Rock Art

"Rock art is the oldest and most widely known
form of Aboriginal art."

It dates back tens of thousands of years in Australia. The traditional Aboriginal people of our country used paintings and engravings to communicate and tell stories.

Aboriginal Rock Art Painting of a White Kangaroo at Karbenadjarlnglawe, Kudjekbinj, Australia
Aboriginal Rock...
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Caves and sheltered rock faces were the ideal places to paint or engrave as the artwork was less susceptible to the weather conditions and kept for a long time, so many generations to come could appreciate its beauty.

Namarrgon, the Lightning Man, One of Supernatural Ancestors Depicted at Aboriginal Rock Art Site
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Rock paintings and engravings are a big tourist attraction today, however in early times they were a story board, message or time line, similar to “pen and paper” in our modern day. The art was based on spiritual and religious beliefs and day to day life. The primitive world through the eyes of the Aboriginal people was portrayed magnificently. Common themes include fish, turtles, kangaroos and many other Australian native animals, people, ceremonial and historical artworks and legends which have been passed along to future generations. Some meaningful artwork can only be described as guess work for the rest of us and only understood by Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal Pictographs on Rock, "Lightning Man" at Upper Right
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Painting involved the use of ochre rock, in earthy colours, often combined with other substances such as water, blood or animal fat to create a long lasting and durable paint.

Engraving is the most ancient style and required rubbing, scratching or chipping away at rock faces with handmade tools from stone or other sharp objects.

Adnjamathanha Aboriginal Engravings, Sacred Canyon, Flinders Range, South Australia, Australia
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Rock art is found all around Australia, but most prolific in the north, where the weather is warmer, rock formations are more common and the Aboriginals lived predominantly in these regions, particularly the Kimberley in Western Australia, Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory and outback Queensland.

Our national parks have stunning art which is protected and preserved to the full extent. Boardwalks and barriers prevent contact with much of the artwork and some is even retouched by Aboriginal artists if tradition and belief permits. Kakadu National Park in our Northern Territory is a prime example of Aboriginal artwork splendour.

Aboriginal Paintings, Kakadu, Nourlangie, Australia
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Aboriginal Rock Art Prints

Aboriginal Paintings, The Kimberly, Australia
Aboriginal...
Connie ...
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Aboriginal Rock Art, Ubirr, Kakadu National Par, Northern Territory, Australia, Pacific
Aboriginal Rock...
Schlenker Jochen
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Ancient Aboriginal Rock Art on a Cave Wall in the Gulf of Carpentaria
Ancient...
Jason Edwards
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Ancient Aboriginal Rock Art on a Cave Wall in the Gulf of Carpentaria
Ancient...
Jason Edwards
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Nourlangie Rock, Aboriginal Rock Art Site in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Nourlangie Rock,...
Robert Francis
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Petroglyphs, Santa Fe County, New Mexico, USA
Petroglyphs,...
Michael Snell
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Painting of Turtle at the Aboriginal Rock Art Site at Obirr Rock in Kakadu National Park
Painting of...
Robert Francis
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Aboriginal Rock Art Tours

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu & Arnhem Land