Summary: A significant Aboriginal cultural site, the Moon Rock Aboriginal Site was declared an Aboriginal Place in 2016. The site has over 50 engravings, including tools and weapons used and animals caught and eaten in the area.

The Moon Rock Aboriginal Site is one of the most fascinating sites in the area, consisting of three groups of engravings along a thin, rocky ridge. The site was first documented by W.D. Campbell in 1899, and later by Fred McCarthy, who described the main group as representing a hunting scene: “A successful hunter is carrying either a large echidna or turtle on his shoulder – it is a puzzling figure because of the two long fore limbs which are too long for an echidna but the head and hind resemble those of the echidna and as it is a bush setting it is probably the latter animal; likewise the second man appears to be carrying a large fish upright on his right shoulder but he is also overlapping a leaping kangaroo…

IMG 5976 LR Moon Rock Aboriginal SiteIMG 5976 LR highlighted Moon Rock Aboriginal Site

Nearby is a third man with a large oval above his head; the oval was originally thought to be a head-dress or represent a waterhole frequented by eels (there are actually two men superimposed on one another, but one of the men is very weathered). Later interpretation of the site suggests this is Baiame, with a moon on his head.

IMG 5975 LR Moon Rock Aboriginal SiteIMG 5975 LR highlighted 1 Moon Rock Aboriginal Site

The two eels are right next to the man, swimming head to tail and touching one another – they are seven and eight foot long.

Next one one of the eels is a four-foot long goanna with a “long pointed head bent to the right, no eyes, long neck, 2 very long forelegs with feet like ends right one flat and round ended, left one convex and pointed, short hind legs, one shorter (and bent) than the other…

Goanna at Moon Rock site

Another three eels are engraved near a shallow pool in the rock platform; alongside them is a long fish spear.

img 5979 lr Moon Rock Aboriginal Site

At the eastern end of the rock platform is a dolphin.

Dolphin at Moon Rock site

There are several fish around the Moon Rock site: one on it’s own, and another three swimming head to tail.

Overlapping the three fish is a flying bird: “a rounded head, no beak, no eyes, on a neck curved to the right, oval body, conical ended wings, rounded rump, 2 broadly grooved legs with three toes on each one projecting from the side of the body just behind one wing“.

IMG 5980 LR Moon Rock Aboriginal Site

Perhaps the most interesting and less obvious aspect of the Moon Rock site is what McCarthy described as a sword club and a line of circles and ovals. More recent interpretation of the site – and the reason for the name of this site – is that these carvings are said to depict the eight phases of the moon, beginning with the creator Biame’s boomerang. It supports other research that demonstrates Aboriginal astronomical knowledge, and an association with astronomy and Dreamtime stories. “The engravings depict the creation story of Biame.. This is when the world changed forever, the sky lifted and life began”.

Boomerang and moon at Moon Rock siteIMG 5971 LR highligted Moon Rock Aboriginal Site
engraving moon rock Moon Rock Aboriginal Site

Moon Rock Aboriginal 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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gourmetcampers · October 25, 2021 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for posting this. Living in Sydney for a decade now, and only now starting to discover some many ancient places just around the corner. Cheers!

    oliverd :-) · October 25, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    Moon Rock is an amazing site – and it’s equally amazing how many sites still exist around Sydney. It’s a shame they have to be hidden away to keep then safe.

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