Patrick Nunn, a professor of geography at University of the Sunshine Coast, and collaborator Nick Reid, a University of New England linguist, believe aborigines in Australia have records of Australia's coastline going back 7,000 years - obviously unheard of in any other culture.

Their evidence they must be accurate? The stories are all consistent with one another.

Psychologists know that you can't send a sentence around a room and have it be accurate so the team contends that because the stories are similar, they must be true. “It’s important to note that it’s not just one story that describes this process. There are many stories, all consistent in their narrative, across 21 diverse sites around Australia’s coastline,” says Nunn.

The aboriginal stories from 21 places around Australia’s coastline describe a time when sea levels were significantly lower than today. “Anything that goes back thousands of years – nearly 10,000 years in some cases – has to be quite exceptional,” he said. “It’s a remarkable time period when we consider our own memories and what we can remember even with the aid of books and other information.

Map of Australia showing the location for each aboriginal story discussed in the paper.

“I believe these stories endured that long partly due to the harshness of Australia’s natural environment, which meant that each generation had to pass on knowledge to the next in a systematic way to ensure its survival.”

Citation:  Patrick D. Nunn and Nicholas J. Reid, “Aboriginal Memories of Inundation of the Australian Coast Dating from More than 7000 Years Ago”, Australian Geographer, 2015, DOI:10.1080/00049182.2015.1077539