Introduction Background to the park Operating safely and responsibly Understanding cultural and natural values
Introduction Background to the Park Operating safely and responsibly Understanding cultural and natural values
Indigenous cultural values | Natural values
 

Warddehbin (rock art)

Generally, the act of painting was more important to Bininj than the painting itself. At many sites in Kakadu images have been painted over each other, as the artist was not concerned about preserving an image for posterity but simply wanted to paint to tell a story. The stories and knowledge associated with many paintings often have a number of levels of meaning. Younger Bininj and non-Aboriginal people are told the first level, known as the 'public story'. Access to the 'full story' depends on an individual's progression through ceremonial life, their interest, and their willingness to take on the responsibilities of that knowledge.

There are three publicly accessible gunbim (art) sites in Kakadu.

 

Reading

This reading will give you a good overall understanding of the rock art of Kakadu, including the materials used, their conservation and an estimation of their age.
Rock art of Kakadu (PDF)

This reading gives details about the Ubirr occupation site. It includes stories, photographs and a map.
Ubirr art site (PDF)

This reading gives details about the Nourlangie rock occupation site. It includes stories, photographs and a map.
Nourlangie art site (PDF)

This reading gives details about the Nanguluwur occupation site. It includes stories, photographs and a map.
Nanguluwur art site (PDF)

This table shows approximate dates of rock art styles in the Kakadu region.
Suggested styles of the ages of rock art in the Kakadu region (PDF)

Check your understanding

Apply your learning

Answer the following question in your own time. Go back through the above readings and websites if you need prompting to answer the question.

Click on the question mark icon if you need help getting started.

  1. Click this image for helpSome people want to know how old the rock art is. How do you explain the different ways of dating the art?
  2. Click this image for helpThere are many different styles of art on the rock walls. What explanations can you give for the change in styles?
  3. Click this image for helpWhat would you do if you don’t know the story about the art you are viewing?

Want to know more?
The additional readings in the right-hand column are for those who would like to know more about this topic.

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Example of Dynamic art

Example of Dynamic art