Our Art Our Quinkan - Rock Art Paintings

Quinkan Country takes its name from the spirit figures which are featured in an array of rock art galleries, located across the Laura Basin region of sandstone which dominates this landscape.

Although the exact age of these galleries is yet to be determined, they are believed to be between 15,000 and 40,000 years. They are included on the Australian Heritage Estate, are inscribed on the National Heritage List and are listed by UNESCO as being among the top 10 rock art sites in the world.

The Laura rock art is unique for its quantity, quality, variety and age. The galleries have hosted artists over hundreds of generations. Some creating new works over old, others beginning new galleries in separate overhangs and shelters.

These ancient rock art sites provide historical evidence that Aboriginal people have lived in the Laura region for many thousands of years, prior to first contact with European explorers in the 19th century.

Handed down by their ancestors, these sites provide a visible link with the past and demonstrate the link between people, community and country.

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Different paintings were made in different places

In this area – a big country – people painted in many places. They were camp sites. You now call them galleries. The most spectacular paintings you can see are in the very big galleries on the escarpments. They are very big natural camp sites. The galleries are deep. They have good ceilings and high back walls. Different paintings were made in different places. 


Quinkans Spirit Being Figures

A major feature of the Quinkan Country rock art is the Quinkan or spirit being figures. There are many types of Quinkan images, although these galleries are best known for their depictions of the tall slender Timara’s and fat bodied Imjim (or Anurra). Animal totems are another dominant characteristic of these rock art galleries.

The Quinkan Country rock art showcases an evolution of styles, as well as socio-cultural systems, including the arrival of Europeans. They are a record and documentation of life lived here, spanning thousands of years.

Discovery of the rock art galleries continues to this day, with surveys by the Laura Rangers, researchers and others finding up to 100 new sites each year. All the rock art sites have special significance to the Aboriginal community of Laura, due to their deep religious and spiritual importance. They also provide insights into the prehistory of the area, including flora and fauna.

To fully appreciate the heritage values of the Quinkan Country rock art, a tour can be arranged with a local Aboriginal Guide. Enquiries to (07) 3707 3168, Mobile 0497219089 or admin@anggnarra.org.au These sites are managed by the Ang-Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation and the Laura Rangers.

There are good and bad spirits - Timara's are good spirits

Our rock art is very important to our people. It is a great responsibility to look after the paintings here. We don’t paint the pictures anymore. We just look after them. We take people on tours to see the art. We look after country. 

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