to support this important workshop on the principles for managing Aboriginal underwater cultural heritage ⁦ @WAMmaritimearch.⁩

Follow the link to register.

https://t.co/zH8pprbFul https://t.co/aiJHLLiy5h

Humans have dealt with plenty of climate variability — CABAH's @FredSaltre and Corey Bradshaw @conservbytes explain ...
https://t.co/SBkITraJXf via @ConversationEDU

Check out the latest video in this series of behind-the-scenes looks at the collaborative work of researchers at
@arc_gov_au Centres of Excellence.

#QandARC #teamEQUS https://t.co/KH9T27TUjS

Australia's plants and animals have long been used without Indigenous consent. Now Queensland has taken a stand https://t.co/rDhs2m6zgg 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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