Balls Head Engraving
A large whale in suburban Waverton

Facts & Figures

Latitude 33.84304° S

Longitude 151.19473° E

UBD 215P14

Google map


This would once have been a beautiful engraving site, in an idyllic spot. The character of the place has now been destroyed both by the buildings around, and by the ugly white fence which surrounds the last remaining engraving. At one point, the grooves were filled with white pain to make them more visible, but thankfully most of the paint has now gone.

Nevertheless, it's still an interesting engraving, and because it's so accessible, definitely worth a visit.

Why is the man inside the whale? Stanbury & Clegg suggest he may be lying in the whale to cure an illness, which apparently was an Aboriginal custom in these parts.

But is it a man? Why doesn't he have a head? Not erosion, as the arms are still well-formed. And one arm is strangely reminiscent of the club-foot of Daramulan. So is the "man" actually some sort of creator-hero?

Stanbury and Cleeg list some other engravings still visible around the site. I was unable to find them, although a visit at dawn or sunset might show more.

To get there

Drive down Bay Road from the Pacific Highway, and then follow Balls Head Road. When you see the two yellow warning signs at the start of Balls Head reserve, turn sharp right next to the coal loader building, and the engraving is in the white fenced enclosure on your right.


For more information

  • Stanbury & Clegg (1990), p. 78
  • Hinkson (2001), "Aboriginal Sydney", pp. 34-35

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. Note that only the whale, and the man inside, are now visible.

© Stanbury & Clegg 1990.

View of the site, showing the yellow signposts of the road intersection ahead.


The whale


The man in the whale



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