Summary: One of the most spectacular shelters in the McPherson State Forest, the Basalt Hill Shelter (also known as the "Big Cave") contains over 100 Aboriginal rock art motifs.

Informally called the “Big Cave”, and originally documented as the Basalt Hill Shelter, this long and fairly deep shelter is spectacular even without the Aboriginal rock art painted on its walls and ceiling.

Located above a cliff and below a steep ridge, the cave offers views over the valley far below.

Within the shelters are over a hundred motifs, drawn in white clay, red ochre and charcoal. The figures are painted across the ceiling and back wall of the main shelter and include birds, snakes, shields and some indeterminate motifs.

Some of the motifs can be seen more clearly with some image enhancement – the original photo is on the left and enhanced photo on the right.

The most spectacular “gallery” is at the southern end of the shelter, in what looks like a separate chamber.

Near the centre of the panel are a series of overlapping wallabies or kangaroos.

AWAT0311 LR stitch Basalt Hill Shelter (Big Cave)AWAT0311 LR stitch lab Basalt Hill Shelter (Big Cave)

The macropods are drawn in a combination of white clay and charcoal, with some of them being infilled and others drawn in both yellow and black.

AWAT0301 LR Basalt Hill Shelter (Big Cave)AWAT0301 LR lab Basalt Hill Shelter (Big Cave)

AWAT0310 LR Basalt Hill Shelter (Big Cave)AWAT0310 LR yrd Basalt Hill Shelter (Big Cave)
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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.