Summary: Aboriginal engraving near Bairne Trig (West Head) with figures incuding a man or woman, and a koala.

South west of the Bairne Trig Station is an Aboriginal engraving site, first documented by W.D. Campbell in 1898. While the site was described as having extensive views in the 1890s and even as recently as thr 1970s, the rock is now surrounded by trees and dense scrub.

AWAT2847 LR Bairne Trig engraving site

As the bottom of the group is what McCarthy described as a koala, with an “angled convex back on broad body, concave belly line continued upward for 2′ above the animal to represent the trunk of a tree, rounded projecting rump”. (Campbell identified this as an emu.)

AWAT2843 LR Bairne Trig engraving site

The site also has what is likely to be a human figure, although Campbell suggested it was potentially a deity figure. McCarthy describes it as possibly a woman, as there is an indication of a breast on the figure’s left hand side, although the figure is drawn with a penis (there are other examples of hermaphroditic carvings in the area).

AWAT2832 LR Bairne Trig engraving site

Near this figure are a number of boomerangs and shields (some of the shields are covered by vegetation).

AWAT2814 LR Bairne Trig engraving site

While McCarthy suggests the figure may be a woman, he also interprets the site as representing “a man possibly engaged in a koala bear hunt”.

Engraving Bairne Trig Bairne Trig engraving site
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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.