Songlines

A songline, also called dreaming track or journey track by Indigenous Australians is a path across the land (or sometimes the sky) which mark the route followed by 'creator-beings' during the Dreaming. The paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance, and painting.

A knowledgeable person is able to navigate across the land by repeating the words of the song, which describe the location of landmarks, waterholes, and other natural phenomena. In some cases, the paths of the creator-beings are said to be evident from their marks, or petrosomatoglyphs (image of parts of a human or animal body), on the land, such as large depressions in the land which are said to be their footprints.

By singing the songs in the appropriate sequence, Indigenous people could navigate vast distances, often travelling through the deserts of Australia's interior. The continent of Australia contains an extensive system of songlines, some of which are of a few kilometres, whilst others traverse hundreds of kilometres through lands of many different Indigenous people, people who may speak markedly different languages and have different cultural traditions.

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