You are in site section: Education

A Living culture

Indigenous life before and after 1788

Students exploring a large grinding stone
Photo: Lannon Harley, National Museum of Australia

How many years have Indigenous peoples been living in Australia?

What was it like for Aboriginal people before European settlement?

In A Living Culture students handle and explore a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects to help them understand how peoples lived in Australia before European settlement and the ways in which Indigenous cultures have evolved and adapted since 1788.

This program provides students with the opportunity to use an iPad to photograph objects that illustrate an aspect of Indigenous Australians' living culture.


Year levels 5–12, or 6–12 in Qld, WA and SA
Group size 40 students (note that two groups can run concurrently)
Duration 2 hours
Cost $6 per student
Availability Tuesday–Friday at 10am and 1pm

Alternative times may be available for local schools. Please contact for further information.
Curriculum links
Australian History curriculum links to our programs (225kb PDF)


  • Consider how Indigenous cultures have adapted and evolved since 1788.
  • Discuss aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture including identity, diversity and spirituality.


  1. Introductory activity – students investigate a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects, considering what the objects are and their use – both in the past and present.
  2. Gallery activity – working in groups, students explore the First Australians gallery and photograph objects that represent an aspect of Indigenous Australians' living culture.
  3. Reflection – students gather to discuss their selected images and how they might be used for further research and reflect on the continuing cultures of Australia's Indigenous peoples.

Exploring the Museum

For everything you need to know about visiting, see Plan and book a visit.

Related resources

These activity ideas might be useful in your classroom.

You may also be interested in the following teacher resources:

or these interactives:

You can also see the full list of resources related to Indigenous Australia.