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Birthing Rites of Australian Aborigines in Olden Times  
Author(s) Name:

Khalida Adeeb Khanum Akhtar, Sadia Khan

Address of Correspondence



Brief Backdrop
The Aborigines migrated to Australia from other parts of the world very long time ago. More than 30,000 years from now, around the last great Ice Age, Australia was joined to New Guinea and the islands like Java were larger than today. The sea passages between these lands were narrow, by virtue of which the ancestors of the Aborigines could reach Australia, perhaps over rafts.1
However amongst the three archaeological sites discovered, the one in Penrith is speculated to date back to 47,000 years ago.1 Therefore by speculation over 18,500 generations of Australian Aborigines have gone by.
Their life Style __ Belief in Creation __ Social System
To understand their life style is a very complex system,1,2 totally out of place here. Their belief in creation was also a complicated mythology, based mostly on dreams, according to which a spirit child only initiated into life by being born through a mother.3
Referring to women, they generally did not hold much of social status. They were hardy women, who would do a lot of hard work, in heat, under the blazing sun, like pounding grass for seeds and cooking food etc.2,3
Birthing Rites of Australean Aborigines Women
Birth was women`s own business. For giving birth to their babies, they basically used to cling to the sites; where they were born or their elder children were born; located within their own territories.4
The births took place with all the rituals and traditions by squatting over a hole prepared in the ground, covered with soft grass and leaves, as well as soft red sand. The female midwifes like the grand mothers and other designated women, present at the birthing place, provided physical and emotional support to the labouring woman by holding and massaging her to relieve the discomfort of labour and its apprehension, which was considered to help in avoiding complication. A small “cry” was made by the helping women, present in the birthing camp, at the birth of the child.4 The Child was taken care of and the placenta was buried.

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