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Jo McDonald, Emma Beckett, Sarah de Koning, Ken Mulvaney

Rock art across Rosemary Island includes the earliest Murujuga stylistic phases, and most of its recorded subsequent phases. The earliest known Australian domestic structure was recorded here.

163 sites were recorded on Rosemary Island. This includes 4,800 motifs and 285 stone structures created, placed and constructed in a range of different landscape contexts.

Evidence now that there was only a short hiatus before people began to use this island once it was cut off from the mainland. Stone structures here include the earliest known Australian domestic structure. Several standing stones have engravings on them.

Rock art was found in moderate to high densities across Rosemary Island on all geologies. Densities are highest around potable water. Most Rosemary motifs are geometric, with lots of tracks, human figures and different animal forms.

Turtles dominate the animals depicted and marine themes dominate the coastal margins. Macropods and terrestrial themes are more prevalent in the interior.

Seven archaic faces, decorative infill humans and disarticulated dot head figures show that art was produced here during the earliest Murujuga phases. Grinding patches (such as the one in this image) are present in significant numbers along with other forms of occupation evidence.

When William Dampier landed and collected plants here in 1699 he saw traces of people, but met no one. Around this time someone cooked a small meal of chiton in the interior valley.

The crew of the whaleship Connecticut left a complex inscription in 1842 (see image) and later the pearler George Vincent carved his name on the island.

Murujuga Dynamics of the Dreaming Map

Click on each photo to learn more

Chapter Seven details the analysis of rock art and stone structures recorded across the six sampled Areas on Rosemary Island.

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.

© 2023. This work is licensed under a

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