When did Australia’s earliest inhabitants arrive?

Sep 17, 2004

A public presentation was given in Wollongong on Wednesday (September 15) that explored the evidence for and against the various dates proposed for when the initial inhabitants of Australia arrived.

It is widely accepted that the earliest inhabitants of Australia, Aborigines, arrived via the Indonesian islands. However, when did this initial migration of people occur? Currently, there is little consensus between researchers about the timing of this event. Estimates pertaining to this initial occupation range from 125,000 years before present to as recent as 40,000 years ago.

Dead and Buried: Dating the earliest Australians, explored the evidence for and against the various dates currently proposed. It was presented by Associate Professor Richard (Bert) Roberts from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences as part of the Frontiers in Science series of presentations.

The discovery and subsequent archaeological dating of human remains and artefacts, both in Australia and Southeast Asia, has provided valuable insights and clues as to when initial colonisation occurred. Furthermore, the forum addressed recent developments in archaeological dating techniques.

Professor Roberts specialises in thermoluminescence and optical stimulated luminescence dating of Quaternary sediments. Throughout his career he has been awarded several prestigious awards including the Queen Elizabeth II and Senior Research Fellowship from the Australian Research Council, and the J.G. Russell Award for young scientists. His research has been the subject of television, radio, newspaper and magazine reports.

Frontiers in Science provides an opportunity for members of the broader community, along with staff and students of the University, to attend and participate in discussions pertaining to current research within the Faculty of Science.

The presenters are world leaders in their respective fields of research. Presentations are designed so that all who attend, whether they are high school students, professionals or academics, will gain an insight into the exciting world of modern science as humans push the boundaries of knowledge.

Watch this site for information on upcoming Frontiers in Science presentations.



Associate Professor Bert Roberts (left) with the Dean of Science, Professor Rob Whelan

Frontiers in Science
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