Jo McDonald, Emma Beckett, Ken Mulvaney
Almost 5,000 motifs and sixty-six stone structures were recorded across the west of Enderby Island. Art production commenced here when this was still part of the coastal landmass, and continued after it became an island.
The entire Murujuga style sequence has been produced on Enderby Island, but mostly from the middle of the sequence. Earlier art was produced in interior valleys near pools, with more recent art being produced around the coastal margin, after sea level rise created this island. Grinding patches at multifunctional sites demonstrate fibrecraft production and seed-processing. The art includes evidence for historic explorers.
Most of the engraved art here is geometric with variable numbers of tracks (such as these bird tracks pictured), human figures and different animals. Grinding patches and other forms of mark-making are common on the smoother basalt surfaces.
There are more human figures in Area 8, and more tracks in Area 4. Areas 1-3 have higher numbers of animal depictions than other areas. An archaic face, five decorative infill humans and three dot head human figures represent the earliest Murujuga style phases. There is a distinctive type of Enderby anthropomorph which is a recent local style development.
Early rock art was produced in interior landscapes, but most art was produced here during the middle style phases. Recent rock art was produced only on the coastal margins.
Animal motifs around the coast are marine-focused and likely mid-late Holocene productions. Whale (and other marine) tails dominate in Area 1 while fish dominate in Area 8. Turtles are present throughout all time periods in Area 6; while macropods and terrestrial themes dominate other interior valleys. Lizards are present in large numbers in Area 4, while bird depictions dominate in Area 7.
A depiction of the Mermaid ship (see image) records the visit by Philip Parker King in 1818. We think that Bongaree – the Sydney Aboriginal man who accompanied this circumnavigation – could have been the artist, given the lack of historic reference to this memorialisation.
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All photographs within this monograph were taken by CRAR+M researchers, partners and students, and have been given cultural approval for publication by Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation. Future use of imagery would require additional permissions from Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and CRAR+M.