The Aboriginal rock art of Ubirr, Kakadu National Park. Northern Territory, Australia.

“These paintings were done by Mimis. They are simple paintings. They are not new. Painted long time ago. They have been painted in red ochre and animals’s blood.”

-Jacob Nayinggul, Manilagarr clan, Aboriginal traditional owner.

Ancestral Art

The rock art of Ubirr tells two different stories. For archaeologists, the story is one of changing artistic styles. These reflect changes in the environment and Aboriginal society over many thousands of years. For Aboriginal land owners, the paintings tell the story of their country and their culture.

Look for a variety of small human figures. Archaeologists estimate these paintings to be 5,000 years old and describe them as Mountford Figures or Northern Running Figures.

Similar paintings can be found near the Rainbow Serpent. This style of art only occurs in a small region of Arnhem Land and northern Kakadu.

-Kakadu National Park.

Photo taken by Neerav Bhatt.

“A Lesson in Good Behavior”

From the Prehistoric Ubirr Aboriginal Art Site, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia.

Information from the sign in front of the painting:

This painting of Mabuyu reminds traditional owners to tell a story which warns against stealing. 

Mabuyu was dragging his catch on a string after a fishing expedition when a greedy person cut the string and stole his fish.

That night, Mabuyu waited until the thieves had eaten his fish and were camped inside their cave near the East Alligator River. Then he blocked the cave with a huge rock.

Next morning they never came out. Because they pinched it they got punished. Kids, ladies, and men all dead -finished.

The rocks of Ubirr have been painted and repainted since 40,000 B.C.E., it is thought that most were created about 2,000 years ago.

Photo courtesy & taken by Neerav Bhatt.