Wurrwurrwuy - Garanhan (Macassan Beach) Stone Pictures - NT

  Tourist Attraction


DEG: -12.33107 136.933502
DMS: 12º 19' 51.85" S 136º 56' 0.61" E
UTM: 53 L 8636079mN 710255mE
Altitude: 22m


Address & Contact

Unnamed Road
East Arnhem NT 0822
Phone: N/A
Email: N/A
Web: N/A


Wurrwurrwuy is the Yolngu name of the area near Garanhan where there is a unique cluster of stone arrangements behind the rock-shelf. The area covered by these ‘stone pictures’ is approximately 70 metres by 80 metres. The outline pictures provide a window into the trade between the Yolngu of northeastern Arnhem Land and Indonesians that had existed for several centuries until 1907 when South Australia, which administered the Northern Teritory at the time, began using aggressive measures to collect customs duty. The Indonesians, mostly from Macassar in Sulawesi, came annually for trepang (dharripa, beche-de-mer or sea cucumber), turtle shell, and pearl shell to sell to Chinese traders. They sailed in their tri-masted praus on the northwest monsoon winds, and returned on the southeast trade winds. The Macassans acknowledged the Yolngu as owners of the land and the marine resources, and relations between Yolngu and Macassans were generally business-like and often cordial. Matthew Flinders, on his circumnavigation of Australia, encountered a fleet of Macassans near Cape Wilburforce in 1803 and spoke with Pobasso, the captain. Pobasso told him that two or three Yolngu sailed each year with the fleet to Macassar and that some had remained there.

The stone pictures were probably constructed by Yolngu elders toward the end of the nineteenth century, and in the 1960s clan leaders Mungurrawuy Yunupingu and Mawalan Marika told Campbell Macknight that the arrangements had been made by older members of their families so that future generations of Yolngu would know the history of the Macassan visits. Mungurrawuy’s father had actually been to Macassar. The photographs indicate that as of 1967 Yolngu kept the site clear of woody weeds and the stones free of obstruction.

Campbell Macknight, an archaeologist, and Bill Gray, then of the Social Welfare Branch, Northern Territory Administration, photographed the stone pictures and recorded Mungurrawuy’s and Mawalan’s explanations of their meaning and use in 1967. The Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies published the photographs and text in 1969. Professor Macknight kindly provided Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation with copies of the original photographs for use in rehabilitating the site and restoring the stone arrangements.

The arrangements can conveniently be viewed in four clusters (I – IV); Cluster I is nearest the beginning of the walking trail. The first part of the walking trail follows a trail that Macknight and Gray say was originally made by buffalo, which by 1967 had already damaged some of the pictures.
iMapPlot Reference Image


Working on it...

Get Traveller App Get the ExplorOz Traveller App to download all ExplorOz Places for navigational use on your tablet, phone, iPad or laptop.
Download Place
Use this download for GPX, Hema Navigator and OziExplorer. Geo data only no map included.



Closest Weather Station

Gove Airport at 14/09:00am CST
Distance from Wurrwurrwuy - Garanhan (Macassan Beach) Stone Pictures 13.82km NW
TemperatureFeels LikeRel. HumidityDew PointPressureRainfallWind DirectionWind SpeedGusts

Closest Climatic Station

Gove Airport
Distance from Wurrwurrwuy - Garanhan (Macassan Beach) Stone Pictures 13.82km NW
Mean Max. °C32.031.531.230.829.828.327.728.630.331.733.132.9
Mean Min. °C24.724.523.923.222.621.
Mean Rain mm272.1278.7278.8226.289.830.818.45.55.811.444.4181.2

Update History

Comments & Reviews

Post a Comment
Add Photos & Files
Alert Admin Open in Traveller App

Sponsored Links