BEFORE ANY OF OUR HISTORY WAS WRITTEN DOWN the Original Australians lived here for more than 40.000 years. They may be the oldest continuous population in the world. Many hunted and gathered for their livelihood, some lived in semi-permanent villages. They arrived here from the North, group after group and occupied the continent. Occasionally they had visits from their northern neighbours, who came and went in canoes or other boats. These visits are apparently not linked to the arrival of those Europeans who permanently settled here to help make Australia as we know it today. Our knowledge of these visits are not based on written history but on limited archaeological evidence and Aboriginal traditions, and consequently are imprecisely dated, do neither specify names of individual people who landed here or of their vessels, nor the exact location where they may have landed.
Some, like the visits of Makassans , may (or may not) have occurred for a long time in this period and continued into the next period. They too will have brought home stories that were passed on to other neighbours and other travellers, thereby feeding the legend that there was a great land ‘down under’.