Rock paintings found

By | Category: Travel destinations
rock painting of a hand

finger art in a cave or private land near the Hawkesbury River. The rock art in Arnhem Land is more leaborate

Australia is a big place. That banal statement hides the fact of just how large the place is. In a few hours we can be in any number of countries. In seven hours we can be in Cyprus or Turkey. In Australia you would have flown in about the same time from Darwin to Sydney.

It still comes as a surprise to find that there are still things to explore in the country.  According to the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC, click here to see the story and images) a huge find of aboriginal rock paintings in the Wardekken area of Arnhem Land has been made. By huge I mean an estimated 30,000 paintings. How could that number of rock paintings have been missed in the past?

They might have been known by the local indigenous Australians but this is uncertain. These 30,000 were only found by accident when local rangers were doing some back-burning in preparation for the summer. Back burning is where scrub vegetation is control burned so there are breaks that can stem bush fires should one start. That they did not seem to know they were there suggests even indigenous Australians are surprised by the amount of their heritage there is still to find.

Now the task will start in recording where the paintings are and what they are about. There would seem to be mythical creatures but some appear to be modern. The ABC says that “one section portrays first contact with police officers, ships and guns.” If so then they continue a tradition that does date back thousands of years. Some of the others do show mythological creatures and may date back to an earlier time. Not all can be so easily understood even by the locals so it will take a time to chronicle all of them.

Wardekken is known for the rock paintings already so tourists have been visiting the area for many years. If you are thinking that you would like to visit some of the rock paintings on a future Australian trip, then be aware that you need a permit to enter Arnhem Land and it is probably better to go as part of a guided tour.

For more about Arnhem Land, click here.

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