Aboriginal Art Dreamtime Stories

  • Rainbow Serpent Dreamtime Story

    The Rainbow Serpent (Serpant) dreaming in Aboriginal society represents one of the great and powerful forces of nature and spirit. Connected to water, the Rainbow Serpent is the great life giver, and protector of water, which is his spiritual home. Spirit of the Waterholes For Aboriginal people of the desert, the Rainbow Serpent lives in […]

  • Wandjina Dreamtime Story

    Wandjina is a powerful Rain Maker spirit associated with the north-west region of the Kimberley in Western Australia. Wandjina images are painted on the rock galleries and in caves throughout the region, marked in red and white ochre. The Wandjina images are painted in significant ritual sites for Aboriginal people of the region, and the […]

  • Star Dreaming Story of the Seven Sisters

    The Star Dreaming story of the Seven Sisters is one of the most widely distributed ancient stories amongst Aboriginal Australia. The songline for this story covers more than half the width of the continent, from deep in the Central Desert out to the west coast. The songline travels through many different language groups and different […]

  • Bush Medicine Leaves Dreaming

    Bush Medicine Leaves is a well documented dreaming story painted by the women artists of Utopia in Central Australia. The flowing motion and undulating rhythm of the subject matter reflects the importance of the bush medicine leaves to traditional Aboriginal culture. The bush medicine leaves are collected by the women and are highly prized for […]

  • Bush Plum Dreaming

    The Bush Plum Dreaming Story is a big story that spreads right across the western and central deserts from Lajamanu and Warlpiri country to the Utopia homelands. The Bush Plum Dreaming or Creation Story from the Utopia region goes like this: In the Dreamtime winds blew from all directions carrying the bush plum seed to […]

  • Fire Dreaming – Waru Tjukurrpa

    Waru Tjukurrpa relates to Fire Dreaming and the use of fire for hunting and for land management on traditional Aboriginal lands. Jorna Newberry has extended the imagery and story that she has previously represented under the title Walpa Tjukurrpa, or Wind Dreaming. Both these Dreaming stories relate to Jorna’s mother’s country at Utantja, on Pitjantjatjara […]

  • Mina Mina Jukurrpa

    Mina Mina Jukurrpa relates to a major Women’s Dreaming site that is sacred to Warlpiri women of the Napangardi and Napanangka skin groups. Min Mina is located well to the west of Yuendumu in the Tanami Desert, in country that features and is dominated by salt lakes, claypan soakages and sandhills. The Dreaming describes the […]

  • In the Beginning When the World was Soft

    Many paintings in Aboriginal art depict the creation stories of the artists’ ancestral lands. Depending on where these come from, these paintings reflect the mutli-layered stories and sand drawings that were a part of ceremonial life and are depicted from an aerial perspective, showing, among other things, a map of sacred sites relevant to the […]

  • Aboriginal Art and Body Painting

    The world of Aboriginal ritual and ceremony is a constant source for Aboriginal artists when choosing subject matter for their art and paintings. When preparing for ceremonies it is usual for the dancers to be painted up with ritual designs, using ochre colours on to the dancer’s body. These designs can represent clan identity or […]

  • Tali – Sandhills Dreaming

    The sandhill country that dominates much of inland Australia features widely amongst Aboriginal artists painting their desert homelands. While much of the semi- arid country of desert regions is covered in low scrub and grasslands, usually the dominating feature of the landscape is found in the patterns of the sandhills that creates the terrain. Called […]

  • Awurrapun – Crocodile Dreaming Story

    Awurappan - Crocodile

    The Crocodile Dreaming Story, or Awurrapun in the Batyamal language, is one that comes from the Daly River, about 230 kms south of Darwin. It is a subject that sisters, Helen McCarthy Tyalmuty and Kerry Madawyn McCarthy, like to paint. It is a sad story that shows how the salt water crocodile got its skin […]

  • Alpar Seed Dreaming

    In the desert country of central Australia there are many varieties of seeds that are collected and harvested. One of these is commonly called the Rat-tail, Goosefoot or Green Crumbleweed plant. Its official European name is Dysphania kalpari, while in the languages in the Utopian Homelands of Central Australia it is known as Alpar. A […]

  • Daiwul Barramundi Dreaming

    Barrumundi Dreaming, is a story that belongs to the people of the East Kimberley, near Warmun. June Peters, one of the contemporary artists from Warmun, relates the story as she depicts it in her painting: “This painting shows a place not far from where Argyle Diamond Mine is now located in the East Kimberley.  It […]

