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Facts About Australia for Kids: Aboriginal Rock Art

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Aboriginal History

Aborigines are the indigenous or native peoples of Australia. They have occupied the continent for at least 50,000 years. When Europeans started to settle Australia about 200 years ago, there were up to a million native people still living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Hunter-gatherers are people who depend on hunting and gathering food for survival. They spoke about 250 different languages. There are about 200,000 aborigines living in Australia today. These native Australians created a type of art known as rock art because it was made on outdoor rocks.

Aborigines are the native peoples of Australia

Aborigines are the native peoples of Australia

Aboriginal Rock Art

Aboriginal people created paintings, drawings, and engravings on sheltered rock surfaces thousands of years ago. These paintings, engravings, and drawings are called rock art. The pictures show things like small stick figures, kangaroos, emus, and animals tracks. Some show lines, dots, and hand prints.

The aboriginal artists used colors made from different types of clay. They ground up the clay and added water. They painted pictures using their fingers or brushes made with feathers. Stone tools were used to make engravings in the rock.

It isn’t known why ancient aboriginal people created rock art. It may have been part of religious rituals. Or it may have been done to record important events.

Because rock art was created on outdoor rocks, there is a risk of erosion wearing away these artworks. Erosion is the wearing away of rock by wind or rain. The government of Australia wants to protect the rock art but many are in very remote areas. This makes it difficult to protect them.

An example of Aboriginal rock art

An example of Aboriginal rock art

An example of rock art in Australia

An example of rock art in Australia

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 JoanCA


Adrianna Reyes on March 30, 2014:

thank you so much i think Ill get an A on homework

someone3 on November 26, 2013:

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really good it helped me with my project thank u

someone on July 31, 2013:

this helped a lot

pop on May 13, 2013:

helped me so much on my homework!!!!!!!

JoanCA (author) on January 25, 2013:

You're welcome Jenny.

Jenny on January 16, 2013:

This helped a lot! Thanks!

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on October 11, 2012:

Art usually does.

JoanCA (author) on October 10, 2012:

Thanks Rod. It was surprising to me when I looked into this that researchers were unsure about the purpose. I'm sure it probably served multiple purposes.

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on October 10, 2012:

I'll say thumbs up and useful. I think Aboriginal art was done for the same reasons art has and is done everywhere else in the world. Of course it had to do with ritual, with the reaching out to a greater power than yourself. It also had to do with recording special events. The two have never been mutually exclusive anyway. Check out the corroboree for some clues.

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