Jo McDonald

Professor Jo McDonald

  • Post Nominals: FAHA
  • Fellow Type: Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 2020
  • Section(s): History, Archaeology


Jo McDonald is the Director of the Centre for Rock Art Research + Management at UWA. She holds the Rio Tinto Chair in Rock Art Studies. This is funded by RioTinto’s Conservation Agreement with the Commonwealth for the Dampier Archipelago National Heritage Listed Place.

Jo completed an ARC Future Fellowship (2011-2016), which undertook a global comparison of rock art, social and environmental change in two of the great deserts of the world: the Western Desert in Australia and the Great Basin in the USA. She has just completed two projects in the Dampier Archipelago: Murujuga Dynamics of the Dreaming and Deep History of Sea Country. Her current ARC project is Dating Murujuga’s Dreaming: a multidisciplinary project aimed at direct dating the engravings and stone features, as well as refining the understanding of climate change and chronology through a series of different techniques.

Prior to her current role as Director of CRAR+M, Jo was Managing Director of a leading cultural heritage practice based in Sydney. She has more than 35 years’ experience in managing Indigenous archaeology and has been researching rock art throughout this time.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.