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Darwin meets Aborigines from the Darug Nation

Video clip synopsis – In 1836 Charles Darwin visited Australia. He observed at first hand the impact of the onset of invading humans on the indigenous population.
Year of production - 2009
Duration - 1min 25sec
Tags - aborigines, Australian History, Charles Darwin, Darwin's Brave New World, environment, evidence, habitats, Indigenous Australia, indigenous cultures, see all tags


Darwin meets Aborigines from the Darug Nation

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About the Video Clip


Darwin meets Aborigines from the Darug Nation is an excerpt from the television documentary series, Darwin’s Brave New World, produced in 2009.

Darwin’s Brave New World
A 3 × 1 hour drama-documentary series about how the Southern Hemisphere gave birth to the most controversial idea in science: evolution by means of natural selection. Interweaving dramatic reconstruction with documentary actuality and moving between the 19th century and the 21st, this series is the story of how Charles Darwin’s ‘dangerous idea’ developed during his epic voyage through South America, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and how that idea forever transformed society and science. Darwin’s Brave New World is a Film Australia, Beckers Group, Ferns Productions co-production.

Background Information


At the age of 22 Charles Darwin seemed destined to become a clergyman when in 1831 he was given an opportunity to sail to South America on the small survey vessel HMS Beagle. The five year voyage exposed the young Darwin to the stunning nature of the world, triggering ideas that would come to explain the origin of life on earth and shake society to its core. The Beagle voyage proved the seminal event in Charles Darwin’s career, setting him on a path to become the most famous naturalist of the modern era.

In 1836 Darwin briefly visited Australia, with stops at Sydney, Hobart and King George’s Sound.

During his stay in Sydney he made a trip to Bathurst and the Blue Mountains. His comments on the geology and wild life of the area, and his comments on the possible fate of the Aboriginal people he saw, provide us with strong indications that he was already in the process of developing his famous theory of evolution by means of natural selection, and which he finally published in 1859.

Classroom Activities


Following up a ‘big idea’
Research to find out how people reacted to Darwin’s ideas, and how they changed the way many people thought about the origins of the world.

Further Resources


Nora Barlow (ed), The autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882, New York, WW Norton & Company, 2005

Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle, London. Penguin, 1989

F.W. Nicholas and J.M. Nicholas, Charles Darwin in Australia, Port Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 2002

Iain McCalman & Nigel Erskine (eds), In the wake of the Beagle: science in the southern oceans from the age of Darwin, Sydney, UNSW Press, 2009

Iain McCalman, Darwin’s armada: how four voyagers to Australasia won the battle for evolution and changed the world, 
Sydney, Viking, 2009

David Quammen (ed), Charles Darwin: On the origin of species, illustrated edition, New York, Sterling, 2008

Julie Simpkin (ed), Charles Darwin: An Australian Selection, Canberra, National Museum of Australia Press, 2008

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online

Natural History Museum – Darwin200

American Museum of Natural History – Darwin