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Arkaroo Rock Aboriginal Painting Site

Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges National Park , South Australia (SA), Australia


Arkaroo Rock is a small Aboriginal art site of the Adnymathanha people ("Hills People") of the Flinders Ranges with ancient aboriginal paintings. Arkaroo Rock is an important part of the aboriginal history and culture.

"Akurra" (or "Arkaroo") is the name given to two giant serpents which, among other things, created Wilpena Pound ("Ikara"). The walls of the Pound are the bodies of the "akurra" and the head of the male serpent forms St Mary Peak, the highest peak in the Flinders Ranges at 1170m, and Beatrice Hill is the head of the female serpent. The Arkaroo has given origin of name to places in this region, namely Arkaroola Village, Arkaroola Creek, Arkaroola Springs and the Arkaroo Rock in Wilpena Pound.

There are many paintings of bird tracks, snake lines, waterholes, plants and people at Arkaroo Rock created in red, yellow and white ochre and charcoal, brushed or applied by finger using wet pigments mixed with water, animal fat or blood. The paintings at the Arkaroo Rock tell the creation story of Wilpena Pound. These paintings are a fraction of the sacred aboriginal stories recorded on rock walls throughout these ranges. The site has been dated as 5000 years old. Arkaroo Rock has been used by the Adnyamathanha people for thousands of years, but first discovered by Europeans only in 1957.

Arkaroo rock is at the base of the Wilpena Pound in the southern part of the Flinders Ranges National Park in about 43 km north of Hawker or in about 15 km south of Wilpena. Turn off the main Wilpena road onto the unsealed road marked with "Arakroo Rock" sign. An easy walking track leads to the small cave with ancient aboriginal paintings. Allow 1 - 2 hours to complete the scenic walking track to the site that depicts the formation of Wilpena Pound.