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Aboriginal rangers discover rock art sites in Arnhem Land

31 Jul 2017
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An article by Kristy O'Brien and Neda Vanovac on - Aboriginal rangers discover rock art sites while conducting burn-offs in Arnhem Land - reports on the discovery of 100's of works of rock art by a group of Aboriginal rangers while conducting dry season burn-offs in the remote West Arnhem region in northern Australia.

Aboriginal rangers discover rock art sites in Arnhem Land, Australia

Ranger Serena Namarnyilk Yibarbuk with some of the newly uncovered rock art in Arnhem Land. Image: ABC News/Kristy O'Brien.

The rock art depicts traditional ways, mythical creatures, and ancient songlines, as well as first contact rock art.

Newly discovered rock art in Arnhem Land, at risk from bushfires and feral animals. Image: ABC News/Kristy O'Brien.

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The local people in this region estimate there could be thousands of paintings yet to be discovered. A group of female rangers including Warddeken ranger Lindsay Whitehurst and Serena Namarnyilk Yibarbuk, are now working hard to document them and preserve them from potential damage by feral animals, such as buffalo, horses and pigs, and large seasonal wildfires that can rage through Arnhem Land.

 Aboriginal rangers discover rock art sites in Arnhem Land, Australia

Rangers discovered the art while conducting early-season burn-offs. Image: ABC News/Kristy O'Brien.

To minimize the threat of fire, the rangers patrol the area raking up dry grasses and dead leaves, put in firebreaks and conduct small localised burns.

Aboriginal rangers discover rock art sites in Arnhem Land, Australia

Rangers hope locals will be able to protect and catalogue the art which represents their culture & history. Image: ABC News/Kristy O'Brien.

The rangers emphasize that they are encouraging the local Bininj people to carry out the work at the occupation and rock art sites in the Warddeken - Indigenous protected area.

Visit the Australia Rock Art Archive:


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