Cave art is one of the early forms of rock art.
Because caves provided a natural shelter they were one of the earliest dwellings of the indigenous Aboriginal.
Australia has some extremes of weather with morning temperatures in the desert at or near freezing and perhaps 40 degrees centigrade in the afternoon heat.
In the North of Australia it can rain so much during the rainy season that a duck nearly becomes stuck in the mud.
In the South it can get below freezing and remain at or near freezing all day.
These caves thus were a welcome site to the weary traveler to get
shelter from the weather, rest and determine where to go next. Since
some time was spent in these caves it became natural to leave some
indication that you were there and so the left hand stencil began. (As I believe it happened).
As time passed more things, totems were added to the cave walls and ceilings and cave art was in motion.
As more time passed having a collection of sacred paintings in one place the cave took on a meaning of greater importance as a sacred place. (Containing their paintings).
As a sacred place the old people not well could be left there to either be helped by the spirits to get better or to join with the spirits in another world and so caves also became an above ground burial place. This would make them even more sacred.
I was lucky enough to go to and enter a special cave as I have described with my family located on a small range running along the Roper River in the Northern Territory.
It was indeed a magic place with a hole in the ceiling which lit up the interior. It had also a passage which led to some really unusual stone formations totally hidden from view of the surrounding area.
This cave had not been restored for some time even though there were many Aboriginal people living within about 30 kilometres. It was well painted and had human bones lining part of one wall but someone had stolen the skeleton heads.
I am not providing the location in hopes that it will remain nearly intact for a while longer. To experience cave art first hand is really magic.