Summary: Numerous engraving and cave art sites along the Basin Track and Mackerel Track. Many are hidden just off the trails, but the signposted Basin Aboriginal Site is easily accessed.

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”.

AWAT4000 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

The clickable map below has more detail on many of the engravings.

Basin sitemap
Man's Legs Man Male Anthropomorph Man Man and Woman Man with fish Couple Moon (or boomerang) Fish Leaping wallabies Wallaby and Fish

Man's Legs

AWAT4051 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

Two legs and "long, conical penis" - rest of figure is missing

Man

AWAT4069 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

A male figure with broader left arm, and an odd-looking right foot.

Male Anthropomorph

AWAT4026 LR 1 Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

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.

Man

AWAT4038 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

The second man (in a group of three figures) has no eyes or neck, and four pointed figures on each hand.

Man and Woman

IMG 7596 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

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

AWAT4017 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

A man with a fish next to his right leg.

Couple

AWAT4006 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

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)

AWAT4009 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

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.)

Fish

AWAT4080 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

Single fish (near boardwalk)

Leaping wallabies

AWAT3981 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

Two wallabies (or kangaroos) in a series of seven

Wallaby and Fish

AWAT4074 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

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:

The largest engraving, a speared shark, is over five metres in length.

montage2 stitch LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

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:

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.

Euro Trig

Around the Euro Trig (which lies between the Basin Track and Euro Track), are some more engraving sites and one hand stencil shelter.

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.

IMG 7603 LR Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sitesIMG 7603 LR highlighted Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites

Summary of Basin and Mackerel Trail sites

Site NameNo. MotifsMotif DetailsAHIMS ID
Basin Eel1Eel45-6-3263
Basin Bazza Fish1Fish45-6-3265
Basin Trail Man and Snake2Man, Snake45-6-3298
Coolamon Rock5Coolamons45-6-3279
Basin Small Fish1Fish45-6-3274
Basin Aboriginal Site53Men, women, fish, kangaroos45-6-0162
Basin Track Fish1Fish45-6-1604
Basin Track Stingray1Stingray45-6-0153
Basin Track Ray1Indeterminate45-6-1277
Basin Track Axe GroovesN/AAxe Grinding Grooves45-6-3917
Basin Track Shark1Speared Shark (damaged)45-6-0202 / 45-6-0820
Shark Fin Rock1Indeterminate 45-6-1377 / 45-6-2624
Currawong Beach Eel1Eel45-6-1349
Great Mackerel SWA 32Hand stencils45-6-3916
Great Mackerel SWA 215Hand stencils 45-6-0590
Great Mackerel Shelter114Hand stencils, boomerang 45-6-1614
Corroboree Man1Man (destroyed)45-6-1167
Mackerel Whale3Whale, ibis, oval + stone arrangement45-6-0154
Mackerel Trail Fish1Fish45-6-3285
Mackerel Trail Man1Man 45-6-3286
Mackerel Trail Shields4Shields and indeterminate object 45-6-3287
Euro Trig Shields 13Shields, mundoes45-6-0155
Euro Trig Whale42Whale, fish, shields, kangaroo, turtle45-6-0156
Euro Trail mundoes1Mundoes45-6-3310
Basin Dam Shelter4Hand stencils45-6-3353

Basin and Mackerel Track Aboriginal sites - Site Summary

Aboriginal Sites by National Park

A review of different techniques for photographing Aboriginal rock art. This includdes oblique flash, chain and planar mosaic imaging which combines hundreds of overlapping photos.
Many sites Aboriginal engraving sites across the inner suburbs of Sydney have been destroyed or are very weatheredl. The sites which remain are isolated from their natural environment.
Yengo National Park was an important spiritual and cultural place for the Darkinjung and Wonnarua People for thousands of years, and 640 Aboriginal cultural sites are recorded in the park and nearby areas.
Over a hundred Aboriginal sites have been recorded in the Hornsby region, with many of these in the Berowra Valley National Park and around the suburb of Berowra.
Over 40 sites have been recorded within the park; many were located along the river bank and were flooded by the building of the weir in 1938.
Located to the north-west of Sydney, just south of the Dharug and Yengo National Parks. Maroota has a high concentration of (known) Aboriginal sites. The original inhabitants of the Maroota area were the Darug people.
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