Kimberly rock art tells a million stories

Jan 02, 2024

If you head up to WA’s vast Kimberley region on any of our pack-free guided walks you’re going to see some of the world’s best rocks art.

Kimberley rock art is mostly painted with different kinds of ochre that bond incredibly well with the sandstone, lasting hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of years.

No one knows exactly how many sites there are. Several thousand sites have already been recorded, but it is estimated that there are tens of thousands more, mostly in rock shelters but also on flat rock expanses, on large boulders – anywhere there is a substantial body of rock.

The oldest dated rock art consists of an ochre-smeared chunk of limestone from Carpenter’s Gap in the south-west Kimberley that was found in archaeological layers dated to 41,000 years ago. Other dates suggest images were made since that time right into the present.

The sites of the rock art are very important to traditional owners in the Kimberley because they are records made by their direct ancestors. Many of the sites are considered sacred because of the ceremonies that have been carried out in those places.

The art is exciting because it demonstrates that the local Indigenous people belong to the oldest living culture on the planet. The age and detail of the art mean that there’s a lot that can be learnt from it. The art can tell the history of the land and how the culture changed over time.

If you fancy experiencing this unique part of Australian culture on a pack-free guided walk with all the trimmings click here.

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