Summary: A large shelter in Popran National Park, the Upside Down Man Cave has over 274 motifs, representing three engraving types.

Located in Popran National Park, the Upside Man Cave or Shelter (UDM) is a “a large and cavernously weathered shelter” which measures approximately 17x6x3.5m. The art within the shelter consists of engravings, paintings, drawings and stencils, with over 274 motifs in total. (The shelter was extensively researched by Jo McDonald in 1991, with the age of the art estimated to date from around 1500 AD.)

A pecked upside-down-man (one of three three male anthropomorphs) is at the far end of the cave. He is thought to be the source of the shelter’s name (although there is also a red drawn upside down human). This figure is pecked (intaglio), one of three drawing styles in the cave, with the spine of the figure more deeply pecked than the rest of its body.

There are two more petrogryphs or engravings of male human figures, one pecked (intaglio), and the other a “miniature-Sydney style” (pecked and abraded) outline engraving.

Many of the 274 motifs are hand stencils (55 in total were recorded), of which 36 were of hands and 18 of hand variations (hand and wrist, hand and arm, finger manipulation).

As well as the engraved men, there are a number of painted red anthropomorphs (one has a white outline) beneath white outlined macropods. A number of these, like the petroglyphs, have three fingers.

Other pigment art includes male and female anthropomorphs, macropods, snakes, echidnas, reptiles, fish and eel, tracks, material objects, geometrics and a shield. These are have been painted in charcoal, white pipeclay and red ochre.

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Aboriginal Sites by National Park

Over 40 sites have been recorded within the park; many were located along the river bank and were flooded by the building of the weir in 1938.