Linking Laverton in Western Australia, to Yulara in the Northern Territory, the Great Central Road is a great Outback Highway to travel, with so much history at its doorstep. Until recently, these Aboriginal Art Caves were unknown to the local people of the area, including the Traditional Custodians. In 2007 while undertaking a drive through the land that he had leased from the Blackstone Aboriginal Community, Andrew has discovered a series of caves that range from 5000 years of ago to over 8000 years old.
At the time of writing this Trek file, there are 12 caves that are available for the General Public to view. As Andrew is continually exploring the area around the Roadhouse, there may be future finds to add to this list, as Andrew is convinced that there must be more Aboriginal Art Caves in the area. Have a chat with Andrew, as he is a wealth of knowledge about the local area and has up to date track information on the David Carnegie Road and the Hunt Oil Road that you may like to include while in the area. Another place that is well worth the visit, and is very close to the Roadhouse, is Empress Springs, on the David Carnegie Road. The track out to there is usually in very good condition and should be included in your visit while you are in the area.
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Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
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The Great Victoria Desert
is the second largest desert system in Australia
, occupying 42 million hectors that straddles the two states of Western Australia
and South Australia
, and also happens to be Australia
’s largest dune desert system.
The Great Victoria Desert
is a vast sand belt comprising sand plains and sand dunes. The dunes are linear, and generally run in an east - west direction. Despite its name, the Great Victoria Desert
is heavily vegetated, with over 500 plant species recorded, from small herbs through to the giant and majestic Marble Gum, which is the most characteristic feature of the desert. Even though the area has low and erratic rainfall, the desert is a mass of wildflowers
in times of good rainfall.
Due to the remoteness of this area, the only thing that has changed over thousands of years is the introduction of the Great Central Road
within the last 50 years. Just a few steps from the road and you know that you are looking at an environment that looks the same now, as did centuries ago. Please treat this area with respect, leave nothing except wheel and foot tracks and take nothing except photos.
For many thousands of years, the Great Victoria Desert
has been home to a number of Aboriginal groups. When times were good, they would venture out to the remoter parts of the desert, leaving little clues that they had been in the area, in the forms of grinding stones, stone chippings and at special locations, those special Aboriginal Art Sites. With the coming of white man, and the lure of reliable food and water, these nomadic hunters and gathers, left this country, so ending the tradition that had been carried on for thousands of years
The first Europeans to pass through the Great Victoria Desert
Ernest Giles and his party of eight men, including William Tietkens. On the 27th July 1875 they departed Ooldea
on their third attempt to cross the great unknown land that separated the farming districts of Perth
with the outer boundaries of South Australia
. At one stage when they were desperately short of water, Giles’ Aboriginal companion
, Tommy found “a miniature lake lying in the sand with plenty of that inestimable fluid which we had not seen for more than 300 miles
”. This place he “honoured with Her Majesty’s mighty name”, Queen Victoria
Springs and the desert that they had just crossed the Great Victoria Desert
. Giles and his group spent 9 days recovering there before heading further west and on to a hero’s welcome in Perth
With the desert crossed, the area then saw other explorers
looking for miners and grazing land for stock. The local traditional owners of this land were lured away from their homelands with reliable food supplies and the most important thing for any living creature, water. The passing of these original people meant that thousands of years of handed down knowledge from generation to generation ended.
While having a day off of work and exploring with his brother-in-law, Andrew discovered the first cave
painting just over 5 kilometres from the roadhouse. Inspired by this find, Andrew has since found many more caves in the area, and is convinced that there must be many more such caves out in the desert, just waiting to be discovered. When Andrew showed the caves to a local Aboriginal Elder, the Elder was not aware of the caves or who had painted those special ochre paintings on the cave
walls. When Andrew has any spare time, he heads out into the desert around his roadhouse in search of further lost sites that have not seen any person for a very long time.