North West of Western Australia – Aboriginal Rock Carvings

In Karratha, one place to see are the Aboriginal rock carvings.  These pictures illustrate what we were able to see.  The area is quite difficult to walk in and it is best that you have a sturdy pair of walking boots, a hat, some water and sunscreen. 


You walk into a canyon and continue through it.  It seems endless with all these rocks around you, like someone has picked them up in a front-end loader and just dumped them in a pile.  It is difficult to make out some of the carvings.  You have to use your imagination. 

Aboriginals who camped in this area would have carved out various animals and scenes that they saw.  It must have taken some time to do it because the rocks are quite hard.  All around you, there is evidence of camping by the hundreds of shells of oysters and mussels.  The campsites are called “shell midden”, a way of describing a campsite where the Aboriginals dumped their rubbish.

In the harshness of the rocks you can also see the wildflowers.  It is amazing how such colours can exist and continue to live even though there is very little water.  When we were there in August 2000, we saw quite a lot of water, most of it in stagnant pools.  However, these polls continued to be fed by water from sources in the upper rocks.  We were unable to determine the source of the supply. Climbing the rocks to see some of the carvings is tricky and dangerous.  But unless you do, you may miss out on some of the carvings that are not normally visible from the floor of the canyon. Take a look at the sturt desert pea.  The pods on the inside are black.  This contrasts with the flower in Exmouth where the pods are white.  It seems that Exmouth is the only place where the pods are white.