The Dreamtime or Dreaming for Australian Indigenous people refers to the time when the Ancestral Spirits moved across the land and created life and significant geographic formations and sites.
Aboriginal people tell the Dreaming stories to pass on important knowledge, cultural values, belief systems and law to later generations. These stories are passed on through a number of different ways – Ceremonial body painting, song and dance being the most common. By maintaining a link with the Dreamtime and Dreaming stories of the past to the present, a rich cultural heritage is created.
In many of the Dreaming stories, the Ancestral Spirits came to earth in human form and as they moved through the land, they created the animals, plants, rocks, rivers, mountains and all other formations and beings that we know today. These Ancestral Spirits also formed the relationships between Aboriginal people, the land and all living beings.
Once the Ancestral Spirits had created the world, they transformed into trees, stars, rocks, watering holes and other land formations or objects. These are recognised today as the sacred places and sites of Aboriginal culture.
Dreamings allow Aboriginal people to understand their place in traditional society and nature, and connects their spiritual world of the past with the present and the future.