Unfortunately, the Aboriginal rock art behind my house are disappearing over time. Today I am visiting Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, an area rich in Aboriginal carvings and art, as a guest of Sydney Outback.
West Head Lookout
The beautiful banksia is in flower. Paul, our guide, explains how Indigenous people used the flower spikes soaked in water to make a sweet drink. They rubbed animal fat on the cone as a light source. West Head Lookout offers spectacular views for miles past Lion Island down the Hawkesbury River and up the coastline. The environment is harsh to the unknowing. Of course, the Indigenous people knew how to use the bush for their survival. How to get nourishment and water from leaves, how to make flour and use plants medicinally.
Sacred Aboriginal Site
A young swamp Wallaby bounds across the road, his rich brown fur glistening in the sun. We stop and watch him for a while before driving to a little known and un-signposted sacred Aboriginal site. The well-worn path carves its way through shoulder height bush which opens out to reveal a tessellated rock platform, with 20 well preserved, deeply symbolic engravings carved thousands of years ago.
Paul spends time explaining the carvings to us, and then we set out for lunch and an afternoon cruise on the Hawkesbury River. Two sea eagles perch on a branch near their large messy nest oblivious of the binoculars trained on them. A perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Our captain guides the boat up to a rock face with three fish painted with charcoal and animal fat. They signify a fish breeding ground. Further we see more artwork which is only accessible from the water. As we return to the marina, Paul gives an explanation of the uses of spears, boomerangs and message sticks. We sample of bush tucker.
And then it’s home time after visiting a hidden part of Sydney. As I journey home by train I reflect with renewed appreciation about the Australian Bush and the people who walked this land long before any white man.
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This is an edited version of a piece I wrote for another site which you can read here.