Wedged between the northern railway line and the (old) Pacific Highway is the 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.
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.
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”.
The bottom of Baiame’s huge feet each have seven toes, and are turned sideways.
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.