Remember Last Year?

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.


About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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10 Responses to Remember Last Year?

  1. Forever the heretic, I dispute that aboriginal people came here. I believe they originated here.
    I’d like to hear what they think of that idea.

    • dazzlerplus says:

      Ah, Prof Ludstrom, but where are the chimpanzees from which they evolved (or maybe they evolved from kangaroos)? Or maybe these humans emerged fully formed from a billabong. Are you going to favour us with a bit more of the meat of your fascinating thesis?

  2. Sue Emeleus says:

    Dear Rob, Did you see the Catalyst programme tonight called “On the Road”. It was the first of several on the road from Perth to Adelaide. There were huge caves in the sandstone and it was just terrific. Look it up and watch it if you didn’t see it. love from Sue

  3. Yorick Lewis says:

    Limestone, not sandstone!

    • dazzlerplus says:

      Do you mean that the sign is wrong??

      • Yorick Lewis says:

        No, Sue Emeleus said when referring to the Catalyst programme, that the caves were in the sandstone, or did she mean they were under the sandstone? I wasn’t aware that there is sandstone over the top of the limestone caves, but I am prepared to be corrected! Nit-picking really.

  4. dazzlerplus says:

    Yorick, I think you’re right. As far as I know, the Nullarbor is just one gi-normous slab of limestone. Sue, do you know something we don’t know?

  5. Anne says:

    I’ve just taken a Bex, made a cuppa and am going to lie down! All those responses to your latest post have made me dizzy Rob!

  6. Lizzie says:

    Your impressive set of numbers and their trajectory gave me a good chuckle. Keeping it to hand as an antidote to seven months of pre-election mania . Thanks Rob.

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