BRADSHAW EXPEDITIONS

The Bradshaw rock art system is regionally developed in northern Kimberley, Northwestern Australia. It represents an isolated, rugged, and timeless tropical landmass, about the size of Denmark (see map). This region is characterised by rugged sandstone and basalt terrain. The few roads that exist are only accessible during the short dry season (c. medio June-October). The vast majority of Bradshaw panels are concentrated around seven major river systems (see map). So far, our work has concentrated around four river systems, with the main thrust on the mid-section of the Drysdale River, within the confines of the Drysdale River National Park. Sandstone escarpments with reliefs of c. 150-250 m, flank parts of this magnificent river systems. Field work in the Kimberley is a far from simple exercise (see Michaelsen and Ebersole, 2000a, 2000b). The significant logistical problems involved in Bradshaw research is the main reason why only a minor fraction of the Bradshaws have been documented. Here you can read extracts from the two most recent field work expeditions:

EXTRACT FROM THE 1999 BRADSHAW EXPEDITION:

We are rattling along a dusty, red road in the timeless Kimberley wilderness, the last frontier of mainland Australian. Suddenly we notice a large bush fire approaching in the distance. We stop to take a few pictures. The fire is quickly moving closer and closer so we jump onboard again. However, to our great dismay the old faithful Landcrusier refuses to turn over. With lightning speed we change the battery. Nothing works - we have a complicated electrical problem on our hands. Panic strikes as a wall of fire and suffocating smoke reaches 200 meters from the car. Then a miracle occurs.The wind direction changes. Whoa! We are saved! For now, anyway.

We are stuck in the middle of a raging bush fire, 55 km from our friends at the exploration camp of diamond company Striker, and 75 km from Carson River Station. The CB radio and the mobile phone do not work out here. Too far to walk, too hot, and too little water. The only thing to do is to stay with the Landcruiser. Then unexplainably, after two days, we are suddenly able to start the car. Full throttle, non-stop, all the way to our base at the Aboriginal Carson River Station. As it turns out, a keen cattle mustering crew had set most of the two million acre cattle station on fire, to prepare for their annual mayhem.

Extract from article in Townsville Bulletin, October 28, 2000 by Dr Michaelsen and Tasja Ebersole.