Summary: The largest figure at this Muogamarra Aboriginal engraving site is a manta ray; nearby are five men, a woman, a kangaroo rat and a very clearly-carved bird.

An Aboriginal engraving site in Muogamarra Nature Reserve has figures “somewhat scattered on a dark iron-stained ledge of rock”, as Campbell documented the site in 1899. The largest and most distinctive figure was described by Campbell as “probably intended to represent a rock scorpion, eight feet long and next to it a fish, with a fishing-line attached to it”. McCarthy later called it a marine creature: “a manta ray with a big mouth and long opposite fins”.

A long and fairly deeply carved line runs from the marine creature, to a speared fish below. (Between the fish and the marine creature is a pointed cone.)

A woman is beside the manta ray, with “pointed breasts projecting outward at a right angle, belt, legs outspread with rounded ends, bar inside crutch for vagina”. Campbell noted that it was very unusual for a female figure to have a belt. Next to her is a much smaller figure of a man – Campbell recorded him some distance away, but he is almost touching the woman.

Another group of human figures has three men; one of them has a long, curved body with a conical penis. (Campbell described two of the five men as deity figures.)

Another man is at the top of the site; he also has upraised arms and a pointed penis.

A mammal was described as a wombat by Campbell, but by McCarthy as a kangaroo rat (which seems more likely, as the figure has a long tail – and it’s similar in shape to the kangaroo rats at the Shark Rock Ridge Hunting Scene.)

A “flying bird” (a shag according to Campbell) is in the middle of the rock platform, and still very clearly carved.

Note: As a restricted nature reserve, photography and off-track site visitation within Muogamarra is not allowed without a permit.

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