What are Songlines? By Mr. Stephens

Songlines are a path or track Indigenous Australians used to help find their way across the country.

In Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, the creator spirit, Baiame, created everything. This God Spirit created the Rainbow Serpent, who created the rivers, lakes, mountains and sky as it wriggled across the country.

The names of the land features, like waterholes or good hunting grounds, form the words of the song. The song would act as a map for Indigenous people moving across the land, so they wouldn't get lost.

This Aboriginal woman painted songlines, showing how the country was covered in tracks of the ancestor spirits. Source: http://www.indigenous.gov.au/news-and-media/stories/lani-balzan-wins-2016-national-naidoc-poster-competition

Often the country which the song would pass through was the language of the local tribe, and once the song travelled into others' land, the language would change also. The melody of the song would help those who spoke different languages, so that as the melody would change, so would the landscape.

This is the Emu Dreaming songline which travels across the country from East to West.

Aboriginal people would learn the songs to help survive through the ages. They believe that if the song is sung, the spirits come alive. Some songlines are still used today.

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