Old Aboriginal Engraving Site

The heat has been stifling this week but I managed to find an hours window between 37 degree peak and a looming storm to get out and explore!

I had my sights set on an old Aboriginal Engraving site that is no longer showing up on the maps. I used rumours from the community page and several online searches as well as a simple google maps search to locate a likely place. The strava heat map is an incredible resource for off the beaten path adventure plotting. Given the current status of the site I shall share pictures but not the precise location. It really doesn’t take much sleuthing to find though as it is practically signposted. I’m trying to walk the line between wanting to share and wanting to ethically explore.

As soon as the cool change rolled in I hopped in the car and drove to the access point. The track, like all of them in this area, was quite steep. I noticed some little footpads leading off into the bush so decided to follow a few. I soon found some small rock platforms but I couldn’t see anything on them. I also heard people talking and noticed a blue tarp setup and realised there were some people living rough in the bush here. I followed a few footpads and found three tarp huts in total. I moved on, respecting their privacy, hoping they hadn’t set up on any sensitive sites. I strangely, and perhaps wrongly, felt a little envious. A life with very few overheads and a lovely bush view. I know it would be much harder than that but from their voices they didn’t seem to be phased by it. Oh, of course, at the end of my walk I was more than happy to return home to my air conditioning and refrigerated water….

I pushed on, and soon came across a sign that said “Always was always will be Aboriginal land” which, although I understood the sentiment, I thought wasn’t exactly the best way to keep a location secret!

I then came to a set of small water pools where two runners had stopped to splash themselves to cool down. I spied a footpad nearby but decided to carry on and see if there was another way in, mainly because I didn’t want to creep out the two ladies I’d just passed by crashing through the bush. I found a couple of routes in but they were quite overgrown and felt a bit snakey (I heard rustling which was probably skinks but was enough to put me off).

I returned to the main footpad, the runners were nowhere to be seen so I followed the trail and found it quite easy going. Soon I emerged onto an amazing rock platform. It had suffered a lot of erosion from water which gave it an extraordinary stripped appearance.

I then set about looking for the engravings. I had a backup site to check out but it was harder to reach and the storm was looming. All my research had pointed to this location so I moved quite systematically along. It was difficult to make out as the natural rock features generated etchings of their own. I soon came across a massive 2m long engraving of what appeared to be a fur seal. It had whiskers and appeared to be catching a fish. I could see it’s front and back flippers. I wished it wasn’t so overcast as it was incredibly hard to photograph.

I then scoured the platform looking for more. I took photos of a few likely engravings but it was difficult to understand what I was seeing. On reviewing my pictures later I realised I may have found a second engraving but I really couldn’t interpret what it was and the pictures don’t help.

I present the images here. You really need to look closely, zoom in, etc, to see it clearly. I’ve tried some processing but it really hasn’t helped much.

This is the head of the seal with whiskers eating a fish
Back flippers of the fur seal
The back flippers of the fur seal
Seal front flipper
Full view of the fur seal
Something here? Or natural feature?
Old national parks sign

There was meant to be two engravings at the site but I needed some early morning long shadows to help find them. I will come back one morning and try again. I’ll also try another likely spot. As the first rumblings of the storm could be heard I headed out feeling pretty pleased with my find.

I’ve enjoyed researching and using various tools to locate interesting spots. Many spots are “local knowledge” and not documented in any solid way. The Strava heat map is amazing and has helped me find a few tracks to explore in the future, hopefully I’ll find a new lookout or shortcut or cave, certainly a new adventure!

Please, if you decide to go sleuthing and find these engravings please don’t alter or add to them, they are important and should be preserved as they are until nature takes them away from us.

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