Summary: An enormous Aboriginal engraving site, which was the first to be visited by Europeans in 1788. There are over 100 figures representing different scenes.

An old cart track passed over this significant engraving site, before a road (now the Wakehurst Parkway) was formed in 1888, and more damage was caused more recently from mountain bikers traversing the rock platform, before it was fenced. Bantry Bay is a significant Aboriginal heritage site that’s believed that to be the first Aboriginal rock engraving site visited by Europeans visited in 1788. From an original count of 84 figures in the 1890s, more detailed analysis of the site in 1966 resulted in a total of 116 figures being recorded, which are spread over five adjoining rock platforms.

Site sketch of Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site

Series 1 (Figure 5)

This group has some of the most deeply cut and best preserved engravings, which comprise a range of weapons and animals commonly seen and used by the Aboriginal people. Very prominent are three large fish (probably snapper) swimming head-to-tail.

IMG 5588 LR Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site

Near the line of fish is an eel, and a jellyfish, which is a fairly unusual motif.

IMG 5587 LR Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site

There are a number of clubs and axes in this group.

IMG 5605 LR Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site

Two figures which look like whale flukes also stand out prominently – these were recorded by Campbell in 1899, but not described by McCarthy.

IMG 5583 LR Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site

There is one man in this group, who is very weathered. He was described as having a “big half oval head, no eyes, no neck, upraised arms… short truncated legs”.

Series 2 (Figure 1)

This small group has a fish, a small oval and a deity or ancestral being. These are all quite weathered, and are very old figures.

IMG 5592 LR Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site

Series 4 (Figure 4)

Containing 39 figures, this is the largest of the five sites and contains a number of “remarkable and unique figures”. These include a number of very large shields, one of which is speared.

Near the shields is a man with an oval-shaped head holding an oval (the lower part of the man is less distinct).

img 5594 lr Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site

Two men, both fairly weathered, are carrying different objects. Campbell thought the man on the right was carrying a bundle of spears, while McCathy suggested it was a figure with shaped ends that was of “vital significance”.

IMG 5597 LR Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site

Among a number of animals in this group, there’s a small wallaby and what is probably a goanna or monitor.

Series 5 (Figure 2)

The two prominent engravings in this small group are a man and a whale.

IMG 5602 LR Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site

This grour was thought to represent a magician enticing a whale to become stranded (a similar scene to the ones depicted at Balls Head and Bluff Track).

Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site - Site Summary

Aboriginal Sites by National Park

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.
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.
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.
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 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.
There are over 350 Aboriginal engraving and sites recorded in the Central Coast region, many of these in the Brisbane Water National Park.
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1 Comment

Bantry Bay Loop (Garigal NP) | Hiking the World · August 23, 2021 at 9:53 pm

[…] Track, a service trail that runs along the Wakehurst Parkway. On the right (west) is the enormous Bantry Bay Aboriginal engraving site; it was the first to be visited by Europeans (Surgeon John White) in March […]

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