As well as the significant Basin Aboriginal Site (which is signposted), there are a numerous rock engraving and cave art sites along the Basin and Mackerel Tracks.
Basin Aboriginal Site
A significant, signposted and very accessible site near the start of the Basin Track, the Basin Aboriginal Site has 53 motifs. One of the most “iconic” engravings is that of a couple “reaching for the moon”.
The clickable map below has more detail on many of the engravings.
Two legs and "long, conical penis" - rest of figure is missing
A male figure with broader left arm, and an odd-looking right foot.
A man (described as a male anthropomorph figure by Sim) has a long narrow object projecting from his head, and a fish within the outline of his body. A large fish (six feet in length) is next to the man.
The second man (in a group of three figures) has no eyes or neck, and four pointed figures on each hand.
Man and Woman
At the north-east corner of the site are two men, and a woman. The largest figure, a man has a four-rayhed headdress and is holding a broad fish in his right hand, and a sword club (boomerang) in his left hand. The woman has breasts, but no hands, feet or genitalia.
Man with fish
A man with a fish next to his right leg.
An intertwined couple (man and woman): early descriptions of the site (McCarthy and Sim) describe a sword club or boomerang above the man and woman, and don’t suggest any connection between the couple and the boomerang. However, a later interpretation of the site suggests that the couple is reaching for the moon.
Moon (or boomerang)
Moon (or boomerang) above couple. (Boomerangs typically have straight sides and rounded ends, whereas the crescent moon always has a curved shape and pointed ends.)
Single fish (near boardwalk)
Two wallabies (or kangaroos) in a series of seven
Wallaby and Fish
First wallaby (or kangaroo) in a series of seven, next to a fish
Basin Trail engraving sites
Along the Basin Trail are nine individual sites (in addition to the Basin Aboriginal Site) with carvings that include fish, an eel and a few other figures:
- Basin Eel – a quite distinct, solitary eel on a small rock
- Three individual fish carvings – Basin Bazza Fish, Basin Small Fish, and Basin Track fish
- Basin Track Man and Snake (part of a man)
- Five coolamon (containers to carry water) on a large rock platform
- Stingray (or skate) just next to the road but hidden in thick scrub
- Basin Track Ray, an interesting carving which six arms or ray”.
The largest engraving, a speared shark, is over five metres in length.
Near the speared shark are some axe grinding grooves, alongside a small creek.
Mackerel Trail engraving and cave art sites
Along the Mackerel Trail are a number of Aboriginal rock engravings, many of them quite weathered and containing a small number of motifs:
- Mackerel Trail Fish – a very weathered, solitary fish
- Mackerel Trail Man – weathered man, about 2m tall
- Mackerel Trail Shields – three weathered shields, one overlapping with a indeterminate object (eel?)
- Mackerel Whale – large whale (documented by W.D. Campbell) and an ibis. There’s also a stone arrangement nearby
- Currawong Beach Eel – single eel on a large boulder at end of headland.
There are two shelters containing hand stencils (Great Mackerel Shelter SWA 2 and SWA 3). A third shelter (Great Mackerel Shelter) contains over 100 motifs, including hand stencils in white and red ochre, and a boomerang stencil. It was extensively researched by Jo McDonald in 1989 and 1992.
Around the Euro Trig (which lies between the Basin Track and Euro Track), are some more engraving sites and one hand stencil shelter.
- Euro Trig Shields – two fairly weathered shields, and 11 mundoes
- Euro Trail mundoes – single mundoe (there may be others I couldn’t locate)
- Basin Dam Hand Stencil Shelter – weathered handprints in red ochre
Of the sites in this area, the most interesting is the Euro Trig Whale site, which was documented by W.D. Campbell in 1898. It features an enormous whale in the middle, surrounded by shields, fish, a turtle and a kangaroo.
Summary of Basin and Mackerel Trail sites
|Site Name||No. Motifs||Motif Details||AHIMS ID|
|Basin Bazza Fish||1||Fish||45-6-3265|
|Basin Trail Man and Snake||2||Man, Snake||45-6-3298|
|Basin Small Fish||1||Fish||45-6-3274|
|Basin Aboriginal Site||53||Men, women, fish, kangaroos||45-6-0162|
|Basin Track Fish||1||Fish||45-6-1604|
|Basin Track Stingray||1||Stingray||45-6-0153|
|Basin Track Ray||1||Indeterminate||45-6-1277|
|Basin Track Axe Grooves||N/A||Axe Grinding Grooves||45-6-3917|
|Basin Track Shark||1||Speared Shark (damaged)||45-6-0202 / 45-6-0820|
|Shark Fin Rock||1||Indeterminate||45-6-1377 / 45-6-2624|
|Currawong Beach Eel||1||Eel||45-6-1349|
|Great Mackerel SWA 3||2||Hand stencils||45-6-3916|
|Great Mackerel SWA 2||15||Hand stencils||45-6-0590|
|Great Mackerel Shelter||114||Hand stencils, boomerang||45-6-1614|
|Corroboree Man||1||Man (destroyed)||45-6-1167|
|Mackerel Whale||3||Whale, ibis, oval + stone arrangement||45-6-0154|
|Mackerel Trail Fish||1||Fish||45-6-3285|
|Mackerel Trail Man||1||Man||45-6-3286|
|Mackerel Trail Shields||4||Shields and indeterminate object||45-6-3287|
|Euro Trig Shields||13||Shields, mundoes||45-6-0155|
|Euro Trig Whale||42||Whale, fish, shields, kangaroo, turtle||45-6-0156|
|Euro Trail mundoes||1||Mundoes||45-6-3310|
|Basin Dam Shelter||4||Hand stencils||45-6-3353|