Summary: Multiple rock engraving sites are located along and around the Milyerra Road Fire Trail in Kariong (in the Brisbane Water National Park)

There are numerous Aboriginal engraving sites along the Milyerra Road Fire Trail in Brisbane Water National Park. Ten of these sites were recorded as a series (Group 167) by Ian Sim in 1969, which are “distributed along an easterly running spur”.

Group 167 Series 1

A faint and weathered Aboriginal angraving of a man with upstretched arms.

AWAT7882 LR stitch Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)

Group 167 Series 2

Also quite faint or weathered engraving, this Aboriginal rock engraving is of a man with upstretched arms, and no penis.

AWAT0502 LR Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)

Group 167 Series 3

Not far from the man is is a large kangaroo, which is abraded. This engraving was also recorded much earlier (in 1899) by W.D. Campbell, as Plate 27 Fig 2.

awat7876 lr Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)awat7877 lr Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)

Group 167 Series 4

On the same rock platform as Series 3 is an enormous whale with two tranverse lines across its body, measuring 40 feet in length.

awat7738 lr Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)

Group 167 Series 5

Beyond the whale and kangaroo is a long but narrow rock ledge, which has a small waterhole. It has number of engravings – many of which are almost impossible to make out – as well as three axe grinding grooves. A small engraving of a bird (there are two birds; the other is much fainter) is very clear.

Less obvious is what is described as “fifteen small circles”, which look almost natural after hundreds of years of erosion from water seeping across the rock.

awat7929 lr Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)

Group 167 Series 6

The next rock platform has a large kangaroo, which is faint and quite hard to make out.

awat7932 lr Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)awat7933 lr Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)

Group 167 Series 7

Scattered across a few rock surfaces, this group includes a very weathered wallaby, the head of a wallaby (or kangaroo) and a shield,

Group 167 Series 8

The largest engraving site is crossed by the Milyerra Trail. The large, tesselated rock platform is the only sign-posted Aboriginal engraving sie int he area, but unfortunately mountain bikes and bulldozer tracks have damaged some of the engravings. Two figures recorded in 1899 have been worn away completely.

awat7676 lr Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)

There are many figures scattered around the site – most of them are faded and hard to make out – which were documented by W.D. Campbell and Ian Sim. While Sim identified and sketched about 15 motifs in 1969, the earlier recording by Campbell in 1899 covers less than half of these. There is a handprint and a number of mundoes around the site, including two long lines of mundoes which intersect.

A boomerang or moon is nestled in a natural depression in the rock.

awat7693 lr 2 Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)

Sim Group 167 Series 9

Nearby is another small site, which was recorded as being two wallabies, an eel, two fish and a narrow oval shield – all quite weathered. The smaller wallaby (bottom right) looks more like a pademelon.

Mundoe

Further along the Milyerra Trail is a lone engraving of a nine-toed mundoe, which wasn’t documented by Campbell, Sim or McCarthy.

awat7724 lr Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water)

Two fish

Another rock platform has a two fish, one of them with many peck marks on its body.

Figure with Head-dress

Continuing down the Milyerra Road Fire Trail, a rock platform above the track has a small and unusual engraving of a figure wearing some kind of head-dress, and another motif that may be a turtle (both photos below from Sydney Rock Art).

The turtle has been re-grooved along slightly different lines; you can see in the photos below the grooves and separate line of peck-marks.

Fake Engravings

Above the Milyerra Trail are a few fake engravings, includng a a fake dog (or dingo), a kangaroo and a fish.

Summary of Milyerra Trail Aboriginal engraving sites

Site NameReferenceNo. MotifsMotifsAHIMS ID
Milyerra Trail Main with PenisSim Group 167 S11Man45-3-3236
Milyerra Trail Man without PenisSim Group 167 S21Man45-3-3235
Milyerra Trail KangarooSim Group 167 S31Kangaroo45-3-3243
Milyerra Trail WhaleSim Group 167 S41Large whale45-3-0525
Milyerra Trail Man, Birds and FishSim Group 167 S516Fish, Eel, Men43-2-3239
Milyerra Trail KangarooSim Group 167 S66Wallaby, arc45-3-3238
Milyerra Trail Wallaby & ShieldSim Group 167 S74Wallaby, Shield45-3-3237
Milyerra Trail main siteSim Group 167 S8
Campbell Plate 25 Fig 1
44Fish, birds, man45-3-0541
Milyerra Trail Wallabies, Eels & FishSim Group 167 S98Wallabies45-3-0516
MIlyerra Trail Man with HeaddressSim Group 167 S101Man
Milyerra Trail Large KangarooCampbell Plate 27 Fig 21Kangaroo45-3-0647
Milyerra Trail Two Fish2Fish45-3-3246

Aboriginal engravings along the Milyerra Road Trail (Brisbane Water) - Site Summary

Aboriginal Sites by National Park

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. Many more Aboriginal heritage sites are located in the Marramarra National Park. The original inhabitants of the area were the Darug people.
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.
There are over 350 Aboriginal engraving and sites recorded in the Central Coast region, many of these in the Brisbane Water National Park.
There are about 300 recorded Aboriginal heritage sites in Wollemi National Park, with the rugged and remote environment meaning many sites are yet to be "discovered" and recorde.
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1 Comment

Chris · March 1, 2021 at 10:13 am

Some great engravings there Oliver – too bad some of them have been damaged or worn away.
I love those overlays you’ve created. They really accentuate what the original engraving would have looked like.

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