Trig Bagging at Cottage Point

Exploring Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park around Cottage Point, which has three trig stations ans multiple Aboriginal engraving sites hidden in the bush… 

With a couple of hours free before sunset and a beautifully clear Sunday afternoon, I decide to continue my mission to find a few more trig stations, and hopefully locate some Aboriginal engraving sites…

Hungry Trig

My first stop is near the start of General San Martin Drive, where I take the Hungry Trail for about 50 metres, before leaving the track and heading directly up the hill, through thick scrub. Not far from the track is a long sandstone overhang, which I need to skirt around.

I decide to first check out a potential engraving site that’s kind of on the way to the trig station, so I veer west, pushing through mostly head-high scrub. (Must have been hard work being a Trig Inspector – or perhaps the area was a lot less scrubby a hundred years ago)! Eventually I spot the rock platform below the low cliff that I’m on, and I scramble to the bottom. A few engravings are immediately obvious, including a number of circles.

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As I look more closely, many more engravings become visible, with a kangaroo and shield the most distinct carvings after the many circles.

I later find the description and illustration of the site by W. D. Campbell in 1899: “The surface of rock is nearly all covered by the figures, and in the middle of the group is a whale; within its outline is a circular figure, and adjacent to it are twelve others; these may possibly represent fragments of squid which form the food of the sperm whale; the latter, however, has not the square-shaped snout of a sperm whale. A kangaroo is depicted close to the tail of the whale, while a spear is near its snout. There are three figures of men or deities, two of which are decorated on the head and upper part of the body, and what is possibly a “mundoe ” or ghost foot print, is on the south side of the group.”

After that pleasant surprise I bash my way through the scrub again, initially to the east (roughly the same direction I came from), and then bearing south towards the trig. While trig stations are – obviously –  located at the highest point of an area, in this case there’s no obvious peak and the high undergrowth makes it difficult to work out where I’m going. Eventually I reach the top of a cliff line slightly west of the trig station, from where there is a nice view over Smiths Creek to Terrey Hills and Duffys Forest.

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From here the trig station isn’t far, and I soon reach TS2531 HUNGRY, at 197m above sea level. Like many trig stations in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, it’s surrounded by vegetation thaty would have been cleared when the trig was in use, and there’s no view at all from here.

From the trig, I take a more direct path back to General San Martin Drive and the car, descending in a northerly direction down to the road. There’s a high embankment above the road, so I follow the top of this cliff line along the road, passing what seems to be the remains of an old road along the way. Just before the Hungary Track, I’m able to scramble down to the road. It’s taken about an hour to cover the 1.6km off-track loop.

Ellis Trig

With an hour left before sunset, I hop back into the car for the brief drive along General San Martin Drive to the next trig point. I’m ready for a bit more scrub-bashing, so I’m pleasantly surprised to see a gate with “Ellis Trig Trail” written on it… this could be my easiest trig station so far!

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I’m at the lookout in a few minutes, with great views over Akuna Bay and Coal & Candle Creek, almost directly below.

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Detracting slightly from the otherwise unobstructed view over the creek and marina are the elecricity pylons behind me, and the electricity wires which go down to the valley.

I still haven’t seen any sign of a trig station, so I continue up the hill, through the bush… despite being almost on top of where it should be located, I can’t see it. I’m thinking maybe by coordinates are a bit out. Until I look down, and discover I’m just about standing on the trig station. TS1955 ELLIS has been significantly depiled, and is now not much more than a pile of stones in a circular pattern.

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To the south of the trig station are some rock formations, from which there are nice views over the national park, There are some marks on the rocks that may be Aboriginal rock carvings. Or they may not.

Just behind the trig station is an impressive sandstone rock formation; one side has an impressively weathered overhang with a honeycomb appearance.

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I’m done for today, with the sun starting to set… but back a week later to have a quick look for nearby engravings and tackling the third Cottage Point trig station.

On my next visit, I start with a walk through the bush to an engraving site directly north of Ellis Trig. Leaving the road just near the start of the Ellis Trig Trail, I follow the top of a cliff line. Below the cliffs are some nice caves…

…and on top are interesting rock formations, not far from the road.

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A little further, another rock platform has some faint markings that might be engravings – and a series of square holes that must have at some point been a fence. There’s no other evidence of a previous fence-line or road.

After this second expanse of sandstone there’s a bit of bush-bashing, which crosses a few small rock platforms. There’s some more rock formations, including a looks water-trough carved out of a sandstone block.

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I finally reach my destination, a huge rock platform. To the north-east are glimpses of Coal and Candle Creek.

I wander around for a while, seeing more faint lines that may be weathered engravings, or they may be natural lines caused by erosion.  There should be a seal somewhere here that’s been pierced by a spear, three boomerangs, and “another figure which may represent a fishing-line with a loop in it”. But they were described as being “much weathered” – and that was back in 1899. The only engraving I’m confident I’ve spotted are the boomerangs…

There’s another site “ten chains [120m] to the southward” of these engravings (with a large whale, a shield, two waddies, a fish with a line attached to it and a boomerang), but I don’t manage to spot these on the way back to the car.

Taber Trig Station

Another short drive up General San Martin Drive takes me to the final trig point. It’s accessed via an Ausgrid service trail for a short distance, which then turns into a foot track.

It’s an easy walk to TS5929 TABER, another trig station that has clearly seen better days. A concrete column stands next to the old and mostly demolished rock cairn, its top melted by bushfires.

There are no views from the trig, but the bushwalking track continues a bit further to reach a slab of rock perched over the valley. To the east are sweeping views over the national park and Coal & Candle Creek.

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I continue down the hill to the north of the lookout; the undergrowth is pretty light here and there’s just a bit of scrambling at the end before I reach a very long rock platform that stretches across the side of the hill.

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It’s a nice spot, with sections of tesselated pavement and views of Coal & Candle Creek in the distance.

Overhead, a couple of sea eagles soar above the hills.

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Although I’d read reports of various engravings, including two warrier-like figures and a whale (Dreamtime on Christmas Tree Hill) around here, I only manage to identify one engraving – and I can’t make out what it is.

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I wander around the huge rock site for a while… but don’t manage to spot any other engravings. I’ll come back when the light is a bit better – but even with only one engraving, this is a great spot.

Location Three starting locations along General San Martin Drive (Hungry Trig and Ellis Trig) and Cottage Point Road (Taber Trig)
Distance Approx 4km across three locations
Grade Mostly hard. Rough/non-existent track.
Season/s All year.
Map/s 9130-4S Hornsby (1:25K)  Buy / Download

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