Working conditions in the pearling and pastoral industries for Aboriginals in the Pilbara region around 1900 have been described as slavery with no wages paid, kidnapping as well as severe and cruel punishments for misbehaviour and absconding all common practices.The first strike by Indigenous people in Australia took place in 1946 in the Pilbara, when Aboriginal pastoral workers walked off the stations in protest at low pay and bad working conditions, a strike that lasted for over three years.This does not preclude that painting was and is not performed in the Pilbara.In 2006, it was estimated that 15% of the population of the Pilbara was of Indigenous background, approximately 6,000 people.The Pilbara region covers an area of 507,896 km most of whom live in the western third of the region, in towns such as Port Hedland, Karratha, Wickham, Newman and Marble Bar.A substantial number of people also work in the region on a fly-in/fly-out basis.Near the town of Dampier is a peninsula known as Murujuga, which contains a large collection of world heritage listed petroglyphs, dating back thousands of years.
The early history of the first peoples is held within an oral tradition, archeological evidence and petroglyphs.
These uplands have a number of gorges and other natural attractions.
The Pilbara contains some of the world's oldest surface rocks, including the ancient fossilised remains known as stromatolites and rocks such as granites that are more than three billion years old.
The eastern third is almost entirely desert, and is sparsely populated by a small number of Aboriginal peoples.
These are separated by the inland uplands of the Pilbara Craton, including the predominant Hamersley Range which has a considerable number of mining towns, the Chichester Range and others.Family clans in the Pilbara who were supported by mining prospector, Don Mc Leod, developed skills for mining and the concentration of rare metals.