Australian Space Agency – past, present and future
Indigenous Australians are our first scientists and astronomers, and their knowledge and contributions to Australian science are reflected through the new Australian Space Agency brand.
At first glance, the logo appears as a satellite view of Australia. The dots allude to the light created from human life and industry, which the Australian Space Agency will support.
However, closer inspection reveals this isn’t an abstract view looking down on Australia from space. It’s actually what Australians see when they look to the skies.
Just like with the night sky, the logo holds gems for those who know where to look. Hidden within the logo are significant Indigenous star constellations which represent dreamtime stories. The dots now take on a star-like quality, while subtly referencing the artistic methods of our first people.
The abstract view is also what Australians can see when they look to space. The continent is made up of eight Aboriginal constellations and star maps, with each cluster capturing our heritage and the spirit of the Agency.
There is a strong link between space and Australia’s Indigenous people who are the world’s oldest astronomers. For thousands of years, the sky has been critical to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in dictating seasonal activities around food and movement, a reflection of what is happening on the land.
The brand is a result of consultation with members of Australian Indigenous communities and Indigenous astronomy experts. Many of the constellations have stories and meanings to multiple Indigenous communities across Australia. “It’s fundamentally important for the reclamation of culture between Aboriginal cultures and modern culture, that the Space Agency has incorporated Indigenous constellations into the brand” said Paul Curnow, Astronomy Lecturer at University of South Australia, who provided consultancy on star patterns seen in the Agency’s branding.
The Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark AC, said the Agency’s first few months have re-enforced our purpose to transform Australia’s space industry and to inspire all Australians.
“The new identity is a brand of which we can all be proud, and we hope that Australians come to love. It reminds us that we are here to serve our nation, honour our past and build the future.”
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
Watch the video
This animated video tells the story of the Australian Space Agency’s brand identity.
For thousands of years Indigenous Australians made sense of the land by looking to the sky.
[Constellation images appear.]
- Emu in the Sky
- Eagle’s Footprint and Claw
- Stingray Pursued by Sharks
- Women in the Sky
- Wanjel and Yuree Pursuing Purra
- The Seven Sisters
- The Three Brothers
Today we continue to look from Earth to space and from space to Earth.
[Australian Space Agency brand appears on black background.]
Using our unique location and skills we will transform and grow a globally respected space industry.
[Australian Space Agency brand appears on white background.]
We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to the land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.
Meaning of the Constellations
Emu in the Sky
A dark cloud next to the Southern Cross that stretches out across the Milky Way as an emu. In some cultures, the emu's position in the sky signals the best time for emu egg collection.
Eagle’s Footprint and Claw
The Kaurna People see the stars of the Southern Cross as the footprint from Wirltu the eagle’s claw. Echoed by other groups who all see a footprint or talons of the eagle.
Stingray Pursued by Sharks
A number of Indigenous groups see the Southern Cross as a stingray, often being pursued by sharks across the sky.
Wanjel and Yuree Pursuing Purra
A story from the Boorong People, Purra is the red kangaroo that was pursued by the hunters Wanjel and Yuree.
Women in the Sky
The Noongar People see the Southern Cross as four women that had camped near a forest and were swept into the sky.
The Seven Sisters
The Seven Sisters are seen as a group of women, being chased by a man, with songlines for the story stretching across our continent.
The Three Brothers
The stars in Orion are often seen as a group of men that are hunting, fishing in canoes or taking part in a corroboree.
The Southern Cross, which many Australians are familiar with. The fifth star is now known by its Aboriginal name, Ginan, a small dilly bag full of songs of knowledge.
Consultancy on Indigenous Astronomy by Paul Curnow, Astronomy Lecturer at University of South Australia, Honorary Life Member of the Astronomical Society of South Australia and Lecturer at the Adelaide Planetarium.
The Australian Space Agency acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.