Basin Track Engraving Site
Perhaps the most visited and most photographed engraving site in Australia.

Facts & Figures

Latitude 33.59297° S

Longitude 151.28230° E

UBD ref

77Q15

Description

This site has a number of beautiful and enigmatic drawings of people, kangaroos, fish, and symbols. To the North are a group of a man and three women. The man has a fish touching one hand, and a crescent touching the other. It is not clear whether the crescent is a moon or a boomerang. The woman standing next to the man is an adult, with breasts beneathe her ampits, while the other two women appear to be young girls without breasts.

Nearby is a man or a turtle containing a fish, together with another man.

To the South are a man and a woman reaching up towards a crescent, which may either be a boomerang or a moon. Note how the woman stands behind the man and is partly obscured by him, rather than overlapping him.

Nearby is a hermaphrodite figure, and a beautiful mob of kangaroos or wallabies in full flight. It has been claimed that these represent the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters, although it is unclear upon what this claim is based.

What does this all mean? To me it is reminiscent of the beautiful art painted by the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land, and we know that their artwork represents stories of the Dreaming. Perhaps these engravings too tell a story of the creator spirits in the Dreaming. Or perhaps they mean something else altogether.

To get there

Follow West Head Road up through Kuringai National Park until you reach the well-signposted entrance and small car park for the Basin Track. About 300m along the track is a small track off to the right signposted to the aboriginal engravings.

For more information

  • Stanbury & Clegg (1990), p. 63
  • Hinkson (2001), p.60
  • Attenbrow (2002), p.178
  • Popp & Walker, 1997, "Footprints on Rock", pp. 24-25

For full information on books (publisher, ISBN, etc) see the "Further Reading" page.

 

Image Gallery

Click on thumbnail on left to see full-sized image

Diagram of the site, reproduced from Stanbury & Clegg (1990), with kind permission of John Clegg.

© Stanbury & Clegg 1990.

Detail of the crescent above the heads of the man and woman in the picture above. Is this a moon or a boomerang?

 

Part of the flight of kangaroos

 

A figure with a vagina but no breasts - presumably a young girl.

 

All material on this page © Ray Norris 2007 except where otherwise indicated.
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