The talking Rocks of the Aborigines

A Film by Gernot Stadler

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Documentary drama, 52 min, 2012
GS-Film, ORF/3sat
Written and directed by
Gernot Stadler
Bernd Pfingstmann
Manfred Plessl
ORF Enterprise

The rock paintings of the Australian natives are among the oldest testimonies of human culture. But the unique cultural heritage of the Aborigines is in danger of being lost forever. In particular, weathering and algae infestation greatly affect the paintings, some of which are over 40,000 years old.

The Austrian stone restorer Jürgen Steiner has successfully applied new methods and techniques for the conservation of these important art treasures for the first time. During two lengthy stays in Australia in 2008 and 2009, he succeeded for the first time in restoring ancient rock paintings in northeastern Australia, thus saving them from further decline.

Through his successful work, Jürgen Steiner has succeeded in gaining the trust of members of different tribes and also gaining access to hidden rock paintings and cult sites of the Aborigines, which are of enormous importance for the preservation of their identity and their survival as a people. For the native Australians who did not develop writing, the rock paintings are the most important legacy of their 80,000-year-old culture.

The documentary film “The talking Rocks of the Aborigines” accompanies Jürgen Steiner on his third journey to the Bulwai Aborigines and other tribes of the Australian aborigines, where he continues his project to rescue the rock paintings, gives insights into the mysterious world of the Aborigines from spirituality and closeness to nature, and raises awareness of the urgency of preserving and protecting this endangered culture.