The presence of Aboriginal people in interior refuges as climate conditions deteriorated with the onset of glacial aridity is now well documented in the Australian arid zone. Further excavation at Yurlu Kankala, a large rock shelter located on an island of high land in the inland Pilbara, demonstrates repeated human occupation from at least 47–43 cal ka BP through the Last Glacial Maximum to the mid-Holocene. Despite the continued presence of bone representing human food remains and an increased occurrence of hearths, after 18–17 cal ka BP there is a dramatic reduction in stone artefact numbers, suggesting that use of the site changed markedly. In exploring the drivers behind this change, we investigate the role of rock shelters in Aboriginal land-use systems in the Pleistocene Pilbara. Yurlu Kankala makes a substantive contribution to answering questions on changing rock shelter and landscape use during the post-LGM movement of people into the wider Pilbara uplands.