  • Damper Seed Dreaming

    Damper, also known as bush bread or seedcake, is a European term that refers to the bread made by Australian Aborigines for many thousands of years by crushing a variety of native seeds, and sometimes nuts and roots, into a dough and then baking the dough in the coals of a fire. The bread is […]

  • Bush Hen Dreaming

    Traditional stories and ceremonies that are enacted by Aboriginal people involve all elements of the natural world. In Central Australia on the Utopia Homelands, the Anmatyerre people have a traditional story of the Bush Hen (Bush Turkey or Bustard). The Bush Hen travelled across the ancestral country as it searched for its favourite food, the […]

  • Kingfisher (Luurn) Dreaming Creation story

    The Kingfisher (Luurn) Creation story is a special Dreaming story from the desert country along the Canning Stock Route region in Western Australia. The Dreaming story takes place in sites along the mid section of the Canning Stock Route and at locations to the north around Balgo Hills. The kingfisher in this region is a […]

  • Yarla Bush Yam Dreaming

    Ceremonies associated with the Bush Yam are widespread throughout Central Australia, celebrating the importance of this native food and recognising its ritual importance. When large numbers of people have gathered together for ceremonies and Law business, the critical issue in the desert is finding enough food to feed everyone. The Dreaming or Jukurrpa Stories that […]

  • Water Dreaming

    For Aboriginal people living a traditional life in the desert areas of Australia, water, and knowledge of where it could be found, was essential to survival. Therefore, throughout Aboriginal Australia all water sources – rockholes, fresh water springs, soakages, rivers, underground water and billabongs – form a vital part of traditional knowledge and ritual life. […]

  • The Witchdoctor and the Windmill

    The WitchDoctor and the Windmill is a story that Linda Syddick Napaltjarri loves to paint. It documents the first contact some of her family group had with European settlement, when, in 1945, they walked out of their Pintupi homelands near Lake MacKay in the Gibson Desert, Western Australia, heading east for Haasts Bluff Mission. Linda […]

  • Lightning Dreaming

    Aboriginal artists have depicted Lightning Dreaming as part of the Water Dreaming story, reflecting the importance of rainstorms in the ecology of their country, filling waterholes and replenishing the country. Lightning is part of the powers of nature that bring rain to country, and a powerful force that also causes bushfires in open savannah country. […]

  • Ngupawarlu (Waterhole) Dreaming

    Ngupawarlu is a waterhole out near Well 39 on the Canning Stock Route deep within the desert country of Central Western Australia. Ngupawarlu was the birthplace and spiritual home for Kimberley artist Nyuju Stumpy Brown (1924- 2011). Stumpy Brown became a well known artist at Fitzroy Crossing and Wangkatjungka community in the Kimberley region. Stumpy […]

  • Budgerigar Dreaming

    The Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) is a small, seed-eating parrot. Budgerigars are the only species in the Australian genus Melopsittacus. They are nomadic birds, and budgerigars are found throughout the drier parts of Australia where the species has survived harsh inland conditions for the last five million years. Budgerigars primarily live in open habitats, such as […]

  • Walpa Tjukurpa Wind Dreaming

    Aboriginal people used ceremonies and their own long-standing knowledge of the environment to manage the natural world and prevailing conditions in the best possible ways available to them. Managing fire and water was important as a means to overseeing the best use of the country for animal numbers and the growth of native plants and […]

  • Tingari – Pintupi Creation Story

    Tingari refers to the Dreaming and its Laws for the Pintupi language group of the Central Western Desert. The Tingari is the Creation era when the Dreamtime Ancestors moved across the lands, creating the features of the landscape and all aspects of the natural world. The Tingari Ancestors stopped at specific sites on their journey, […]

  • The Canning Stock Route

    1 Peter Goodijie - Canning Stock Route 03172

    Overview The Canning Stock Route is the longest historic stock route in the world, running 1,780 Kms through the desert region of Western Australia. It was created as a stock route between the towns of Halls Creek in the East Kimberley and Wiluna in central Western Australia. The original purpose for the track was to […]

  • Jalala – Marking Stone Dreaming

    Jack Dale Mengenen (c1920- 2013) lived all his life in the West Kimberley, spending much of his time working as a head stockman at Mt House Station on the Gibb River Road. Jack Dale was brought up in the Ngarinyin culture by his maternal grandfather and travelled widely over this part of the country, learning […]

  • Japingka Waterhole Dreaming: Art, Place and Country

    Water sources are sacred places to Aboriginal people of the desert, and each waterhole has a Creation story from the Dreaming attached to it. The Creation story gives the waterhole and the people who are its custodians a common bond and obligation. While traditionally Aboriginal people are nomadic in the sense that they follow the […]