Indirect dating methods have previously been applied to the rock paintings of north Queensland, utilising patterns of superimposition, depictions of material items and animals of known antiquity, the use of fragile paints such as mud and white kaolinite, and in situ pigment stratigraphies. These patterns suggest that the vast majority of Chillagoe rock paintings are relatively young, likely less than 3500 years old. We directly analysed radiocarbon in the charcoal pigments in several of the Chillagoe rock paintings. Preliminary radiocarbon results at three sites confirm that these charcoal paintings are less than 3500 years old, as predicted. A change in the geographical distribution of rock art styles across north Queensland—from widespread non-figurative forms (as evident in surviving petroglyphs) to regionally distinctive motifs—suggests a regionalisation of artistic conventions starting around 3500 years B.P. Such a regionalisation implies that major cultural changes accompanied the changes in rock painting styles.