The Rock Art at Yankee Hat

Being in Australia now I am keen to take a look at the many examples of rock art here. On a bushwalk a couple of weekends ago, I was at the Namadgi National Park south of Canberra, on a walking trail called Yankee Hat, which contains the only known rock art found in the Australian Capital Terrritory.

The Yankee Hat Trail at the Namadgi National Park
The Yankee Hat Trail at the Namadgi National Park

Yankee Hat is the name of a mountain – presumably named because it looks like a yankee hat – at the site is a group of boulders located at its foot. The walk to the boulders took aout an hour and a half.

Yankee Hat Rock Art Site
Yankee Hat Rock Art Site
Sign near the boulders
Sign near the boulders

Rock art is notoriously hard to date, but dates taken from deposits found in the shelter suggest that the Aboriginal People have been using the site for at least 800 years, while dates from other nearby sites suggest that people have been in the area for around 3,700 years.

Yankee Hat Rock Art
Yankee Hat Rock Art

The red paints are made from ochre, while the whites are of clay. This is all the rock art there is, so it’s a fairly small site. Some of the depictions include:

An 'emu' or 'brolga'
An 'emu' or 'brolga'
A 'goanna' or 'turtle'
A 'goanna' or 'turtle'
A 'kangaroo'
A 'kangaroo'

Kangaroos are a common sight through the bush – one encounters many groups of them while walking the trail.

For more information about the Yankee Hat Rock Art site, click here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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