Our country, which the people now call Quinkan Country, is in the Laura Basin. Laura is the gateway to Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland. It’s 304km north-west of Cairns and 143km west of Cooktown. With a permanent population of approximately 80 people, it’s one of the smallest Aboriginal communities in Cape York.
The country around Laura is home to one of Australia’s major sites for rock art and is perhaps most famous for its galleries of images depicting the giant Quinkan spirit figures. Hence the name Quinkan Country.
This country is very big with spectacular landforms, the most dominant of which are the sand stone escarpments and winding pathways of the Laura River. The escarpments are pocketed with hundreds of caves, which is where traditional owners used to spend the wet season. For hundreds of generations people came, lived, slept and painted, seeing out the lowland flooding in the comfort of the high, dry, protected caves.
It has been said this occupation and its accompanying rock art, constitutes the longest continuous art and culture in the history of mankind. It certainly represents and visually documents the span of Australia’s prehistory.
Quinkan Country is a landscape rich with sites of national and international cultural significance. Its stories and secrets are protected and managed by the Ang-Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation. Where appropriate, they are shared on guided tours with local Aboriginal guides revealing the stories and legends behind the rock art.
© Ang-Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation 2021