Koonalda Cave

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Koonalda Cave
Map showing the location of Koonalda Cave
Map showing the location of Koonalda Cave
Location Nullarbor Plain, South Australia
Coordinates 31°24′0″S 129°53′0″E / 31.40000°S 129.88333°E / -31.40000; 129.88333Coordinates: 31°24′0″S 129°53′0″E / 31.40000°S 129.88333°E / -31.40000; 129.88333
Discovery 1935

Koonalda Cave is a cave located in Nullarbor Plain within South Australia which is notable as an archeological site.[1][2]

Thousands of square metres in the cave are covered in parallel finger-marked geometric lines and patterns, Indigenous Australian artwork which has been dated as 20,000 years old,[1][3] making it older than any known prehistoric art in Europe.[4] It is located about 97 kilometres (60 mi) north east from Eucla[5] within the Nullarbor Wilderness Protection Area.[6]

The cave was abandoned 19,000 years ago, and rediscovered by archeologists in 1956.[3]

The cave was explored by an expedition led by Captain J. M. Thompson in 1935. The team entered the cave by a ladder and found themselves in a chamber some 244 metres (800 ft) in circumference and walked down tunnels over 366 metres (1,200 ft) in length.[5]

Later excavated by Alexander Gallus in the 1960s, he found that Aboriginal peoples had used the area as a flint mine.[7]

Koonalda Cave was listed on the South Australian Heritage Register on 4 March 1993 and inscribed onto the Australian National Heritage List on 15 October 2014.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Koonalda Cave", Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ "Koonalda Cave" Australia Thru Time. Retrieved 2014-3-17.
  3. ^ a b "Koonalda", Minnesota State University
  4. ^ BLAINEY, Geoffrey, Triumph of the Nomads: A History of Aboriginal Australia, 1976, ISBN 0-87951-084-6, p.84
  5. ^ a b "Caves and Lakes.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 20 November 1935. p. 12. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Protected Areas of South Australia September (Map) 2014 Edition" (PDF). Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Secrets of Koonalda Caves". South Australian Museum. 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "National Heritage Places – Koonalda Cave". Department of the Environment (Australia). Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Koonalda Cave, Nullarbor National Park [also on the National Heritage List ID 106022]". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 12 February 2016.