Summary: A small site sandwiched between the old Pacific Highway and the railway line and accessed by an unsigned track. The site features three figures and a very long line of mundoes.

Wedged between the northern railway line and the (old) Pacific Highway is the Mt Ku-ring-gai Aboriginal site.

IMG 3779 LR Mt Ku-ring-gai Aboriginal site

Described as one of an “outstanding series of rock engravings known in the Sydney-Hawkesbury district”, this site was first documented by Robert Etheridge (a staff member and later director of Sydney’s Australian Museum) in 1904. Situated on a long and narrow ledge of rock, the site has a continuous line of 45 mundoes (footprints) over a distance of 200m (this the longest single line of mundoes ever recorded – although the Echidna and Fish site at West Head has a greater number of mundoes in total). At the end of the line of mundoes is Baiame, the creator god and “Sky Father”, and his two wives.

Engraving Mt Ku ring gai Mt Ku-ring-gai Aboriginal site

Baiame stands eleven feet tall with a span of eight feet between his hands, and is depicted holding a boomerang. There is a bar across his neck, probably indicating a necklet (possibly a probably a row of kangaroo teeth strung on human hair twine) and seven eyes. He has six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. A woman is engraved on each side of Baiame, thought to be his two wives (but they could also represent a wife and daughter). The second wife/daughter (on the right) is much more weathered and harder to make out.

Montage1 stitch edited LR Mt Ku-ring-gai Aboriginal siteMontage1 stitch edited LR highlighted Mt Ku-ring-gai Aboriginal site

IMG 3783 LR Mt Ku-ring-gai Aboriginal site

The non-returning boomerang or sword club, is above Baiame’s left hand.

Above Baiame’s right hand is an irregular oval figure (which is very weathered), a set of four fish and two ovals, and an “almost indiscernible and indeterminate pyriform figure”.

AWAT1477 LR Mt Ku-ring-gai Aboriginal site

The bottom of Baiame’s huge feet each have seven toes, and are turned sideways.

AWAT1497 LR Mt Ku-ring-gai Aboriginal site

As well as being the longest line of mundoes ever recorded, they are also the largest individual mundoes to be docuemented. Intended to represent Baiame’s tracks, the footprints are two to three times the size of normal mundoes.

The site was thought to depict an important historical episode in the life of Aboriginal deities, and would have been used for ceremonies. Initiated men attending these ceremonies would follow the line of mundoes from north to south. The fish were most likely a totem, as the site is located between Berowra Waters and Cowan Creek, which suggests the site was used for totemic increase rituals. The site also has some (faded) kangaroo tracks, which may represent a mythical kangaroo or Dreamtime kangaroo totem.

The majority of the figures are regarded as belonging to the same period: one fish, the kangaroo tracks, and the single southernmost mundoes were likely added later.

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Katrina Hemingway · July 17, 2021 at 1:05 pm

Hi Oliver, Just went hunting for this site with a friend. There is nothing to see. Ended up walking to Beaumont Rd and then had to re-enter in the 400 metres to 100 metres section from Mt Ku-ring-Gai Railway Station. Lots of bracken and lantana and fallen trees and some narrow rock platform that is covered in about 2 inches of dense leaf matter and dirt. Pushed some of it away with feet but could decipher nothing. Have you been here recently? Mucked about for an hour but ultimately was unsuccessful in locating anything of significance. I suspect your reference here is the best documented and it is perhaps lost for ever unless council were to clean it up. But very difficult to access unless on foot and walking into oncoming traffic before venturing into dense scrub. Pity.

    oliverd :-) · July 17, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    I think you were a bit to far north.. I have sent you an email!

      Katrina Hemingway · July 17, 2021 at 5:48 pm

      Many thanks, I think you are right looking at the satellite map. Will venture again soon.

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Aboriginal Sites by National Park

Red Hands Cave, Glenbrook (Blue Mountains)
The Blue Mountains National Park (and surrounding areas along the Great Western Highway) is thought to have over a thousand indigenous heritage sites, although much of the park has not been comprehensively surveyed. The Aboriginal rock sites in the Blue Mountains include grinding grooves, stensils, drawing and rock carvings.
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.
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area protects over 3,000 known Aboriginal heritage sites, and many more which are yet to be recorded. This area includes the Blue Mountains National Park, Gardens of Stone, Wollemi National Park and Yengo National Park.