Probably the best known aboriginal rock art in the ACT is the Yankee Hat paintings in the Gudgenby Valley within Namadgi National Park – about 90 minutes drive from the centre of Canberra. Carbon dating of deposits in the Yankee Hat rock shelter date the site at over 800 yrs old and possibly up to 3700 years old.

The artwork is protected by a high roof overhang. The white paint is clay while the red paint is based on iron oxide or ochre (possibly from Michelago or Gungahlin both some distance away).


As you can see from the attached photos the paintings are well preserved and represent animals and what appear to be human like figures. The four white figures on the left represent a kangaroo, a turtle and two dingo’s (wild dogs). The white figure on the right may be a kangaroo, wombat or koala. The centre red figures are birds. The remaining figures mostly appear to be human representations.

As with many rock art sites in Australia older paintings seem to have been overpainted by more recent paintings. The figures were painted over a period of hundreds or possibly thousands of years.

Rock art sites are culturally significant to Aboriginal people as they provide evidence of the importance of the site to their ancestors.

Getting there:

Leaving Canberra head for Thawa, In Thawa take the Nass / Boboyan road towards Adaminaby. About 25 Kms from Thawa turn right onto the Old Boboyan road (unsealed) and continue 3-4kms to locked gate and car park. From here walk three kms to Yankee Hat Rock Art site.

Don’t panic as you drive along the very hilly and windy road from Thawa to the walk car-park. The walk is easy with a slight incline as you approach the artwork. It is well marked across grasslands and around a scenic swamp area with beautiful mountain views. The walk is well worth doing in itself even if you have no interest in the artworks. All along the walk you will see loads of kangaroos and rabbits. The latter are seen as pests.


Prior to heading out pick up the Yankee Hat Rock Art Walking Track brochure from the Namadgi Park Visitor Centre or download it from http://www.environment.act.gov.au/parks-conservation/parks-and-reserves/find-a-park/namadgi-national-park/namadgi-national-park (checked end July 2017).

Even if you download the brochure do stop at the Visitor Centre to get an update on road conditions, etc. There are numerous walks you can do in Namadgi National Park. Details can be downloaded from the website listed here or obtained from the Visitor Centre.

Namadgi Park Visitor Centre just outside Thawa opening hours: Weekdays: 9am – 4pm; Weekends: 9am – 4.30pm; Open all public holidays except for Christmas Day.

Park entry fee: Free

This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries on Namadgi National Park.  To continue with my next entry chick HERE.


6 thoughts on “Yankee Hat Walk (Paintings)

  1. Nice writeup of a great walk, but I wanted to make a minor correction and point out that this is not the “only currently known aboriginal rock art in the ACT”. This is probably the best known one, but in fact there are also aboriginal rock art sites in other parts of Namadgi NP and also at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. One of the other examples is near Nursery Swamp.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for visiting and your complimentary feedback. I have updated the wording and now need to suss out the others and visit them too. I actually came across reference to Nursery Swamp the other day so need to investigate that further.


    1. Joanne, A great place to explore for sure and I have yet to explore most of it. Downside is the 90min trip each way making the closer Tidbinbilla a more convenient option for visitors. It too has great walks which I will include on here soon. But yes somewhere you would enjoy I am sure.


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