Summary: A small but complex Aboriginal engraving site above Coal and Candle Creek (West Head). It has 66 motifs, including 27 mundoes, and axe grinding grooves.

This long and thin platform, surrounded by thick scrub, has over 60 Aboriginal engravings and axe grinding grooves first recorded by McCarthy in 1941. McCarthy initially wrote: “No particular meaning may be attached to this group, although it appears to illustrate a myth… It may represent a picture of a very good camping place”. He later described the site in his Catalogue of Rock Engravings as probably representing a good hunting place: “Two hunting incidents are shown, one of a woman killing a bird, the other of men hunting echidna”.

McCarthy Group IV
Leaping wallaby Bird Two Eels Eel Oval Woman with Digging Stick Curved Bird Ovals Axe Grinding Grooves Shield Eel Man Echidna Echidna

Leaping wallaby

AWAT5327 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

A leaping wallaby, 4' 6" long with a pointed triangular face, no eyes, one ear, conical foreleg pointed forward, convex back, concave belly line continued to incurved and truncated hind leg, straight tail in line with back.

Bird

AWAT5331 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

A bird, 15" long, with conical head no eyes, round ended wings straight out from the body, right wing long than left, conical rump, pair of conical legs, posed with wings open and about to lift from the ground.

Two Eels

AWAT5360 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Two of three adjacent eels; these are 2'6" and 2'9" long. One has three bars across its body, and the other five bars

Eel

AWAT5352 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

The third eel is 2'6" long, with no bars across its body

Oval

AWAT5381 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

One of five ovals around this part of the rock platform

Woman with Digging Stick

AWAT5394 highlighted Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

A woman (3' tall) is holding a long digging stick (4'6" long). The woman has a half-oval head, two eyes (vertical on left side of head), slightly curved arms half upraised, five fingers on right hand, round-ended left arm, rounded breasts pointing outward, incurved sides of body and outspread thin legs.An intagliated vagina projects beyond the outline of her crotch.

Curved Bird

AWAT5399 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

A bird (4' long) with a long beak, oval head, no eyes, oval body and short bent leg with one toe.

Ovals

AWAT5401 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Three ovals (23" and 24" long)

Axe Grinding Grooves

AWAT5406 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Eleven axe grinding grooves next to a small pothole

Shield

AWAT5408 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

A shield (4'10" long) with two transverse lines

Eel

AWAT5416 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Head of an eel

Man

AWAT5422 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Man (4'3" tall) with half-oval head, no eyes, 5-rayed headdress, long neck, straight arms upraised, short straight legs wide apart, rounded ended right foot outward, left leg truncated, big conical penis with a bar in the middle.

Echidna

AWAT5437 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Echidna (3'10" long) with long pointed head, no eyes, humped back, rounded rump, conical fin-like legs.

Echidna

AWAT5446 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

One of a pair of echidna (2'10" long) with conical head, pointed vertical foreleg, pointed hind leg, pointed rump, no eyes

At the western end of the platform, with the end of its tail now partlty covered by soil, is a leaping wallaby.

AWAT5327 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Nearby is a bird, described by McCarthy as “posed with wings open and about to lift from the ground after running a few steps.

AWAT5331 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Also partly obscured by encroaching vegetation are three eels, which are about three feet long; one has no five bars aross its body another three bars and the third eel has no bars.

AWAT5340 highlighted Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

The two eels which are in line with each have very distunct “peck marks”, and were described as “perfect examples of the punctured outline”.

The third eel (which has no bar across its body) is less distinct, but also bears clear peck marks.

AWAT5352 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

A second wallaby is also near the edge of the rock platform, which was described as “posed as though feeding, lying down or dead”. Above its back is one mundoe, which is part of a line of 14 mundoes; they point to the Elvina Aboriginal Site.

AWAT5337 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

This section of the rock platform has five ovals, which may represent camps.

The eastern side of the rock platform has some more interesting figure including a woman who is holding a digging stick.

AWAT5394 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving siteAWAT5394 highlighted Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

The woman is about three feet tall, and much shorter thn the 4″6′ digging stick; she was described in much detail by McCarthy but some of these details can no longer be seen due to weathering.

AWAT5397 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Next to the woman is what is what McCarthy described as a bird: “probably a dead duck or shag killed by the man with her digging stick”.

AWAT5399 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Continuing east long the platform are five more ovals.

AWAT5401 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Near the centre of the platform are eleven axe grinding grooves, next to a small pothole.

AWAT5406 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

A shield at the edge of the platform has two transverse lines.

AWAT5408 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Partly

AWAT5416 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

There’s are two men towards the eastern end of the rock platform: the first has upraised arms and is wearing a headdress, although the five-rayed headdress is very hard to make out.

AWAT5422 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

The second man seems to have weathered significantly, with many of the features described by McCarthy no longer evident. His legs are pointing to the first man, although not all of his lower body is visible. Both his arms are outspread.

AWAT5431 LR Coal and Candle Creek engraving site

Three echidns are just beyond the two men, all of them similarly shaped with conicals heads and legs pointed backwards, to indicate they are walking.

Coal and Candle Creek engraving site - Site Summary

Aboriginal Sites by National Park

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