Australia’s Rock Art book

Traditional Aboriginal custodians in central Australia requested that rock art images from the MacDonnell and nearby ranges not be published in this proposed book despite being publicly accessible in National Parks or Reserves. Most of these paintings have been published many times previously, and in many cases images are available on the internet, so they are already in the public domain. Similar refusals to approve publication of images from the Carnarvon Range in Western Australia were received from the Traditional Owners of this recently declared Native Title region. Discussions are ongoing with several other Aboriginal groups about approvals but several others remain difficult to meet with or contact despite almost 4 years of trying.

There has not been an Australia-wide compilation of Aboriginal rock art since Grahame Walsh’s bicentennial publication Australia’s Greatest Rock Art was published in 1988. I was reluctant to publish this Australia-wide compilation of images without some of these un-approved regions being included, so I reluctantly produced a limited number of copies which were made available to selected rock art researchers as an unpublished manuscript.

Future discussions with traditional custodians may subsequently allow this 496-page valuable compilation to be published and therefore made available to a wider audience to promote the priceless heritage we have in this country.