Grotto Point Engraving
A beautiful and well-protected site on a headland overlooking Sydney Harbour and the Heads

Facts & Figures

Latitude 33.81352° S

Longitude 151.26272° E

UBD 217J2

Google map


This large and beautiful site is perched on a headland with stunning views to the Heads and into the harbour. All the major engravings are protected by wooden sleepers, which is an excellent way of protecting them, but it does stop you from seeing them in the context of the surrounding rock face, and also makes photography difficult. But look carefully, and you will see a number of other engravings under your feet which are not protected in this way.

There are several interpretational signs, and a detailed description of the engravings is given by Attenbrow (2002). This is one of the very few well-known sites which are absent from Stanbury & Clegg.

I apologise that the photos shown here are below the quality that I would normally expect to put on the web, especially for such a beautiful site as this. This is because the sleepers prevent photography with illumination from the side. A bit more ingenuity is needed here - watch this space for an update!

To get there

Drive to the end of Cutler Road, Clontarf, and park there. Take the walking trail down the steps, and follow the trail to the right signposted to Castle Cove beach. After descending a series of stone steps, about 100m from the car park you will see a wooden sleeper projecting into the path on the left. Follow it to the engraving site.


For more information

  • Hinkson (2001) "Aboriginal Sydney" pp. 45-46
  • Attenbrow (2002) "Sydney's Aboriginal Past", pp. 181-182.

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 Campbell (1890).

The view from the nearby lookout over the harbour and the Heads. A great place for a spot of lunch before you enjoy the engravings.


One of the fish engravings which is not protected by sleepers.


Another unprotected fish engraving


A dramatic engraving, possibly of a shark, protected by sleepers.


A bird. It has the shape of an emu, but is only 60 cm long, so maybe some other type of bird. It was not recorded by Campbell, and is an unusual style, triggering the suspicion that it may be a later mischievous addition.


Composite image of the kangaroos, made by superimposing several images Another unprotected engraving.



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