With just enough time for a short Sunday afternoon bushwalk, I’m re-visiting Arden Trig, one of my favourite trig points in Sydney’s north. As I head down the Waratah Track, a short bush-bash takes me to a large, tesselated rock pavement with views over West Head.
Once back on the Waratah Track firetrail, it’s only a short distance before the junction with a faint pad leading up a spur to the Arden Trig.
The very rough track connects several large rock platforms, one of which has an interesting Aboriginal engraving of a figure which has been described as a “turtle, fish or penguin”, “a man with long fingers and fish” and a gecko.
As I ascend the rocky end of the spur, there’s a nice view of Candle and Creek, and the hundreds of boats moored at the Akuna Bay Marina. Akuna Bay got this name around 1970 when the marina was built, from the Aboriginal word meaning to ‘To flow (as in water flowing or running)’, derived from the Dieri (Diyari) intransitive verb ngaka-rna ‘flow (of water), blow (of wind)’. The Dieri / Diyari indigenous people lived in the South Australian desert, and the name “Akuna” was used across Australia as a result of SA Police trooper Samuel Gason (c. 1842–97) documenting the Dieri language. Gason’s work ended up in John Endacott’s influential naming book “Australian Aboriginal Native Names and Their Meanings“, published in 1923. Akuna (or ‘Akoonah’) has been used to name over forty suburban streets, avenues, drives, closes, courts, and a rural lane.
From near the top of the rocky outcrop you look back over the spur, towards the Waratah Track to the south.
Along the top of the spur are a series of small rock platforms; one of them containing names and dates carved into the sandstone in 1943.
Closer to the trig point is a great view to the east, over Pittwater and the Barrenjoey Peninsula.
The Arden Trig, constructed in 1882, is not in great condition. But unlike many other trig points that are buried in thick scrub, there are (almost) 360-degrees from this trig station. About six kilometres to the south is the Baha’i Temple in Ingleside – another official trig point.
On the way back, I stop one last time near the rocky outcrop along the spur, which offers a panoramic vista from Coal and Candle Creek to Pittwater.
As the sun sets, I head back along the Waratah Track to the car.
Getting to Waratah Track and Arden Trig
The Waratah Track is one of the first firetrails along West Head Road, about 1.7km from the park gate. There’s no parking area, but you can park on the shoulder of the road. The rough pad to the Arden Trig is about one kilometre along the Waratah Track.
- Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures – What flows from ngaka-rna: how naming books spread a Dieri word