Next to the Pacific Motorway (M1), the Spring Gully (or Cockle Creek) site has 83 engraved figures across multiple locations.
Near the Pacific Motorway (M1) is a group of Aboriginal engravings, which is referred to as the Spring Gully or Cockle Creek site. The rock art was extensively documented by Fred McCarthy, and later by J.C. Lough and Associates who undertook an archaeological survey prior to the construction of the Hornsby to Berowra section of the F3 freeway (now the M1 Motorway). Much of the art is half-buried under soil and leaves, some can’t be located and at least one is damaged; on a bushwalk with Collette (Rock Art of the Sydney Basin) we confirmed the location of the figures circled in green, below.
On a separate rock platform above the main site is a “poorly designed figure of a man, 3 ft 6 in high” (Group 2, Series III).
On a large rock surface that’s now almost completely covered by dirt and debris is a “maze of forty small and normal-sized mundoes” or footprints (Group 2, Series III). Some mundoes have distinct punctures and others have conjoined punctures and a smooth groove, suggesting that these were engraved over multiple periods.
Most of the figures in the main group (Group 2, Series III) are still visible, although some are a bit hard to discern. A woman (below) stands in an animated pose, with arms upraised, holding an oval object like a bag in one hand with another smaller oval on one breast, and has four eyes. There is also a skate-like fish, an echidna, a dead echidna (or the skin of one), a stingray or skate and a man wearing a rayed headdress.
Another line of nine mundoe runs from east to west from these figures towards a man described as “almost 6 ft high, with no head but three rays in its place, fingers on one hand, a long penis and poorly shaped legs”. One of the mundoes is uncovered (below), but there seems no trace of the six-foot man.
This scene is thought to describe a meeting, dance or fight between two men for the woman… “A track leads away to one of the men and the woman. Their track is crossed by that of the second man who is posed to the westward of them. Thus we may have here the track of a man and woman eloping, their camping place shown by the maze of mundoes, the two large ovals represent them sleeping, the mundoe track their route to a fishing and hunting spot, and the other man, the husband, trailing them”. The figures are very similar to those at the Bobbin Head Track.
- Rock engravings of the Sydney-Hawkesbury District.Part 2: Some important ritual groups in the County of Cumberland. Fred McCarthy. 9 March 1959. Download PDF.
- Freeway No 3 Archaelogical Survey. J.C. Lough and Associates. May 1981 [State Library]
- Catalogue of Rock Engravings in the Sydney-Hawkesbury District. Fred McCarthy. NPWS. 1983.