Summary: Most likely representing an emu hunt, the Ticehurst Park Aboriginal engraving site in Faulconbridge has three very distinct emu carvings, as well as six mundoes (footprints) and a number of axe grinding grooves.

The Ticehurst Park Aboriginal engraving site in Faulconbridge is one of a very small number of signposted and easily accessible rock art sites in the Blue Mountains. The long sandstone ledge has three emu carvings and six mundoes as well as many axe grinding grooves and was originally called “Emu Rock”.

At the southern end of the Ticehurst Park Aboriginal engraving site is an emu: “standing upright, 8’9″ high, with a short bent neck, pointed head vertically downward, no eyes, concave back, convex rump and convex front, broad from the breast to the rump, straight leg bifurcated at the end, it is posed looking at the ground or at the pothole”.

A total of six mundoes (footprints) – only two of them are clearly visible – lead to one of the three emus.

There are also two sets of axe grinding grooves near the emu.

At the northern end of the rock platform are two more emus: “Both of these emus appear to be dead birds, especially the western figure with its twisted neck and body in an unnatural position, but the southern figure is that of a living figure standing in a restful pose”.

There are a few more grinding grooves at the northern end of the rock platform, and a pot hole that appears to have a grooved channel.

The Ticehurst Park Aboriginal site is one of only three Blue Mountains Aboriginal rock art sites documented by McCarthy, who in 1946 interpreted the site as either an emu hunt or a totemic site:

Although no hunters are shown, the group may represent the stalking and killing of emus. On the other hand, the site may be an emu totem-centre showing the tracks of a spiritual ancestor of the clan.

McCarthy in Mankind (1946)

Interestingly, about forty years later McCarthy revised his description to suggest more definitively that the carvings represented an emu hunt:

Although no hunters are shown, the group evidently represents the stalking of emus and the killing of one, rather than the tracks of an emu clan spiritual ancestor at an emu totem centre; the men obviously visited the site at various times to grind and sharpen their axe blades.

McCarthy in Catalogue of Rock Engravings (1983)

Getting to the Ticehurst Park Aboriginal engraving site

Ticehurst Park is located on the edge of a suburban area in Faulconbridge, in the lower Blue Mountains. Turn off the Great Western Highway onto Bellevue Road and them left onto Jeffs Road. It’s about a 1:10min drive from Sydney or a 25min drive from Katoomba.

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