Antill based his music on a live corroboree which he had witnessed as a child at Botany Bay. He made researches into Aboriginal music over many years, finally producing the present score in 1944. This was first heard in a concert version conducted by Eugene Goossens two years later. It was first danced as a complete ballet by the National Theatre Ballet. That was on 3 July 1950 with the composer conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.