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Indigenous Australians- Identification of Rocks and Minerals: Home

Earth and Environmental Science

Culture and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in the area known as New South Wales for at least 45,000 years. Many sites around the state show the remains of Aboriginal occupation, or are significant to Aboriginal communities today.


Dynamic Earth

In Central Australia, there were three kinds of ochre used in the main. They were yellow ochre, white ochre – or white pipe clay – and red ochre. One of the most widely used ochres was red ochre, which was extensively used on the body. And in some particular mines in Central Australia, the ochre has a mica component, and when it’s placed on the body, particularly on the face, it gives off quite a shiny look. And that’s still used today in ceremonies, and is traded all around Central Australia and beyond.

Australian Museum

Mining by Aboriginal Australian

For more than 40 000 years before the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney Harbour, Australian Aborigines had been mining the land for ochre and stone. 

Stone Tools

Not all types of stone could be used for making tools. The best types of stone are rich in silica, hard and brittle.These include quartzite, chert, flint, silcrete and quartz.

Aboriginal quarries are places where Aboriginal people took stone from rocky outcrops to make chipped or ground stone tools for many different purposes. Not all types of stone were suitable for making tools, so an outcrop of good stone that could be easily quarried was a valuable resource.