The first colonists of Botany Bay remarked on rock engravings they encountered in the late 1700s. There have been many observations, records and studies since but serious national concern did not begin until the mid-1980s.
Today there are some incomplete state, museum and personal registers and databases of Australian rock art but no central archive. Consequently, we are not even in a position to comment on exactly how many sites have been documented but it is estimated that less than 30% of known sites are listed in government registers. Only half of these have full and detailed entries. Details of the rest are in personal archives, old databases that are no longer useable or difficult to access and various obscure locations, including community museums.