Aboriginal Art: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Aboriginal art.

  • Aboriginal art is the name given to the art made by the native people of Australia. As well as rock paintings, it includes sand painting, rock and wood carving, and paintings on leaves.
  • The oldest Aboriginal art is thought to be about 40,000 years old. The Aborigines may have lived in Australia for about 125,000 years.

  • The art was often used to tell a story, or to pass on beliefs, ideas and customs to future generations. Some paintings were about relationships, nature or animals or a desire to travel.
  • Aboriginal rock carvings can be found all over Australia, especially around Ayers Rock and Kakadu National Park. Rock paintings in Kimberly are known as Bradshaws, after the European who discovered them.
  • Yellow, brown, red and white represent the sun, earth, desert and clouds and are the four traditional Aboriginal colours. They are found in many carvings and drawings.

Aboriginal art

  • The largest collection of rock engravings is in Australia’s Burrup Peninsula. There are over a million carvings, some of which show a now extinct animal, the thylacine or Tasmanian tiger.
  • Although Aboriginal art often depicted something tangible, it was sometimes abstract. Abstract art used dots, circles, lines and symbols which were not easily understood by non-Aborigines.
  • Painting on tree bark is the oldest form of Aboriginal art. Bark paintings can sell for a lot of money and there is even an award given each year for the best new painting.
  • When Europeans explored Australia, the Aborigines did not want the meaning of their paintings to be understood. They used dots to hide secret messages and information.Modern day Aboriginal art has become popular and works can sell for a lot of money. A work completed artist Emily Kame Kingwarreye sold for a million dollars in 2007.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Facts

Here are some facts about Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia.

  • Australia’s Sydney Harbour Bridge, nicknamed ‘the coathanger’ because of the shape of its design, carries road, rail and pedestrian traffic from Sydney’s business district to the North Shore.
  • The bridge was opened in 1932, and it is just over 1,100 yards long. It is also one of the tallest bridges in the world, with a height of 130 yards from water level to the top.

  • Around 14,000 workers were employed to build the bridge between 1924 and 1932. Many of these workers were immigrants and they were among the highest paid workers in the country at the time.
  • Since 1998, tourists have been able to climb to the top of the bridge. It takes almost four hours to climb up and down, and tours leave every 20 minutes.
  • Whenever the Queensland Rugby League team wins the State Championships, the Queensland state flag is flown from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge was constructed with approximately 6 million steel rivets. An estimated 72,000 gallons of paint were used to paint the bridge.
  • For many years, the south east pylon was an observation platform for tourists. The owners also had several white cats which roamed the bridge and became quite famous.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • Several planes have successfully flown under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, including a group of 24 Australian Air Force planes and a huge Lancaster bomber.
  • To make sure that the bridge could hold enough weight, in 1924, its load capacity was tested by placing almost 100 trains on the bridge.
  • During temperature changes, the size of the huge arch can actually change by up to seven inches. To allow for this, there are specially made hinges in the top of the arch.

What next? Find out some facts about another one of Sydney’s famous landmarks – the Sydney Opera House, or discover some facts about more of the world’s rivers and bridges.

Sydney Opera House Facts

Here are some facts about the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

  • Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s most well known and instantly recognizable live music venues.
  • It is located in the northeast of Sydney’s central business district.

  • Over 7 million people visit the Opera House every year, making it one of Australia’s biggest tourist attractions. About 1.2 million of these attend a performance.
  • The Opera House was designed by Jorn Utzon, an architect from Denmark.
  • The main concert hall can seat almost 2,700 people and contains one of the world’s largest organs – it has 10,000 pipes.
  • One of the 1,000 rooms in the opera house is named the Utzon Room (after the building’s designer). It contains a woolen tapestry, made from enough wool to stretch from Sydney to Perth, a distance of about 2,040 miles.

Sydney Opera House

  • LEGO have produced two Sydney Opera House sets. The first is part of the LEGO Architecture range (set 21012) and contains 270 pieces, and the second (set 10234) is part of the Creator theme, and contains nearly 3000 pieces.
  • The building’s distinctive look comes from a million tiles, which were designed to be self-cleaning. The concrete roof sections, which weigh up to 30 tons each, are held in place by over 250 miles of cable.
  • In 1997, a French climber climbed all the way to the top of the Sydney Opera House, with no ropes or safety devices, and using only his hands and feet.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger once appeared at the Opera House, during a 1980 body building championship. The venue has also hosted wrestling events and rock concerts, in addition to opera.
  • During a 1983 performance of a Russian opera, a live chicken fell off the stage and landed on the head of one of the musicians. Safety nets were installed to prevent things like this from happening again.
  • As well as being the home of Australian Opera, the Sydney Opera House building has had its own opera written about it, called The Eighth Wonder.

What next? Discover some facts about Sydney Harbour Bridge, another of Sydney’s famous landmarks.