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Facts About Australia for Kids: Aboriginal Rock Art
Aborigines are the indigenous or native peoples of Australia. They have occupied the continent for at least 50,000 years. When Europeans started to settle Australia about 200 years ago, there were up to a million native people still living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
Hunter-gatherers are people who depend on hunting and gathering food for survival. They spoke about 250 different languages. There are about 200,000 aborigines living in Australia today. These native Australians created a type of art known as rock art because it was made on outdoor rocks.
Aboriginal Rock Art
Aboriginal people created paintings, drawings and engravings on sheltered rock surfaces thousands of years ago. These paintings, engravings and drawings are called rock art. The pictures show things like small stick figures, kangaroos, emus and animals tracks. Some show lines, dots and hand prints.
The aboriginal artists used colors made from different types of clay. They ground up the clay and added water. They painted pictures using their fingers or brushes made with feathers. Stone tools were used to make engravings in the rock.
It isn’t known why ancient aboriginal people created rock art. It may have been part of religious rituals. Or it may have been done to record important events.
Because rock art was created on outdoor rocks, there is a risk of erosion wearing away these artworks. Erosion is the wearing away of rock by wind or rain. The government of Australia wants to protect the rock art but many are in very remote areas. This makes it difficult to protect them.