Children and rock art: A case study from western Arnhem Land, Australia

Joakim Goldhahn, Sally K. May, Josie Gumbuwa Maralngurra, Jeffrey Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


In this paper, we explore the social context of rock art creation through the
lens of one woman’s childhood experiences in, what is now, Kakadu National
Park in the Northern Territory of Australia. We reflect upon oral history
interviews conducted over the last three years with Warrdjak Senior
Traditional Owner Josie Gumbuwa Maralngurra and her childhood spent
walking country with family. As a witness to vast numbers of rock paintings
being created, and sometimes an active participant in that process, Josie’s
memories provide rare insights into the social and cultural context of rock art
practices during the late 1950s and early 1960s. We argue that Josie’s personal
experiences provide solid evidence for both the educational role that rock art
continued to play across the region during the 20th century and its role as
a tool for helping to ensure inter-generational connection to country.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-82
Number of pages24
JournalNorwegian Archaeological Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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