Indigenous Australians have lived on this continent for more than 50,000 years and have strong relationships with their land and believe they belong to the land.
During the Dreaming, creator ancestors or spirit ancestors and supernatural beings emerged from the sky, the earth and water and through their journeys formed the land, geographical features and living things. Rivers, mountains, deserts, trees, plants, animals and humans were created during this time.
However, by 1788 the continent now called Australia was unknown territory for the newly arrived colonists. They often struggled with the unfamiliar landscape and maintained a culture closely aligned to their European origins. Many images of this early period record and celebrate the progress of European settlement and depict the landscape using familiar conventions. References to Australian plants and animals or the Indigenous people were often included.