Walga Rock

Situated 48 kilometres west of Cue via Austin Downs Station, this huge granite monolith is aproximately 1.5 kilometres long and 5 kilometres around. A large cave contains an impressive gallery of Aboriginal paintings, making the site of deep cultural and spiritual significance to the Aborigines.

Most probably painted with ochre from Wilgie Mia, the gallery features "motifs that are predominantly non-figurative, with concentric circles, spirals, single and multiple wavy lines, arcs and U-shaped outlines. The figurative art includes anthropomorphic shapes, bird and animal tracks and stencils of hands and implements. A number of hands with up to seven fingers have also been drawn. A number of the paintings are so high above the present ground level that some form of scaffolding must have been used by the artists who produced them.

One of the more outstanding is that of a ship with two masts, ratlines, rigging and square portholes in the hull, a remarkable occurance considering the site is over 300 kilometres from the sea. It is believed to depict on of the Dutch ships that visited the region's shores in the 17th century. Legend has it that one of the two sailors cast ashore at Kalbarri by the Commander Pelsart of the 'Batavia' which was wrecked on the Abrolhos Islands in 1629, painted the figure of the sailing ship on the rock.


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Where is it?

48 kilometres west of Cue via Austin Downs Station.


Alternatively it has been suggested it depicts the Zuytdorp, wrecks on the coastline north of Kalbarri in 1711, or perhaps a pearling lugger. Anthropologist Dr Ian Crawford, author of the book, Art of the Wandjina, has raised the possibility that the Walga Rock painting may not be a representation of either the Zuytdorp (1711) or a pearling lugger, as once thought. He was struck by the possibilities that it represents the Xantho. There appears to be some strength to his proposal. The painting is clearly visible.

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