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Rock Art in Australia May Depict 19th-Century British Ship

Friday, May 17, 2019

Australia ship engravingPERTH, AUSTRALIA—Mirage News reports that an image of an early nineteenth-century British naval ship has been found scratched into a boulder on an island in the Dampier Archipelago, off the coast of Western Australia. Peter Veth of the University of Western Australia and rangers from the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation Land and Sea Unit found the rock art during a survey of the area in 2017. The image is thought to depict HMC Mermaid, a cutter captained by Phillip Parker King during his survey of the continent’s coastlines between 1817 and 1822. The ship’s crew of researchers, which included an Aboriginal man from Sydney named Boongaree and botanist Allan Cunningham, also wrote about the Yaburara people’s traditional lifeways. The image was probably created by King or members of his crew, according to Jo McDonald of the University of Western Australia. For more on rock art in Australia, go to “Off the Grid: Kakadu National Park.”

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