Summary: Described as a "sacred site for whales", this large Aboriginal engraving stie near the Waratah Track includes two whales (one with a man inside it) and a deity figure.

Towards the end of the Waratah Track is the largest Aboriginal engraving site along the track. It was described by McCarthy as a “sacred site for whales as indicated by the big spirit man or ancestral being, and a site for whale magic”.

Waratah Plate 2 Fig 1-2
Deity Young Whale or Purpoise Large Whale with man inside

Deity

AWAT1813 LR Waratah Trail Sacred Whale Site

A "large figure of a deity, eight feet long, with belt and arm-hands, and feet like a kangaroo".

Young Whale or Purpoise

AWAT1816 LR Waratah Trail Sacred Whale Site

A smaller whale (McCarthy) or purpoise (Campbell).

Large Whale with man inside

montage stitch LR highlighted Waratah Trail Sacred Whale Site

"a large whale, twenty-eight feet long, with a man cut within its outline and near the head."

At one end of the site is an engraving which Campbell described as “a large figure of a deity, eight feet long, with belt and arm-hands, and feet like a kangaroo.”

Near the man is a smaller whale (McCarthy) or purpoise (Campbell). The whale 18 feet (6m) in length.

AWAT1816 LR Waratah Trail Sacred Whale Site

At the top of the site is the largest figure: “a large whale, twenty-eight feet long, with a man cut within its outline and near the head.” McCarthy suggests that the man inside the whale may illustrate the custom of sick people entering a stranded person’s body to cure an illness, or a magician using magic to entice a whale to become stranded”. A similar theme can be seen at the Balls Head Aboriginal Site.

It’s hard to identify all the detail of the man within the whale, who was described in some detail by Campbell: “This man has arm hands, two belts, and on each leg three bands from the knees upwards, and two curved hands on the head.”

AWAT1828 LR Waratah Trail Sacred Whale Site

On an adjoining rock platform is “an emu six feet long, and above it an oval figure over three feet long. These are both in a slightly depressed portion of the rock, in which water lodges at times.” These carvings were described as “faint” in 1899 and may now have weathered away. Of the eleven figures recorded, a number are very hard to make our or have been lost to weathering.

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Aboriginal Sites by National Park

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