Rock carvings in the Pilbara

I was thinking about my friend and fellow blogger Debra who has converted a pile of rocks into a new home in Tuscany. This is a pile of rocks that I hope will never be moved or recycled. We went to the Pilbara region specifically to the Burrup Peninsula as we were invited to view them with a consultant who is the brother of a friend and a geologist who works for Rio Tinto Mines. I wrote about it on my first blog but one that I never really published to the big wide world.It was quite a climb up and through the rock piles, not what I had expected, I suppose with all those cave drawings we have seen in the past I thought it was going to simply be a walk to a spot and then marvel at the carvings on big flat walls.

The carvings are called petroglyphs but we civilians call them ancient rock carvings. Some were destroyed or relocated during the 1960’s when the resource industry moved in but now the mining companies are more sensitive and engage consultants to meet with the traditional owners about the future of their rock art heritage. It was our friend’s brother who had this role.

You just have to keep walking, and climbing to find them. The traditional owners of the land we call the Burrup is known to them as Murujugga (meaning hip bone sticking out).I don’t want to detract from the carving but why do geologists always have wild beards.

We kept unearthing the most wonderful surprises.

Controversy about the future of the land continues.

Having grown up in Western Australia I cannot resist including this photo I took at the base of the rocks of Sturts Desert Pea, a wildflower I remember fondly in my youth.Our friend sculptor Stephen Hart watching his footing. Look at the carving behind his outstretched arm.

I am so pleased these rocks have not been moved although I am sure some have been stolen.

We are walking through a valley where water has washed through and whitened the rocks.

You must keep your eyes open and the climb was rewarding all the way.

The carvings are estimated to be the largest concentration of rock art in the world.
Many of the carvings are of animals and birds which are now extinct so this indicates how long ago aborigines lived in Australia.

It was such a wonderful day, I love the blue sky against the ochre of the rocks.

Early signs  of the symbols we see on contemporary aboriginal paintings here.

We climbed and climbed.


  1. #1 by bagnidilucca on September 24, 2011 - 6:34 am

    This is a part of Ausyralia that everyone should see. It is spectacular.

  2. #2 by Celia on September 24, 2011 - 8:35 pm

    Such an interesting post, Roz, thank you! So much history which was never written in the books…

  3. #3 by Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella on October 18, 2011 - 11:03 pm

    What a fascinating place to visit. I know this is a silly question, but is it quite safe to climb on those rocks (as in they don’t dislodge?). Or perhaps just tread very carefully? 🙂

    • #4 by tastetravel on October 18, 2011 - 11:35 pm

      Very dangerous, we were treading carefully.

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