The aboriginal people of Australia are currently only 2.7% of the total population, but at one time, they were the only people to inhabit this continent. In fact, the term ‘aboriginal’ was created by the British and used to categorize the group of people indigenous to Australia. The aboriginal people have called the ancient lands of Australia home for thousands of years prior to the British, and have a way of life of their own.

The people indigenous to Australia have a unique and mysterious culture to many, and a huge part of that has to do with the legend of the Wandjina. For many outsiders of this culture, the imagery of the Wandjina are extremely intriguing, because to some—they resemble the modern day alien image that has flooded out media outlets and film industries. The images hold sacred and intimate value for some of the ancient aboriginal people who reside in the areas surrounding them.

Detailed paintings have been found all over the natural and untouched portions of Australia, as well as ceremonial artifacts, and even shields; but the true story of these beings has been passed down generation, after generation by spiritual aboriginals committed to keeping their culture alive. Although this story should really be told by someone within the aboriginal community, I will do my best to share the knowledge I have acquired studying this fascinating and truly unique culture.

There are artifacts and then there are legends, and to the aboriginal people of the Kimberley region in Australia, the story of the Wandjina has been passed down through both. This story is so intriguing it’ll have you pondering the origins of life itself, and ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what you believe. Continue to the next page to read the mysterious story of the Wandjina.

1. Location


The aboriginal people who inhabit the Central, Eastern, and Northern Kimberley regions of Australia have a deep connection with the Wandjina, as they hold a special place within their culture. For the people who speak Ngarinyin, Wunambal, and Worrorra, the Wandjina watch over their lands and aid them in most aspects of life, and the connection between the people and their lands is essential to their culture. These lands, seas, islands, and other bodies of water make up about 200,000 square miles across the Kimberley regions. These parts of Australia are where all the amazing artifacts with Wandjina imagery have been found, some dating back to 60,000 years.

2. What They Symbolize


According to their culture, the Wandjina is the Rain Spirit which brings life to the people and the lands. They are the deliverers of water which is essential to all aspects of life, representing fertility and growth. These spirits were thought to have transformed into paintings on the rocks so that they can live forever, dictating weather for the people.

They were believed to be capable of shooting down lightning or causing a flood when unhappy with human actions. Some of the caves that have the Wandjina are in are considered to be places where new life can emanate, directly creating unborn children. For some aboriginals, these places are extremely spiritual locations as they believe just like human spirits live on after this life–so do the Wandjina.

3. A Place In Time


Some of these amazing paintings date back to 50,000-60,000 years ago, making them some of the oldest rock paintings in the world. Some researchers even argue that some of the paintings date back to more than 100,000 years ago. The age of these paintings have people wondering if they really were extraterrestrial spirits that visited these Australian aboriginals, and their mysterious and familiar imagery can enhance that eerie feeling.

4. They’re Not Human


There is no proof that these drawings are depictions of extraterrestrials, but they do tend to resemble modern day depictions of them. They have been painted almost 6 meters tall in some instances and they usually are drawn without mouths. If that’s not proof enough that the aboriginals who drew them weren’t depicting humans, then their enormous round eyes and elongated nose should be–or perhaps the halo’s surrounding their heads. Moving down the body, some are depicted with numerous toes ranging from three to seven.

5. Headdresses


Controversy surrounding the Wandjina’s headdresses arises because they have been drawn wearing a variety of them–some familiar, and some not. Some look as if they’ve got feather headdresses similar to Native American tribes, while others have halo like rings around their heads. On occasion, there will be multiple rings or figures that arguably resemble helmets.

6. Origin


Of course, you’re probably asking ‘where are they from?’, as we tend to be curious creatures–especially when there is physical proof of a conspiracy. What may surprise you is, the aboriginal story of the Wandjina actually includes an extraterrestrial essence and it has maintained a strong connection between generations. The stories have been passed down under the name mythological Dreamtime stories.

