The Earth Above

The Earth Above: A deep time view of Australia’s epic history

Planetarium video for ARC Centre of Excellence of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH)

Project Leads:
Martin Potter
Stefan Greuter

Development Team:
Scott Jackson
Jagnoor Singh
Nicholas McKinnon
Charlie Hill-Smith


This project is a collaborative effort between the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) and Deakin University’s Motion Lab. It seeks to increase public engagement and awareness of Australia’s ancient Indigenous heritage and environmental past by combining scientific research expertise with knowledge of filmmaking, participatory media, and immersive technologies. The project aims to produce a planetarium video that explores the deep time human history of Australia, with a particular focus on high schools as the primary audience. 

The planetarium video, provisionally titled “The Earth Above: A Deep-Time View of Australia’s Epic History,” will be 25-30 minutes in duration and will explore Australia’s last 140,000 years of history, incorporating both scientific and traditional knowledges. The project will consist of four vignettes set at different locations across Australia, each highlighting ground-breaking research from CABAH flagship projects and foregrounding the voices and visions of Indigenous communities. 

The overarching goal of the project is to provide a ‘big history’ narrative that combines the efforts and knowledge of Indigenous communities and science to help future-proof Australia’s biodiversity and heritage. In addition, the project will feature educational resources developed using research-based strategies to facilitate effective learning. These resources will form part of a suite of learning tools developed via CABAH’s Education and Engagement program. 

The project will be delivered under the banner of Deakin Motion Lab, with support from Professor Stefan Greuter and his team, including contracted research assistants for the animation and technology components. The CABAH project team working on this includes Stuart Creal, Director of Science Space, Wollongong and external media production specialists who will be contracted to produce animations and undertake other specialist production roles, including production of a large scale sand artwork by Nyul Nyul artist Lowell Hunter and 360-degree drone cinematography by US-based company Panogs. 

Indigenous voices and visions will be foregrounded in the realization of the work, with filming on and visualizing of country occurring with traditional owner permissions. Scripts for each location have been co-created with key stakeholders in the community.