Thylacine Rock Art

At present this page is mainly a bibliography of thylacine rock art. However, it will be expanded over time to serve as a complete overview of prehistoric images of thylacines, including detailed information about each site and location, taxonomic identification, estimated age, etc.


Akerman, Kim. (2009). Interaction between humans and megafauna depicted in Australian rock art? Antiquity Project Gallery 83(322):

Anonymous. (1969). Rock Galleries of the Pilbara. Hamersley News, Wednesday, 1 October, p. 2.

Anonymous. (1974). The lost world of Mt. Brockman. Northern Territory Newsletter [1974]: 3-8. [Trove: "Ganbald-Ja valley in Mount Brockman, Kakadu National Park; brief report of discovery of 50 Aboriginal rock painting galleries (including 10 paintings of Tasmanian tigers)"] [Paddle (2000:246) has pagination as "1-8".]

Anonymous. (2015). Thylacine at Dalumba Bay. Ayakwa [newsletter] 1: 1,4-5.

Bednarik, Robert G. (2010). Australian rock art of the Pleistocene. Rock Art Research 27(1): 95-120.

Bennett, David. (2003). Often crude and quaint: some Australian conceptions of nature, ecology, and rock-art. Before Farming 2003(4): 1-11. [Abstract]

Brandl, Eric J. (1970?). Thylacine designs in Arnhem Land rock paintings. Preliminary version of (Brandl, 1972). [Perth, bibl. pls. Typescript (photocopy). 8 pp. [sourcesource]

Brandl, Eric J. (1972). Thylacine designs in Arnhem Land rock paintings. Archaeology and Physical Anthopology in Oceania 7(1): 24-30.

Brandl, Eric J. (1973). Australian Aboriginal paintings in western and central Arnhem Land. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra.

Bristow, Mila. (2012) Tracking down rock art records of thylacines and sailing ships. Australian Forest Grower 35(3): 19. [Abstract]

Chaloupka, George. (1975). Fallen emblem – or lingering star? E.Z. Review (1): 2-4. [Trove: "Describes the discovery of 50 Aboriginal galleries at Mount Brockman near Jabiru by Chaloupka and F. Woerle; One shelter contained a group of what appear to be 6 Thylacine (the extinct Tasmanian Tiger) designs."]

Chaloupka, George. (1977). Aspects of the chronology and schematisation of two prehistoric sites on the Arnhem Land Plateau, pp. 243-259. In: Ucko, P. J. (ed.). Form In Indigenous Art: Schematisation in the Art of Aboriginal Australia and Prehistoric Europe. Caberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Chaloupka, George. (1993). Journey in Time: The World’s Longest Continuing Art Tradition. Chatswood, NSW: Reed.

Chaloupka,  G.,  N. Kapirigi,  B. Nayidji  & G.  Namingum. (1985).  Cultural  survey  of  Balawurru,  Deaf  Adder Creek, Amarrkananga, Cannon Hill and the Northern Corridor: a Report to the Australian National Parks & Wildlife Service. Unpublished manuscript, Australian National Parks & Wildlife Service and the Museum & Art Galleries Board of the Northern Territory. [p. 86 at least]

Clegg, John K. (1978). Pictures of Striped Animals: Which Ones Are Thylacines? Archaeology & Physical Anthropology in Oceania 13(1): 19-29.

Day, Bill. (year?). Thylacine seen near Tom Price. Unpublished?

Flood, Josephine. (1983). Archaeology of the Dreamtime. Sydney: Collins.

Fox, Allan. (1982). Tiger country. Panorama 5: 36,38,41. [Trove: "Rock painting of thylacine at Obiri in Kakadu National Park; triggers memory of possible encounter with thylacine in Tasmania."]

Garde, Murray. (1997). Bawinanga Rock Art Recording Project : 1997 field season report. Murray Garde ... Bawinanga Aboriginal corporation/​Maningrida Arts and Culture. Report to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. iv + 70 pp.

Gillespie, D. (1983). The rock art sites of Kakadu National Park: some preliminary research findings for their conservation and management. Canberra: Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service Special Publication 10. [relevant reference?]

Guiler, Eric Rowland and Godard, Philippe. (1998). Tasmanian Tiger: A Lesson to be Learnt. Perth, Western Australia: Abrolhos Publishing. 256 pp.

