When Baudin discovered Depuch Island in 1801 and named it in honour of Louis Depuch, the expeditions mineralogist, none of the scientists were allowed to accompany him or to land, and this omission explains why the remarkable series of rock engravings was not noted.
HMS Beagle was the next vessel to visit Depuch to replenish the ships water supply. Captain Wickham noted that the Aboriginal people "exercise their talents for drawing representations of whatever they had seen upon the flat surface of the rocks". Wickham listed and drew 94 figures and, apparently took a keen interest in this art during his many excursions ashore.
The rock engravings of Depuch are the work of the local Ngaluma tribe and have been described as one of the most important and diverse collections of Aboriginal rock art in Australia.
The first scientific party interested in rock engravings were the German anthropologists Perri, Lommel and Fox (1951). They stated "these engravings surpassed in careful execution and variety and richness of groups and compositions, most of those known elsewhere in Australia"
On Depuch the occassional use of the shape of the rock to show the form of the body , the innumerable compositions of a ritual , hunting, fighting and sexual nature, the great variety of human and spirit figures and the many excellent figures of animals, warrant its being denoted as one of the most artistically interesting sites of naturalistic engravings in Australia.