A series of Aboriginal engraving sites to the south-west of Mount Murray Anderson, which includes two large whales, a man-emu composite figure and a stone arrangement.

This large and scattered Aboriginal engraving site on the south-western side of Mount Murray Anderson was referrred to as “Smiths Creek” when first documented, as it overlooks Smiths Creek. While access is now relatively easy via a rough bushwalking track off the Perimeter Trail, access was originally via boat. W.D. Campbell in 1989 described the comparatively easy ascent of a spur from the point of the head of the tidal flow on the northernmost of two short bays.

The Aboriginal engraving sites are located on separate rock platforms, and Fred McCarthy in his Catalogue of Rock Engravings (1982) described the carvings as a series of four sites (but missed a few sites).

Mount Murray Anderson
Poorly shaped whale Large Whale Leaping Kangaroo Boomerangs Fish Shield Shield Shield Man-emu figure Leg

Poorly shaped whale

montage1 stitch LR 2 Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

The smaller of two whales, described by McCarthy as "poorly shaped" and by Campbell as "a very inferior attempt". The whale has a small mouth, and a small tail with two pointed fins.

Large Whale

montage2 stitch LR 1 Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

A "well shaped whale", with a "large conical head sloped downward, large mouth open, equal length pointed jaws... well posed with pectoral fins correctly placed but the tail is too deeply indented".

Leaping Kangaroo

AWAT7347 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

A leaping kangaroo which is "a little animated and looks like a pregnant doe". The posterior of the kangaroo is fairly clear, but the head and front leg is very weathered.

Boomerangs

AWAT7574 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Campbell described two boomerangs, but three boomerangs are carved into the sandstone.

Fish

AWAT7579 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Shield

AWAT7581 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Two shields are also in close proximity: this one has two tranverse lines (as depicted by Campbell).

Shield

AWAT7580 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Shield with one transverse line (Campbell depicted both shields as having two transverse lines).

Shield

AWAT7981 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Third shield (near whale) with no lines.

Man-emu figure

montage3 stitch LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

A large "composite human-emu figure", whose head has weathered away. Its front foot is facing backwards.

Leg

AWAT8301 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

A man's leg and penis, "clearly cut in the hard rock".

Series 1 – Poorly shaped whale

Although almost seven metres in length, this is the smaller of two whales. It was described by McCarthy as “poorly shaped” and by Campbell as “a very inferior attempt”. The whale has a small mouth, and a small tail with two pointed fins.

montage1 stitch LR 2 Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

The outline of the whale is still fairly distinct, although the grooves are not deep. Beyond the whale is the end of Mount Murray Anderson. (This whale was separately recorded in AHIMS as 45-6-0539.)

AWAT7572 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and EmuAWAT7573 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Series 2 – Whale and Shields

The second whale is even larger, being nine metres in length. It was described by McCarthy as a “well shaped whale”, with a “large conical head sloped downward, large mouth open, equal length pointed jaws… well posed with pectoral fins correctly placed but the tail is too deeply indented”.

montage2 stitch LR 1 Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Slightly deeper-cut than the prevous whale, from this engraving is again a nice view of Mount Murray Anderson, on the opposite side of the valley.

AWAT7979 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and EmuAWAT7980 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Also on this rock platform are shields, boomerangs and a fish, grouped together in the middle of the rock platform… Campbell described two boomerangs, but three boomerangs are carved into the sandstone.

AWAT8363 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and EmuAWAT8363 LR highligted Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

The fish and three boomeramgs are quite close to each other; the fish was described by McCarthy as having a “poor tail”, but there is more detail in the fish’ tail than what was recorded by Campbell and McCarthy.

The two shields are also in close proximity: one has a single transverse line, and the other two lines (Campbell depicted them both as having two transverse lines).

A third shield near the larger whale has no lines.

AWAT7981 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

In the middle of the rock platform is a large “composite human-emu figure”, whose head has weathered away. Its front foot is facing backwards.

montage3 stitch LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Also described on this rock platform is a headless kangaroo.

Series 3 – Man’s Leg

About 25m further west is a man’s leg and penis, “clearly cut in the hard rock”.

AWAT8301 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Series 4 – Leaping Kangaroo

Some two hundred metres east, but described as part of the same group, is a leaping kangaroo: “a little animated and looks like a pregnant doe”. While the posterior of the kangaroo is fairly clear, the head and front leg is very weathered.

AWAT7347 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Stone Arrangement

Campbell (and McCarthy) also documented a stone arrangement near Series 2: “On the rock near the emu loose stones have been collected into low, small heaps 4-6′ in diameter”.

Man, Boomerang and Skate

Campbell missed (or chose not to document) a number of engravings around this area. To the south-east of Series 1 is a man, boomerang and skate (stingray).

AWAT7365 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and EmuAWAT7365 LR highlighted Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

The man is only about 0.5m tall, and quite weathered. I think he has one outstretched leg and one bent leg; I’ve also seen the “legs” depicted as upstretched arms.

AWAT7363 LR Mount Murray Anderson West - Whales and Emu

Above the man is a crescent shape (most likely a boomerang), a mundoe and what appears to be a skate/stingray. Nearby is a circular engraving.

Shield and Eel

On the same platform as Series 2 is a third shield, engraved in very hard rock. There’s also an engraving of an eel.

Man and Fish

Near Series 3 (the engraving of a leg) is a complete man, fairly distinct and carved on a gently sloping rock face.

Nearby are two fish and what may be a shark, or a larger third fish.

On a separate platform to the north-east is a small waterhole, with more engravings and axe grinding grooves.

Indigenous 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.
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. The original inhabitants of the Maroota area were the Darug people.
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.
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.

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