Summary: An Aboriginal engraving on a spur above Cowan Creek, which may depict an initiation ceremony. The group of figures includes two deitiies and seven men.

On a spur between Waratah Bay and Apple Tree Bay is an interesting Aboriginal engraving site, which was documented by McCarthy in 1960. Originally described as “human figures of various kinds and sizes”. they are all engraved on one large rock platform.

Engraving McCarthy Group91 Initiation Ceremony above Cowan Creek

Two of the men were later described as ancestral beings, and the group interpreted by McCarthy as depicting “seven initiates who had reached the stage where they had received their girdles and armlets in the presence of the spirit beings responsible for their initiation.”

Thr largest deity is 12′ 6″ tall, and the second largest of the two deities (below) is 9′ 6″ tall, with an 8-rayed headdress and three stripes from his neck to a double-line belt.

deity montage LR Initiation Ceremony above Cowan Creekdeity montage LR highlighted Initiation Ceremony above Cowan Creek

Of the other seven figures, one of the them stands separate to the rest of the group, near the edge of the rock platform.

AWAT4376 LR Initiation Ceremony above Cowan Creek
AWAT4384 LR Initiation Ceremony above Cowan Creek

Six of the men stand in a row, on the soping sloping edge of the rock platform.

AWAT4423 LR Initiation Ceremony above Cowan Creek

They are are around 5’6″ to 6′ in height.

On a nearby rock is a vertical engraving of a shark, with two pairs of dorsal and ventral fins.

AWAT4435 LR Initiation Ceremony above Cowan Creek

Additional engravings in this group include a leaping kangaroo, another man on a separate rock,

Initiation Ceremony above Cowan Creek - 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.
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.
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.
There are over 350 Aboriginal engraving and sites recorded in the Central Coast region, many of these in the Brisbane Water National Park.
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.
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.
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