Mt Elizabeth Cattle station was first established by pioneer cattleman, Frank Lacy and his wife Theresa, in 1946. It is still run by Franks son Peter and his wife Pat. In recent years, as well as running around 6000 head of cattle, they have opened an area of the station to camping.
Mt. Elizabeth contains some great examples of both Wandjina and Bradshaw Rock Art. We made arrangments with the Lacy’s to visit some of these sites along the track to Walcott Inlet.
Mt Elizabeth is typical of the west Kimberley landscape – lightly wooded, pandanus lined creeks and sandstone outcrops.
The Walcott Inlet track has many creek crossings but, at the end of the dry, most are fairly shallow.
The Rock Art sites are scattered through the landscape, usually on protected sandstone overhangs.
As in many rock art galleries, the underside of horizontal overhangs are a common painting surface, offering best protection from the elements.
The subject and style of the paintings on Mt. Elizabeth vary considerably. There are seemingly light hearted images of figures and animals, such as the dancers above, as well as abstracted, symbolic figures like those below.
Others, even after thousands of years, are just plain scary.
The oldest examples on Mt. Elizabeth are the enigmatic Bradshaw Paintings. Their meaning and origin still a complete mystery.
Linework on the Bradshaws is really fine and delicate compared to the Wandjina style paintings.
Here, old Bradshaw paintings have been overpainted with Wandjina images
Some of the more abstract Wandjina paintings are incredibly beautiful and simple.
Distribution of the paintings is interesting. There are large galleries containing many paintings varying in style and subject. At some sites you would expect to find numerous paintings but just one small image will be found, tucked into an obscure corner.