Rock art is found in more than 100,000 sites throughout Australia.
It is a broad term that includes:
- Pictographs (paintings, drawings, stencils, prints)
- Petroglyphs (engravings, impressions left by fingers and hands, bas relief)
- Beeswax designs
There are two sites on the Nathan campus which display rock engravings that were relocated from the Burnett River, Bundaberg.
Leading Griffith University rock art expert and ARC Australian Laureate Fellow Professor Paul Tacon is working with Traditional Elders and the Queensland Museum to learn more about these engravings.
In total, 19 rocks were transported to Griffith University by the Queensland Government in the early 1970s when a barrage was constructed near the Burnett River for irrigation purposes.
They feature pecked designs, and kangaroo and emu tracks. There are also ovals, lines and grooves which were a result of stone axe sharpening.
Looking after the engravings
The University acknowledges the importance and value of these artefacts, and is committed to their care, in consultation with Elders and the Queensland Museum.
Recently, new barriers and signage were erected by the University to better protect and promote these artefacts.
Griffith University recognises the Jagera and Turrbal peoples as the traditional custodians of the land on which the Nathan campus is situated, and encourages students, staff and the wider community to learn about these rock engravings in the spirit of reconciliation.
The original rock art site, each engraved bolder, and each engraved image are considered sacred to past and present Aboriginal people. The Burnett River site was an important meeting place for ancestral beings who are said to have created the engravings. The site is also sacred for various groups of Aboriginal people who met there over thousands of years.