Summary: An enormous shelter named from it's location near The Sphinx, this site has 91 motifs including charcoal paintings and hand stencils.

Described as the “largest recorded art shelter” in the Sydney area by archaeologist Jo McDonald (Dreamtime Superhighway) and measuring 40m x 10m x 8m, this large overhang contains 91 motifs.

Sphinx Trig Cave (Bobbin Head)

The charcoal figures and white stencils were first recorded by Robert Hamilton Mathews, a “an Australian surveyor and self-taught anthropologist” (Wikipedia) in 1896, and since then the artwork has significantly deteriorated. Graffiti on the walls from 1916 and a row of empty beer bottles dating back to the 1960s shows that the large cave was used as a camping spot for many years.

Most are of the art is very hard to make out; the motifs include nine men, a large man (who could be a deity), five wallbies or kangaroos and 13 stencilled hands: “To the left of the spectator on entering the cave are nine figures of men, one woman, and five kangaroos or wallabies, of different sizes, all outlined in black and shaded within the outlines, in the same colour. Intermingled with these are the figure of a man with an abnormally long body an(d short legs and a angaroo, drawn in outline only. Farther to the right is a kangaroo drawn in solid black colour, and farther on is the figure of a woman in black outline. Looking at the left hand side of the lower section of the plate, we see two kangaroos running – apparently a mother and her young one-oultlined in black; and farther on is an animal which is rather hard to identify, but which may have been intended for an opossum or a native cat. Still farther to the right is part of the figure of a kangaroo, the remainder having disappeared owing to the natural decay of the rock surface. The last group in the cave is one of unusual interest, depicting a female kangaroo with a young one just in the act of jumping out of her pouch.” (R.H. Mathews).

Cave Painting Sphinx Trig “Sphinx Trig” cave

The faded drawing below represents a kangaroo and two men (upper left-most motifs in Figure 1, above).

Cave art at Sphinx Trig Cave (Bobbin Head)
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