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On Walkabout At: Kakadu National Park’s Ubirr Rock – Part 9

A must see location at Kakadu National Park is without a doubt the Ubirr rock art site just to the North of the Border Store and about 40km North of Jabiru.

I say it is a must see because of the abundance of well preserved Aboriginal rock art as well as the spectacular views from the top of the rocks. Some of the Aboriginal art here is estimated to be 20,000 years old:


The rock art site trails are all very well maintained and even wheel chair accessible. Anybody with just a moderate level of fitness should be able to reach the top of the rock escarpment to see the beautiful views of the Kakadu wetlands and the Arnhem Land rock escarpment:


Here is a picture of an ancient Aboriginal art form the represents the story of a fishermen that killed two thieves who had stolen fish from him. This picture is estimated to be 2,000 years old:


Many of the stories told in the rock art is known because the tales behind the art is handed down to each generation of Aborigines. It is amazing when you think about it that today’s Aborigines can interpret the meaning of art that is tens of thousands of year old.

Here is a common feature in Aboriginal art, X-ray style paintings:


The Aborigines paint many animals in X-ray form. Everything from fish, kangaroos, wallabies, and birds.  Probably the most remarkable painting at Ubirr in my opinion was this painting of the now extinct Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger:


The Tasmanian Tiger used to roam most areas of main land Australia but approximately 4,000 years ago, Indonesian traders introduced the dingo dog to Australia and the dingo spread across Australia and wiped out the Tasmanian Tiger. When Europeans arrived to Australia the Tasmanian Tiger was only found on the island of Tasmania where the dingos had not spread to. The early Europeans did what the dingos were not able to completely do and killed all the Tasmanian Tigers on Tasmania as well. Thus the Tasmanian Tiger is officially extinct, but evidence of their existence thousands of years ago on the Australian main land is proven by the ancient Aboriginal art.

The rock gallery contained rock art of sea life as well:


This rock across from me is where the art gallery containing the Tasmanian Tiger was found:


I hiked up another rock formation where more x-ray art could be found:


Here is another piece of art that represents a story of two Aboriginal sisters who had the power to turn into crocodiles:


Here is a piece of art that represents the Rainbow Serpent that Aborigines believe was the creator of the world:


This next wall had rock art that represents someone who was cursed with a sickness for going to a sacred site they were not supposed to go:


Here is the view from the top of the rocks looking out towards the flooded billabongs and wetlands of Kakadu:



Here is a view in the opposite direction looking out towards the east and the Arnhem Land escarpment:


I highly recommend checking out Ubirr mainly because of the wealth of Aboriginal rock art, but as well as for its scenic views of the park.  Unfortunately this was the last highlight of our trip to Kakadu. We did stop and check out a few more areas, but the sites mentioned in my journal here are what I found to be the most noteworthy. Really the only site we didn’t see that we really wanted to was Jim Jim Falls, but during the dry season the falls don’t have any water.  Not visiting the falls gives us an excuse to come back here some day, which we both would love to do again sometime.

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