Gunn, R. G. (1983). Mt Pilot 1 Aboriginal Rock Art Site (Site 82253/001). Occasional report (Victoria. Dept. of Health and Community Services. Aboriginal Affairs Division), iii. [Abstract]

Gunn, R. G. (1989). Survey and Assessment of Rock Art Sites in the Mikinj Area, Western Arnhem Land. Unpublished report to Northern Land Council, Darwin.

Lewis, Darrell John. (1977). More striped designs in Arnhem Land rock paintings. Archaeology and Physical Anthropology in Oceania 12(2): 98-111. [Abstract]

Lewis, Darrell John. (1988). The Rock Paintings of Arnhem Land, Australia: Social, Ecological and Material Culture Change in the Post-Glacial Period. BAR International Series 415. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.

Lewis, Darrell John. (2016). Comment on Welch’s ‘Thy Thylacoleo is a thylacine’, Australian Archaeology 80: 40-47. Australian Archaeology 82(1): 55-59. [Abstract]

Lipscombe, Don. (1977). How the tiger came to the Pilbara. Bulletin, 6 August, p. 30.

May, Sally K. and Taçon, Paul S. C. (2014). Kakadu National Park rock art, pp. 3235-3240. In: Smith, Claire (ed.). Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. New York: Springer Science+Business Media.

Mulvaney, Ken. (2009). Dating the Dreaming: extinct fauna in the petroglyphs of the Pilbara region, Western Australia. Archaeology in Oceania 44(1): S40.

Mulvaney, Ken. (2013). Iconic imagery: Pleistocene rock art development across northern Australia. Quaternary International 285: 99-110. [Abstract]

Murray, P. and Chaloupka G. (1984). The Dreamtime Animals: a search for extinct megafauna in Arnhem Land Rock Art. Archeol. Oceania 19:105-116.

Rosenfeld, A. (1993). A Review of the Evidence for the Emergence of Rock Art in Australia, pp. 71-80. In: Smith, M. A., Spriggs, M. and Fankhauser, B. (eds.). Sahul in Review: Pleistocene Archaeology in Australia, New Guinea and Island Melanesia. Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, ANU.

Salleh, A. (2004). Rock art shows attempts to save Thylacine. ABC Science Online, December, 15.

Taçon, Paul S. C. (1989). From Rainbow Snakes to ‘X-ray’ Fish: the Nature of the Recent Rock Painting Tradition of Western Arnhem Land, Australia. Unpublished PhD thesis, Australian National University, Canberra.

Taçon, Paul S. C., Brennan, Wayne and Lamilami, Ronald. (2011). Changing Perspectives in Australian Archaeology, part XI. Rare and curious thylacine depictions from Wollemi National Park, New South Wales and Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Technical Reports of the Australian Museum (online) 23(11): 165-174.

Taçon, Paul S. C., May, Sally K. et al. (2020). Maliwawa figures—a previously undescribed Arnhem Land rock art style. Australian Archaeology.

Taçon, Paul S. C. et al. (2022). Extraordinary Back-to-Back Human and Animal Figures in the Art of Western Arnhem Land, Australia: One of the World’s Largest Assemblages. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. doi:10.1017/S0959774322000129

Taçon, Paul S. and Webb, Steve. (2017). Art and megafauna in the Top End of the Northern Territory, Australia: Illusion or reality?, pp. 145-161. David, Bruno, Taçon, Paul S. C., Delannoy, Jean‐Jacques and Geneste, Jean‐Michel (eds.). Terra Australis 47. Canberra: Australian National University Press.

Welch, David M. (2016). Thy Thylacoleo is a thylacine. Australian Archaeology 80(1): 40-47. [Abstract]

Wright, Bruce J. (1968). Rock art of the Pilbara region, North-West Australia. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. Occasional Papers in Aboriginal Studies 11. 78 pp.

Wright, Bruce J. (1972). Rock engravings of striped marsupials: the Pilbara Region, Western Australia. Archaeology and Physical Anthropology in Oceania 7(1): 15-23. [Abstract]



Photographs taken:


Sites: (p. 12) [Yeddonba, Mt. Pilot]

Kundjorlomdjorlom, Upper Liverpool River, Arnhem Land