The first Australians, the Aboriginal or indigenous people, arrived in the north of Australia between 70,000 and 50,000 years ago. They probably walked across a land bridge from what is now Indonesia or perhaps came by canoe. Trade and cultural exchanges continued between these new Australians and their ancestral families in the north for many generations. Over time some indigenous people moved south, travelling across Australia’s interior by what seemed to the Europeans who came much later to be magic. Although some groups chose to live a wandering life in the deserts, many more inhabited the Australian shoreline. Read the Great North Walk Companion.
All over Australia there are sites of significance for its indigenous peoples. At many of these sites there are impressive displays of art including spray paintings, charcoal designs and, most often seen and admired, rock engravings. This ‘rock art’ is generally regarded as the oldest surviving human art form. In Australia it can be very ancient, many tens of thousands of years old.
Very early inhabitants of the region around Mount Warrawolong are believed to be the Darkinjung people, although the Awabakal and Wanaruah nations are also mentioned. This mountain top is thought to have been used as a ceremonial meeting place as people from hundreds of kilometres visited the area and made their way to Mount Yengo (25 km west of Wollombi- see Chapter 5), which is a place of great significance throughout the ancient nations of eastern Australia. There is frequent evidence of camping sites and the flat, exposed areas of Hawkesbury sandstone that occur in this region have provided an ideal ‘canvas’ for Aboriginal artists for thousands of years. Of the very many rock art pictures to be seen, there are ancestral images of animals and warriors from the dream-time. Perhaps surprisingly, there are also fairly modern engravings that depict horses and even sailing ships.
Discover more about the world's oldest art in "The Great North Walk Companion" . Read the book or watch the movie.
mountain, Aboriginal art, cave painting, dream time, floral reserve