You are viewing this page as an international student.
Change to Domestic

You are a domestic student if you are an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen or the holder of an Australian permanent visa.

You are an international student whether you are within or outside Australia and you do not meet the domestic student criteria.

COVID-19 (coronavirus): Latest advice for the Bond community.

AUST11-101: Australia: Dreamtime to Dust January 2019 [Standard]

General information

This subject outlines Australia's natural and human development: continental origins; the oldest life forms yet found on Earth; the origin and adaptation of marsupial fauna; the drying of the continent and the story of the oldest continuous human culture in the world - the Australian Aborigines. It examines Aboriginal art, social and belief systems and survival of Aboriginal culture after colonisation. It will be a valuable subject for students of History, Geography, Environmental and Natural Sciences, Anthropology, Archaeology, Palaeontology, and Social and Cultural Studies.


Academic unit:Faculty of Society & Design
Subject code:AUST11-101
Subject title:Australia: Dreamtime to Dust
Subject level:Undergraduate
Semester/Year:January 2019
Credit points:10

Delivery & attendance

Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Lecture: x12 (Total hours: 24) - Weekly Lecture
  • Tutorial: x12 (Total hours: 12) - Weekly Tutorial
  • Personal Study Hours: x12 (Total hours: 84) - Recommended Study Hours


Prescribed resources: No Prescribed resources. After enrolment, students can check the Books and Tools area in iLearn for the full Resource List.
[email protected] & Email:[email protected] is the online learning environment at Bond University and is used to provide access to subject materials, lecture recordings and detailed subject information regarding the subject curriculum, assessment and timing. Both iLearn and the Student Email facility are used to provide important subject notifications. Additionally, official correspondence from the University will be forwarded to students’ Bond email account and must be monitored by the student.

To access these services, log on to the Student Portal from the Bond University website as

Enrolment requirements

Requisites: ?


Restrictions: ?


Assurance of learning

Assurance of Learning means that universities take responsibility for creating, monitoring and updating curriculum, teaching and assessment so that students graduate with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need for employability and/or further study.

At Bond University, we carefully develop subject and program outcomes to ensure that student learning in each subject contributes to the whole student experience. Students are encouraged to carefully read and consider subject and program outcomes as combined elements.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Program Learning Outcomes provide a broad and measurable set of standards that incorporate a range of knowledge and skills that will be achieved on completion of the program. If you are undertaking this subject as part of a degree program, you should refer to the relevant degree program outcomes and graduate attributes as they relate to this subject.

Find your program

Subject Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject the learner will be able to:
  1. Students learn about the age and sequence of major stages in the physical and biological evolution of the Australian continent, the basic function of plate tectonics, climate variation over time and glacial episodes & their consequences for the formation of the modern continent. The formation of the supercontinent Gondwana; Australia's contribution to some of the oldest life forms on the planet; the variety of Australia's dinosaurs & the origin, evolution and dispersal of Australia's marsupials and monotremes are also described.
  2. Students learn about the process of the Gondwanan break up and the subsequent drying of the Australian continent together with climatic change and the adaptation of Australia's fauna and flora to Australia's increased aridity.
  3. Learn the story of human migration & evolution across the planet as a prelude to the entry of the first people into Australia. The culture of the first Australians, their origins & how they might have moved across the continent is described together with an assessment of what they looked liked through study of their skeletal evidence & the oldest evidence for human occupation. We review Australia's megafauna.
  4. Definitions used for Aboriginal Australians and their basic cultural divisions are taught together with the special relationship they have with the land. Social and organisational networks are described against a background of the role of ancestral beings, the notion of the 'Dreaming' and ritual and ceremony.
  5. Students learn methods used by Aboriginal people to transmit their culture and the various styles of Aboriginal art used across the continent to accomplish this. Methods of hunting and gathering, & seasonal movement are compared in desert and tropical environments together with how  firing of the land is used to promote plant growth, food production and keep the landscape clean.
  6. The lifestyle of Australia's Indigenous people had its health issues the same as any community world wide. These are reviwed in terms of palaeopathological evidence drawn from across the continent. Health is linked to lifestyle and this was no less applicable to Aboriginal way of living. We therefore look at economic intensification and variety of Aboriginal economies in certain regions of Australia are undertaken and how some of these affected the health of some groups particularly in southeastern Australia. The eventual impact of introduced disease like smallpox, which took a heavy toll on the Indigenous population, is also reviewed.


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
Class Participation Tutorial Participation 10% Ongoing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Computer-Aided Examination (Closed) Mid-Term Exam 45% Mid-Semester Examination Period 1, 2, 3.
Computer-Aided Examination (Closed) Final Exam 45% Final Examination Period 4, 5, 6.
  • * Assessment timing is indicative of the week that the assessment is due or begins (where conducted over multiple weeks), and is based on the standard University academic calendar
  • C = Students must reach a level of competency to successfully complete this assessment.

Assessment criteria

High Distinction 85-100 Outstanding or exemplary performance in the following areas: interpretative ability; intellectual initiative in response to questions; mastery of the skills required by the subject, general levels of knowledge and analytic ability or clear thinking.
Distinction 75-84 Usually awarded to students whose performance goes well beyond the minimum requirements set for tasks required in assessment, and who perform well in most of the above areas.
Credit 65-74 Usually awarded to students whose performance is considered to go beyond the minimum requirements for work set for assessment. Assessable work is typically characterised by a strong performance in some of the capacities listed above.
Pass 50-64 Usually awarded to students whose performance meets the requirements set for work provided for assessment.
Fail 0-49 Usually awarded to students whose performance is not considered to meet the minimum requirements set for particular tasks. The fail grade may be a result of insufficient preparation, of inattention to assignment guidelines or lack of academic ability. A frequent cause of failure is lack of attention to subject or assignment guidelines.

