Kimberley Rock Art

Kimberley rock art is arguably some of the world’s oldest, with evidence suggesting the earliest occupation in the region dates back 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.

Rock paintings can provide information about how and when people arrived, about the environment at the time, how they lived and adjusted to changing climatic conditions, and something of their beliefs.

Understanding Kimberley rock art is an ongoing academic effort that started with the discovery of the Wanjina paintings in the 1830s and continues today through our research program and working with aboriginal communities.


Rock Art Styles

There is a diverse range of rock art present in the Kimberley. This large variety of styles and sites reflects the cultural and artistic development in the region and can be understood to move through distinct Epochs as described in Grahame Walsh’s Rock Art sequence (published 1994) and the more recent Rock Art styles

The most famous of these are the Wanjina and Gwion periods.


“To see dedicated rock art explorers and surveyors, geo-chronologists, cosmologists, palaeontologists and chemists working together to get the layered sequences of Gwion paintings matched with hard dates is impressive. Their work shows the importance of the Australian setting in providing a full understanding of the range and depth of visual expression in hominin evolution. I commend the Kimberley Foundation.”
Sir Antony Gormley
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