Summary: A significant Aboriginal engraving site in Somersby, which includes a large bird of ceremonial significance and an anthropomorphic "spirit figure".

This intriguing Aboriginal engraving site was first recorded by McCarthy in 1945, when the rock ledge jutted out above an orchard. It’s now in an undeveloped industrial estate not far from the M1/F3 freeway – an archaelogical report prepared prior to the construction of the freeway rated the site as 8/10 in terms of its significance, and also found it would not be impacted by the freeway.

Series 1

Although all the figures are engraved on one (contiguous) rock platform, McCarthy described them in two series.

Old Gosford Road Engraving Site S1
Spirit Figure Kangaroo Kangaroo Eel Eel Axe Grinding Grooves

Spirit Figure

AWAT9189 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

A "spirit figure, with eyes outside the face"

Kangaroo

AWAT9187 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

One of two kangaroo at western end of site

Kangaroo

AWAT9208 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

One of two kangaroo at western end of site

Eel

AWAT9200 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

Top eel, partly covered by vegetation

Eel

AWAT9192 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

One of two eels

Axe Grinding Grooves

AWAT9173 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

On the western side of the site is a “spirit figure”, with eyes outside the face”.

There are two kangaroos.

Partly coverered by vegetation are two eels, in a line (the upper one is half-covered).

Next to some small waterholes are multiple axe grinding grooves.

Also in the area is a spearthrower.

Series 2

Old Gosford Road Engraving Site S2
Large Bird Man Man Mundoe Mundoe Mundoe Kangaroo Kangaroo Dingo Eel and Kangaroo Fish

Large Bird

AWAT9125 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

A large bird (just under three metres in height) was thought to be of ceremonial significance

Man

AWAT9215 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

Man with tall, half oval head, two big basin pit eyes, no neck, straight arms slightly upraised... his left leg is broader and straighter

Man

AWAT9128 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

Man with "no head, but a convex swelling may represent it, arms bent slightly upward, right arm pointed"

Mundoe

AWAT9133 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

Mundoe

AWAT9134 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

Mundoe

AWAT9134 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

Kangaroo

AWAT9223 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

One of a pair of a kangaroos

Kangaroo

AWAT9155 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

The larger kangaroo is over three metres in length, with a "convex head, conical face... a gracefully posed elegant animal standing on its hind legs and tail"

Dingo

AWAT9159 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

Eel and Kangaroo

AWAT9169 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

Fish

AWAT9145 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

A large bird (just under three metres in height) was thought to be of ceremonial significance due to its size; it has a long, rounded head, no eyes and a broad body. Across it’s neck is a band wth 14 parallel bars between two lines.

AWAT9125 LR Old Gosford Road Engraving Site

Above the bird are two men, and below it a third man – all have outstretched arms, and are very weathered (or were less deeply grooved than most of the other figures here).

Below the bird and three men are a line of large mundoes, all of which have toes clearly displayed…

…and below the mundoes, with part of the figure covered by moss, is one of a pair of kangaroos (and one of four kangaroos in this series). Both of them are facing the same way.

The larger kangaroo is over three metres in length, with a “convex head, conical face… a gracefully posed elegant animal standing on its hind legs and tail”. This roo, unlike the smaller one, has a bar across its neck.

An animal described by McCarthy as a dingo is just under a metre in length: “long, concave head, broad pointed face, pair of pointed ears sloping forward and backward respectively”.

Next to a waterhole is an overlapping and eel, and kangaroo: “a doe posed as it takes off in a leap with its head down and inward and its body parallel with the ground”. While the kangaroo appears to have a penis, it was described as having a “straight belly with convex hump in crutch (possibly a pouch), conical foreleg sloped backward, incurved and pointed hind leg, oval vagina”.

Hard to photograph as its partly covered by silt and water leaching from the surrounding vegetation is a fish: a “Broad oval bodied fish 5’3″ long, mouth pen and upper jaw line turns inward to form a pair of conjoined ovals”.

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Aboriginal Sites by National Park

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