Gumbooya Engraving Site
A suburban engraving site with views over the harbour, featuring an enormous whale and many smaller engravings.

Facts & Figures

Latitude 33.7748° S

Longitude 151.2607° E

UBD ref 177H14


Set in a pleasant Sydney suburb overlooking the harbour, this extensive site retains some fascinating engravings which well repay a visit, although some have been damaged by humans or natural erosion, and some which were noted by McCarthy and Campbell are now covered by shrubs. Some engravings are in pools which frequently contain water, but are made visible by the sediment.

Unusually, the site is not level, but some whale-shaped humps in the rock have been put to full advantage by the engravers. One of the whales has teeth, suggesting a sperm whale, and many other marine animals can be identified including a dolphin and a hammerhead shark. Other engravings include humans, a wallaby, and shields.

Stanbury & Clegg show three shapes resembling circles with a segment missing, although only one of these is clearly visible now. It's not clear what these represent - see below.


To get there

Head North up Allambie Road from Mona Vale, turn right into Corkery Crescent, right again into Gumbooya Place, and park at the end next to Gumbooya Reserve. The engravings are right in front of you.


For more information

  • Stanbury & Clegg (1990), p. 28
  • Popp & Walker, 1997, "Footprints on Rock", pp. 32-33.

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

Map showing the location of the engraving site.

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

© Stanbury & Clegg 1990.

A shield made visible by the sediment in a rock pool

A whale

A curious shape resembling a circle with a segment missing. When I saw it, I had no idea what it represented, but it's suggested in "Footprints on Rock" that these shapes (also found at Bantry Bay) may represent fish livers, or perhaps the dissected tails of whales.


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