Wanjina art, pictured here and found throughout the Kimberley, portrays spirit ancestors with human characteristics. Aboriginal people in the northern and central Kimberley region of WA continue to identify with Wanjina to this day.

    Photo Credit: Grahame Walsh; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia

    Gwion figures are typically painted wearing elaborate dress, featuring boomerangs, spears and ornaments.

    Photo Credit: Grahame Walsh; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia

    Gwion figures, formerly known as Bradshaws after the pastoralist who first sketched them in the 1890s, are finely painted images of humans in elaborate dress, and occasionally animals. The Gwion figures shown here are on the Mitchell Plateau in the north-western Kimberley region. 

    Photo Credit: Grahame Walsh; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia

    Images of Wanjina, shown here at Donkey Ridge in the north-western Kimberley region of WA, are characterized by halo-like headdresses, mouthless faces, and large, round eyes.

    Photo Credit: Grahame Walsh; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia

    The Balanggarra Indigenous Protected Area, where this piece of rock can be found, lies in the northern Kimberley region of WA near the Western Australian border. It covers about 2.6 million hectares, including Cape Londonderry and some offshore islands. 

    Photo Credit: Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation and UWA Centre for Rock Art research + Management

    This Wanjina depiction of a possum and sugar glider was among the rock art studied for the Dating Project in the northern Kimberley. 

    Photo Credit: Grahame Walsh; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia

    Rock art can help researchers understand what animals were alive during particular periods of Australian history. This depiction of a goanna was created in the north-western Kimberley region.

    Photo Credit: Grahame Walsh; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia

    Wanjina twins, painted on a rock face in the north-western Kimberley region.

    Photo Credit: Grahame Walsh; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia

    Peter Veth, Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter chair in rock art, at the Wyndham-King River Road public rock art site in Western Australia. 

    Photo Credit: Sven Ouzman; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia

    Researchers from the University of Melbourne and traditional owner Ernie Boona examine rock art in Drysdale River National Park, WA, during a recent field trip to the area for the rock art Dating Project. 

    Photo Credit: Mark Jones; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia
    Photo Credit:

    A Wanjina-era bandicoot gallery on a rock face in the north-western Kimberley region. 

    Photo Credit: Grahame Walsh; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia

    Images of Wanjina, shown here at Donkey Ridge in the north-western Kimberley region of WA, are characterized by halo-like headdresses, mouthless faces, and large, round eyes. 

    Photo Credit: Grahame Walsh; courtesy Kimberley Foundation Australia

GALLERY: Rock art of the Kimberley, WA

By AG STAFF | November 10, 2015

The Kimberley region is home to some of the oldest and most prolific collections of rock art in the world. Scientists are embarking on a detailed study attempting to date the art, and experts hope this will shed light on how long ago Aboriginal people first landed on this country.