Bulgandry Aboriginal Art Site 

Aboriginal rock engraving of a fishFish

Bulgandry Aboriginal art site is a worthwhile visit in Brisbane Water National Park.

It’s one of the most interesting Aboriginal engraving sites to visit. Interesting for anyone.

Park your car. Walk along the relaxing footpath in the bush. And look at some of the clearest and sharpest Aboriginal engravings on the Central Coast.  

There are at least ten etchings of life-size kangaroos, fishes, a man with a headdress, a woman, an octopus, and more.  

Walking to Bulgandry Aboriginal Art Site

It takes at most 10 min to get to the Bulgandry Aboriginal engraving site over a nice footpath.

Take it slowly. Enjoy the peace and quiet… the footpath passes wildflowers in early spring, scribbly gums, and beautiful valley views.

Learn about the Aboriginals and the engravings by reading the signboards along the track.

One of the signs explains that the Bulgandry man represents an ancestral hero. He's the man with the headdress etched on the rock.

The actual meaning of the Aboriginal word “Bulgandry” is boomerang in hand. In fact, the Bulgandry man holds an object that looks like a small boomerang in one hand. It’s the most fascinating etching in my opinion.

The walking track is in great condition. It’s suitable for prams and wheelchairs (could be a little bumpy).

This Aboriginal art site is a perfect outing for toddlers and preschoolers (schools often organise excursions here) because the walk is short and the engravings are very clear. It’s a great and safe way for kids to learn about aboriginal art.

Valley view on the Bulgandry Aboriginal art site walk
Bulgandry Aboriginal art site footpath

Bulgandry Aboriginal Engravings

The ten or so engravings are dispersed on a large, flat sandstone rock at the end of the walking track. You can’t miss it...

Boardwalk surrounding the Aboriginal engraving rock.

A wooden pathway encircles the rock. You can see the engravings very well from the pathway. No need to walk on the rock.

The engravings depict animals and people.

The first engraving represents a fish…

Aboriginal engraving of a fish.

Then another fish…

Aboriginal engraving of a fish

A small person behind a life-sized kangaroo. The person is either carrying or chasing it.

Aboriginal engraving of a person

A fish being speared…

Aboriginal engraving of a fish being speared.

A life-sized kangaroo and possibly an octopus on its tail…

Aboriginal engraving of a kangaroo with an octopus on its tail.

The Bulgandry man with the headdress: The man holds objects in his hands – one may be a boomerang.  Across his waist is a club...

The Bulgandry man

You can also see an eel, a life-sized dolphin, possibly a canoe, and axe grinding grooves.

The axe grinding grooves are the cavities you can see in the rock. That’s where the Aboriginals sharpened the stone tools. They would rub the stone axe on the surface of the rock.

Signs next to the figures describe what they depict… it’s interesting to read what they represent. Some are easy enough to guess but others less so.

For obvious reasons there are things you should and shouldn't do to help preserve the site: Stay on the boardwalk. Do not try to re-groove or draw over the images with chalk or anything like that. Do not put water or sand on the etchings. It’s all common sense really…

Hawkesbury sandstone is soft and easy to erode, and no descendants of Aboriginal artists are able to re-engrave the figures today, hence the importance of keeping away from the engravings.

About the Guringai People and Sydney Rock Engravings

The Sydney Basin contains one of the highest concentration of Aboriginal sites.

The Aboriginals who made the engravings at this site belonged to the Guringai People. They lived between Sydney Harbour and Lake Macquarie for at least 60,000 years.

The engravings can’t be dated exactly (rock art is difficult to date). But it’s believed they were etched at least 200 years ago and some more than 2000 years ago. It’s amazing the figures are still so sharp.

Sydney Rock Engravings generally show a simple contour of a figure, mostly of people, animals and ideograms. The figures are often life-size and some measure up to 20 m long. You’ll see a couple of life-size figures at the site.

To make the engravings, the Aboriginal would first draw the outline on the rock surface with charcoal or stone. Then they would peck a series of holes along the contour with a hard pointed rock. Finally they would join the holes by rubbing away the rock.

We don’t really know what the etchings mean. They were perhaps created (and routinely re-grooved) as part of sacred ceremonies and rituals.

Getting There

Bulgandry Aboriginal art site is located an hour north of Sydney.

  • From Sydney, drive up the Pacific Motorway M1 (F3)
  • Take the Gosford & Woy Woy exit.
  • Continue on Central Coast Hwy for 1.6 km.
  • Turn right onto Woy Woy Rd (you’ll see Bella Vista Motel at the turnoff).
  • Continue along Woy Woy Rd inside Brisbane Water National Park for about 3 km.
  • You’ll see (hopefully) a poorly visible signpost on the right side of the road. That's what it looks like...

Drive to the carpark and follow the walking path. Parking is free

Suggested Activities Close By...

  • Have a picnic at Staples Lookout – located about 2 km away on Woy Woy Rd.
  • Mountain bike or walk to Mount Wondabyne, the highest peak in Brisbane Water National Park, and climb to the summit. Follow Tommos Loop, Tunnel Trail and Rocky Ponds Trail from Staples Lookout – about 10 km return.
  • Walk to Kariong Brook Falls from Staples Lookout. Follow Tommos Loop Firetrail and Hawkesbury Track – 5.8 km return, 2hrs 30 min. 
  • Have a coffee and food at Waterfall Cafe. It’s very relaxing there. Walk around Mt Penang Gardens. Located only 6 min away – 49 Parklands Rd, Somersby.

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