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Darrell Lewis

Site of Aboriginal culture at Delamere Station, c. 380 km south of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. It consists of several galleries of paintings and engravings in rock shelters around and near the base of a monolithic sandstone outcrop. Painted motifs include birds, echidnas, kangaroos, a dingo, a Rainbow snake, lizards, a turtle, human figures, hafted stone axes and a European with firearms and cattle. Most of the paintings are silhouettes, either monochrome or outlined with a contrasting colour. Some have additional elaboration, such as internal dividing lines or simple X-ray features. The paintings are probably less than 1000 years old, since the Delamere sandstone is relatively soft. The engravings are abraded, most being randomly orientated, parallel grooves, with some bird and animal tracks and circular pits. These abraded motifs are also unlikely to be very old.

The name derives from the huge and highly elaborate painted figures of the two Lightning Brothers, which dominate the major gallery. According to Aboriginal mythology, the Lightning Brothers originated in the ...

Article

Darrell Lewis

Site of Aboriginal culture, c. 100 km north-east of Broken Hill, in the arid country of western New South Wales, south-east Australia. It is known for its complex of pecked rock engravings; these are concentrated on an area of sloping sandstone pavements (c. 100×30 m), although others are more dispersed. Some are found along an ephemeral creek that leads to the base of the sandstone outcrop where there are several rock holes that provided the Aborigines with a permanent water-supply. The rock holes were discovered by Europeans in the mid-19th century and were visited by several exploring expeditions in the 1860s. Although the engravings are within sight of the water-holes, which were of great importance to European settlers and travellers in the region, they were not documented until the 1920s. The area containing the engravings and other Aboriginal relics was declared a reserve in 1927. It was subsequently incorporated into a larger National Park, and in ...

Article

Andrée Rosenfeld

Site of Aboriginal activity, c. 50 km north-west of Cobar, western New South Wales, south-east Australia. The Cobar Plain is a broad, semi-arid plain south of the Darling River. Intermittent rains have eroded the sandstone to produce short, narrow valleys with low cliffs and rock shelters. Permanent water-holes in the vicinity were important centres for Aboriginal activity with concentrations of campsites and painted rock shelters. Eight of the shelters clustered around Mt Grenfell have paintings; two of the largest also have evidence of habitation.

Most of the figures, painted in red, yellow or white, are fairly small (h. 100–300 mm). The paint was not always evenly ground and was generally applied thickly either with a finger or with a blunt object such as a frayed stick brush, but some paintings in red have much finer lines, possibly requiring the use of a hair brush. Human figures predominate, but a range of animal motifs also occurs, mainly macropods and emu, with dingo, fish and others more difficult to identify. The images are in plain silhouette with little detail, and they appear to have been sketched in rapidly. Most of the human figures are shown frontally, often in rows or groups with bent legs and arms, as if jumping or dancing. The latter interpretation is strengthened by the occasional addition of seated figures with arms raised in front as if clapping or holding clapsticks. Despite the high degree of schematization, varying limb positions and body angles suggest an extensive range of postures, with the occasional use of profiles to provide a greater variety. The paintings are lively and dynamic, although few activities can be identified precisely. Apart from a probable predominance of dance, some associated human and animal figures suggest hunting scenes, but animals, both isolated and in groups, are not often clearly related to the humans. A pair of red macropods (one in a very upright position), facing each other and holding clapsticks, clearly indicates that not all the animal images are to be read literally as potential prey. There are also sequences of tracks, complex designs resembling mazes that have no obvious iconic origin, hand stencils and some object stencils....