Quality assurance

For the purposes of quality assurance, Bond University conducts an evaluation process to measure and document student assessment as evidence of the extent to which program and subject learning outcomes are achieved. Some examples of student work will be retained for potential research and quality auditing purposes only. Any student work used will be treated confidentially and no student grades will be affected.

Study information

Submission procedures

Students must check the [email protected] subject site for detailed assessment information and submission procedures.

Policy on late submission and extensions

A late penalty will be applied to all overdue assessment tasks unless an extension is granted by the subject coordinator. The standard penalty will be 10% of marks awarded to that assessment per day late with no assessment to be accepted seven days after the due date. Where a student is granted an extension, the penalty of 10% per day late starts from the new due date.

Policy on plagiarism

University’s Academic Integrity Policy defines plagiarism as the act of misrepresenting as one’s own original work: another’s ideas, interpretations, words, or creative works; and/or one’s own previous ideas, interpretations, words, or creative work without acknowledging that it was used previously (i.e., self-plagiarism). The University considers the act of plagiarising to be a breach of the Student Conduct Code and, therefore, subject to the Discipline Regulations which provide for a range of penalties including the reduction of marks or grades, fines and suspension from the University.

Bond University utilises Originality Reporting software to inform academic integrity.

Feedback on assessment

Feedback on assessment will be provided to students within two weeks of the assessment submission due date, as per the Assessment Policy.

Disability support

If you have a disability, illness, injury or health condition that impacts your capacity to complete studies, exams or assessment tasks, it is important you let us know your special requirements, early in the semester. Students will need to make an application for support and submit it with recent, comprehensive documentation at an appointment with a Disability Officer. Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Office at the earliest possible time, to meet staff and learn about the services available to meet your specific needs. Please note that late notification or failure to disclose your disability can be to your disadvantage as the University cannot guarantee support under such circumstances.

Subject curriculum

As arguably the oldest continent, the uses the first three weeks to outline the process of continental development and the natural networks that go to make up 4.4 billion years of Austyralia's and the wider planetary development these are described through a review of geological, biological and climatic change the world has passed through. We look at the super-continent Gondwana and the earliest lifeforms that have been found in Australia.

After laying the foundations for modern Australia we now look at the reasons why Australia became the driest continent. These are outlined through 4 majors stages over 65 million years. The environmental changes that accompanied this process, changing a cool, rainforest covered continent to that of the driest inhabited continent in the world, are reviewed. The origin & arrival of marsupials is described together with their response to the vast environmental changes.

After laying the foundations for modern Australia we now look at the reasons why Australia became the driest continent. These are outlined through 4 majors stages over 65 million years. The environmental changes that accompanied this process, changing a cool, rainforest covered continent to that of the driest inhabited continent in the world, are reviewed. The origin & arrival of marsupials is described together with their response to the vast environmental changes.

Without understanding how the Australian continent works it is difficult to understand the ancient culture that grew up here. This week we see what sort of continent emerged from the long story of its development that we have looked at in the first three weeks.

This week we review the history of humans and their journey across the world. We look at who these people were, how they lived and how close they were to modern humans. We also look at their skills and capabilities for making tools, crossing water gaps, using proto-language and who the first people to arrive in Australia might have been. To help with this we look at the human fossil remains from Australia's close neighbours: China and Java.

The arrival of people in Australia, who they were, when they arrived & how they got to Australia is outlined. This includes a look at the possible culture they brought with them and how they spread around the continent. The theme of the origin of modern humans is revisited in the light of the genetic research and fossil evidence from Australia. We also take a look at the issues of the extinction of the megafauna & review some of the ideas that have been put forward to explain this phenomenon.

Specific archaeological materials from some of Australia's famous sites are reviewed as well as other fossil evidence in order to inform us about the origin of the First Australians, their culture & when they arrived. We take a deeper look at the culture, ceremony & belief systems of the first people by using specific examples from Australia's oldest archaeological sites. The scene is now set to begin examining the culture that subsequently developed across the continent.

In this part of the course, various aspects of Aboriginal culture are examined. We begin by introducing four cultural corners stones: ties to the land, social organisation and kinship, ritual and ceremony and the notion of the secret and sacred and transmission of culture. This week we examine special ties to the land and what the land means to Aboriginal people and how they see the land in a different perspective from that of an economic resource.

Social organisation and kinship tie Aboriginal people together in a vast network of relationships at many levels. In this way a social universe is built to encompass everybody: it is a universe which no Aboriginal person can live outside. The network involves totemic attachment to places in the landscape through relationships handed down over generations using bands, language groups, clans, moieties, phratries, skin group relationships and totemic association.

We examine art styles from different parts of the continent. Aboriginal people see and use their art in a different way than Europeans see theirs. Aboriginal art is functional not necessarily aesthetic, it describes the country, bush foods, ancestry, spiritual places and stories, it relates lore, Dreaming Tracks and how things took place in the Dreaming. Most of all it features the ancestral spirits and their stories.

Hunting and gathering has been a way of life for Aboriginal people for millennia. We review what it means to live in the desert, how people feed themselves and find water and how the people themselves have physiologically adapted to a feast and famine diet. The desert lifestyle is then contrasted with that in the tropics. The health of Aboriginal people depended upon the success of their economic adaptation to the various Australian environments.

The common conception of Aboriginal economics is one of the wandering hunter & gatherer. Although this particular lifestyle was dominant because of the type of landscape that covers most of Australia, other methods of feeding the population did take place. We look at the economic intensification of Aboriginal groups in Victoria as an example of this. There, canals & small lakes were constructed to provided bigger harvest of eels and fish.

Approved on: Sep 11, 2017. Edition: 2.1
Last updated: Dec 12, 2017.