Summary: Exploring Aboriginal engravings. modern rock carvings and some myths and legends along the Milyerra Trail in Kariong (Brisbane Water National Park)

I’m heading out again to look at some Aboriginal engravings on the Milyerra Trail with Michael and Carolyn (from Sydney Rock Art). We start with the well-known Bulgandry Aboriginal Site and the nearby “Bulgandry 2” site, which are both impressive engraving sites on the Central Coast.

awat7620 lr Tassie Tigers & River Monsters on the Milyerra Trail

Our next destination is the Milyerra Trail in the Brisbane Water National Park, which follows the ridge from the end of Milyerra Road towards Point Clare.

There are eighteen Aboriginal heritage sites recorded along Milyerra Road, with many of them documented by W.D. Campbell in 1899, and later Ian Sim in the 1960s. We visit a number of these sites, which I cover in more detail on the Milyerra Road Trail post.

Further along the Milyerra Trail, after it crosses another firetrail which heads south towards Woy Woy, there is a rock platform above the track with some faint engravings.

awat7947 lr Tassie Tigers & River Monsters on the Milyerra Trail

One of these is thought to be of a turtle; although it has been re-grooved along slightly different lines the general shape hasn’t changed.

This engraving has been altered by drawing a longer neck, and using it to justify the existence of a “Hawkesbury River Monster”, or moolyewonk. Australian “naturalist” Rex Gilroy claims this large creature is still alive and has been breeding in the Central Coast for thousands of years: “Aboriginal rock art in the area 3-4000 years old describes the creature as about 20 foot long. The Aborigines were pretty observant and this carving means those creatures were seen around the Hawkesbury River“. Rex also claims that early settlers to the area during the 1800s were told stories by Aboriginals of women and children being attacked by the moolyewonk or mirreeular, the Aboriginal names for the monster.

Milyerra Trail myths and legends

On an adjacent rock platform are two modern, or fake, engravings which include a kangaroo and a fish.

There is also a fake dog (or dingo), which even to the relatively untrained eye doesn’t look like an Aboriginal engraving: the lines are more angular, and the grooves cut by a sharp tool.

awat7937 lr Tassie Tigers & River Monsters on the Milyerra Trail

As with the modified turtle, Rex Gilroy added some stripes to the Milyerra Trail rock carving, as part of the “evidence” that proves ther Tasmanian Tiger still exists on the Australian mainland. (Rex claims they survive in a secret location in the Barrington Tops area and in the Blue Mountains, in particular in the Jenolan range.)

milyerra tassietiger Tassie Tigers & River Monsters on the Milyerra Trail

We didn’t see any real Tasmanian Tigers on the Milyerra Trail… or Hawkesbury River Monsters… but I will keep an eye out for these elusive creatures!

More information on the Milyerra Trail (and Moolyewonks)

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3 Comments

mattniven · February 26, 2021 at 4:36 pm

Nice one Oliver, I can remember when I went there seeing a large whale engraving which was on a isolated platform. Cheers

    oliverd :-) · February 27, 2021 at 6:22 am

    Thanks Matt. I saw the whale… but didn’t manage to get very good photos…

Chris · March 1, 2021 at 10:02 am

Huh, who knew there were so many monsters out there in the bush. Interesting walk Oliver.

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