According to the scientists, the Universe came into existence about 13.7 billion years ago. Then about 9 billion years passed before the Earth formed. Then there was a gap of another 1 billion years before the first life appeared on Earth.
Out in the area of South Australia we now call the Flinders Ranges, things stayed fairly quiet for another 3 billion years, and then some enormous geological disturbances lead to the formation of rocky structures like that mentioned in the picture above. Then it would be another 500 million years before the first human-like creatures made an appearance on Earth.
After that, things started to gather pace. You had to wait only another 4.8 million years before the first examples of homo sapiens appeared, and then only another 150,000 years before the first aboriginal people arrived in Australia. Just 49,800 years later (give or take a few years), Captain Cook paid a visit, then the First Fleet arrived, and now Julia’s in charge, and petrol’s $1.50 a litre.
It’s pretty hard to get your head around these numbers (especially the petrol price). You look at the sign in the Flinders Ranges, and it’s too big to take in. And yet in the overall picture, those Flinders rocks are quite recent.
Aboriginal people have been in Australia for about 2000 generations. I know virtually nothing about my ancestors before about four generations ago. I think I’ll go and have a lie down.