Visiting The Walga Rock – Largest Indigenous Gallery of Rock Art

The Walga Rock, also called The Great Rock, is a granite rock outcrop located near the town of Mullewa in Western Australia. It is considered to be one of the most significant Indigenous sites in Australia and is world-renowned for its large gallery of petroglyphs, or rock art. The gallery is thought to date back around 5,000 years and contains over 1,000 individual carvings.

The Walga Rock was originally nominated for listing on the National Heritage List in 2004, but was unsuccessful due to its remote location and lack of infrastructure. However, in 2010 it was added to the State Register of Heritage Places and attracting increasing numbers of visitors each year.

There are no formal tours of the Walga Rock site, but there is an abundance of information available from the Yiyarnu Bedumara Aboriginal Corporation, who manage the site on behalf of their traditional owners. Visitors are welcome to explore the site at their own pace and are encouraged to respect both the rock art and the natural environment.


The Walga Rock is one of the most significant places in Western Australia. It is the largest Indigenous gallery of rock art in the world and has been a sacred place for the Aboriginal people for over 20,000 years.

The rock was first brought to the attention of Europeans in 1837 by the explorer, Augustus Gregory. However, it was not until 1856 that a detailed description and account of the rock paintings was made by the naturalist, Philipp Friedrich von Secondi. In his book ‘Journal of a Residence in Australia’, Von Secondi described the moment he first saw the paintings:

“On a sandstone cliff about two hundred feet high, I saw for the first time, through an opening in the foliage, an immense picture composed of several thousand figures.”

The Walga Rock has since been visited by many other European explorers and settlers as well as anthropologists and archaeologists who have studied the paintings in detail. Today, it is a popular tourist destination and is open to the public all year round.

The Gallery

The gallery is the largest of its kind in Australia and one of the most significant in the world. It is a place of great cultural and spiritual importance to the Aboriginal people and has been used for ceremony and storytelling for many thousands of years.

The gallery is located on a sandstone outcrop in the central desert region of Australia. It is thought to be one of the oldest continuouslyOccupied sites in Australia, with evidence of human occupation dating back over 20,000 years.

The Gallery contains over 1,500 individual paintings, depicting a variety of subjects including animals, humans, Spirit beings and geometric designs. The paintings are believed to have been created using a technique known as ‘pigment grinding’, where natural pigments are ground into a fine powder and then mixed with water to create a paint.

The Walga Rock Art Gallery is open to the public all year round and there is no charge for entry. Guided tours are available, which are conducted by local Aboriginal guides.

The Art

The art is predominantly of the Wandjina and Bradshaws, two distinct groups believed to have occupied the region at different times. The Wandjina are rain spirits whose images are characterised by long halo-like hair, big eyes, beaks and no mouths. They appear to be floating in space and surrounded by clouds, lightning and rain. Most of the Wandjina figures are white, although some have a red or yellow tinge

The Bradshaw paintings are more stylised and less well defined. They are thought to depict aspects of Aboriginal mythology and daily life. The figures are slender with elongated noses, small mouths, almond-shaped eyes and often have spiral designs around their bodies. Their hands and feet are usually small in relation to their bodies

The Artists

The artists who painted at Walga Rock were from the Ngarluma tribe. The Ngarluma people are the traditional custodians of the land on which Walga Rock is located. They have a strong connection to the land and its resources, and they continue to practise their traditional culture and ceremonies today.

The Ngarluma artists painted at Walga Rock using ochres (red, yellow and white pigments) and charcoal. They would have ground the ochres to a fine powder using stones, before mixing them with water to form a paste. The paste would then be applied to the rock surface using their fingers or brushes made from leaves or grasses.

The paintings at Walga Rock depict a wide range of subject matter, including animals, humans, geometric shapes and patterns. Some of the paintings are very old and have faded over time, while others are more recent and are still bright and vivid.

The paintings at Walga Rock are an important part of Ngarluma culture and heritage. They provide us with a window into the past, and they help us to understand the connection that the Ngarluma people have to the land.

The Significance

The Walga Rock is a large sandstone monolith which is located in the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia. It is the largest Aboriginal gallery of rock art in the world and has been listed as a World Heritage Site. The rock art is thought to date back over 20,000 years and depicts a wide range of subjects including animals, people, and spiritual beings.

The Walga Rock has great cultural and historical significance to the Aboriginal people of Australia. It is a place of great spiritual importance and is used for ceremonies and ritual purposes. The rock art provides a window into the past, allowing us to see how the Aboriginal people lived and what was important to them.

The Walga Rock is open to the public and there are guided tours available. It is an enjoyable and fascinating place to visit, and a great way to learn more about the Indigenous culture of Australia.

The Future

It is hoped that in the future, more people will come to visit and appreciate the Walga Rock. In particular, it is hoped that more Indigenous people will visit the site and learn about their culture. As the custodians of the land, it is important for Indigenous people to reconnect with their heritage. The Walga Rock is a beautiful and significant site that everyone should experience.


The Walga Rock is the largest Indigenous gallery of rock art. It is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The rock has been a source of food and shelter for Aboriginal people for over 20 years.