He is responsible for safeguarding the nation’s oldest artwork treasures.
For 36 years, Professor Paul Tacon has been searching, documenting, preserving and talking about Australia’s bountiful supply of Indigenous rock art.
Collaborating with Indigenous peoples in archaeological research since moving to Australia in the mid 1980s, Professor Tacon has only scratched the surface in locating and documenting some of the 100,000 such rock art sites scattered around the continent, some in the most remote and hostile of places.
In 2016, Professor Tacon was awarded a prestigious ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship to continue his Australian rock art research and to develop a national rock art conservation strategy and collaboration network. He has worked to bring together the many disparate research and recording efforts in concert with Aboriginal communities’ wishes.
Professor Tacon, who also is the founding director of Griffith University’s Place, Evolution and Rock Art Heritage Unit (PERAHU), has drawn world headlines on numerous occasions for his research.
He has helped in the rediscovery and recording of stunning rock art galleries from our past and, at the same time, helped rewrite history through robust research and dating methodology.
His expertise has led to research collaborations in China, Malaysia and many other parts of the world while his world-leading research into these aesthetically powerful works of art comes at a time when much of it is threatened by human development, vandalism and nature itself.
"Our rock art is among the best in the world. It is the keystone of our heritage."