As part of a three day tour of the top end of Australia we visited Ubirr in the Kakadu national park. Many rock art sites have been discovered in the area with paintings dating back thousands of years. Traditionally rock art was used as a way of passing on information. Aboriginal people did not have a written language so the cave paintings hold important information about life in Australia before white settlement. The paintings may tell stories of creation passed through the generations over time. They also might contain warnings or directions for travel as well as technical instructions for hunting or traditional medicines.
It is a strange experience to wander through the area and examine paintings which show a way of life that no longer exists. Many of the paintings are faded and difficult to make out through natural erosion of the stone. Traditionally when paintings faded the area would be used again and repainted. However since the colonisation of Australia, the Aboriginal people can no longer live in the traditional way. Their way of life, much like like the rock art has been eroded.