7. The Story


According to legend, the Wandjina were spirits from the Milky Way, and were known to be sky sprits. These beings are the supreme creators of everything on Earth, including the planet itself. This is the biggest task to ever be, so it took time to create all these beings and the Wandjina sent for more help. They came to the Earth and continued to shape the landscapes, animals, and humans.

8. Were They Gods?


Some suggest that they were Gods considering they had the power to create our wonderful world and all the inhabitants of it. They are revered so much within aboriginal culture that when they approach the ancient sites, they make sure to do so with respect and honor. As legend says, the Wandjina weren’t happy with the corruption among the human race so they unleashed an enormous flood that desolated the entire human population (sounds familiar doesn’t it…). A story this old makes one rethink the origin of Noah’s Ark.

9. Their Mouths


Curious about the significance of their lack of mouths? Well, when they were disappointed with their human creations, they used their mouths to create the deadly flood. After they eliminated the less than satisfactory humans, they vowed to keep their mouths shut to avoid any further floods. After awhile, their mouths disappeared which is why they’re depicted without them.

10. Where’d They Go?


It’s believed that after the Wandjina were satisfied with their new humans, they let them live alone. Some tribes believe they are residing at the bottom of the ocean, after they all disappeared through absorbing with the Earth, leaving their images on the rocks. Some of them continue to create new life and populate the Earth, while others have returned to the sky and can only be seen moving through the stars at night. As some believe they still reside among us, they still have control over the lands and seas.

11. What Are The Snakes?


There are some depictions of snakes drawn near the Wandjina in ancient caves and they have their own special purpose. The Milky Way and the Earth can be represented as serpents during the great Time of Creation, according to some aboriginal tribes. The serpents are sometimes depicted as snakes, which for some, are reminiscent of snakes in the Bible.

12. Who Created The Wandjina?


Those same snake serpents we talked about in the previous slide that symbolize Earth and the Milky Way, are called Ungut and Wallanganda, respectively. These two snakes together formed the leader, or the father Wandjina, and his name was Idjair. Idjair created the rest of the Wandjina and they together formed human life and all earthly things.

13. Shapeshifter’s?


As if the Wandjina aren’t mysterious and powerful enough, the cultural belief is that they can change shape whenever they want. They can switch from their natural form to human or animal in order to blend in with their surroundings and maintain awareness of their creations. It’s also believed that they are still able to punish those who paint them wrongfully.

14. Not Everyone Can Paint Them


Just like many other cultures, the aboriginals believe that not everyone has the privilege and authority to paint these mythological creatures. Worora, Ngarinyin, and Wunumbul are the names of the tribes that still believe that only certain people are the chosen ones, and that it’s disrespectful, even dangerous, to attempt to paint them if you are not. Painting them wrongfully can result in a wrath of lighting and floods.

15. Life Elsewhere


A common belief among aboriginals is that the Wandjina not only created life on Earth, but traveled to many planets creating different forms of life. Exploring the universe and creating other life forms is another belief that closely connects these supreme beings to the modern idea of ancient astronauts. No matter what you believe, for the aboriginal tribes of Australia, the Wandjina are unquestionably highly regarded and deeply spiritual.

16. Respect The Painting


The chosen ones who do get to paint these ancient spirits must follow strict rules and guidelines in order to keep the Wandjina happy. The paintings must be cleaned and repainted once a year in December, and if the task isn’t completed the artist can be punished with no rain for their crops. It goes to say, these paintings must be treated with the utmost respect or the result could be deadly.

17. Their Return


As far as consequences go, the Wandjina are NOT messing around and the aboriginal’s who believe in them have every right to fear them. According to legend, if humans do not keep the Wandjina happy with their behaviors and treatment of their relics, they will return to Earth with a wrath we’ve experienced before; history will repeat itself and we will experience a deadly flood. Even if you don’t believe in the Wandjina, you have to admit they have a fearsome reputation.