With towering gorges, stunning waterfalls and pristine coastline, nothing quite compares to the beauty of the Kimberley. Not only does the Kimberley offer unforgettable scenery, it also has a rich history and is home to some of the world’s oldest examples of ancient rock art. When you set off on Kimberley cruises, there will be opportunities for you to experience the ancient rock art of the region. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the awe-inspiring Aboriginal rock art which can be found when you visit the Kimberley on your next cruise.
Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) rock art
Gwion Gwion rock art is one of the main two styles of rock art you can expect to come across in the Kimberley region. This sophisticated style of rock art is known for depicting graceful human figures, usually either suspended in air or engaged in activities such as hunting. The figures are often drawn with features such as headdresses, boomerangs, bags and tassels. Incredibly, it’s now thought that some of the Gwion Gwion rock art in the Kimberley could be as much as 60,000 years old – some of the oldest in the world. Gwion Gwion rock art was first discovered by European settlers in 1891, when they were recorded by pastoralist Joseph Bradshaw.
Gwion Gwion rock art can be found predominantly in the north of the Kimberley and is generally located under rock shelters in areas which are often inaccessible. It’s thought that there is a large number of sites featuring Gwion Gwion rock art which have yet to be discovered.
Wandjina rock art
Wandjina rock art is the other main style you’ll be able to experience in the Kimberley and they date back between 4,000 and 5,000 years. Wandjina rock art depicts cloud and rock spirits which are an important part of Aboriginal culture. This style of art is typically painted with red and white ochre and features mouthless figures with black eyes, with the heads surrounded by white lines to depict lightning. There are often dots or marks on the paintings which symbolise rain. These paintings are regularly re-painted by the local Aboriginal people so the presence of the Wandjina doesn’t fade and many sites have been painted over numerous times to ensure the images don’t disappear.
Wandjina rock art can often be found in the same site as Gwion Gwion rock art and this style is found nowhere else in Australia. There are numerous sites featuring Wandjina rock art on rock galleries or in caves throughout the Kimberley region.
Here at Broome, Kimberley & Beyond, we love sharing everything the stunning Kimberley region has to offer and we bring you some of the best Kimberley cruises in North Western Australia. Whether you’re looking for a luxury Kimberley cruise ship or smaller expedition vessel to explore the region, our experienced reservations team can assist with planning the ultimate holiday to meet your requirements.