TEN-MINUTE WALK – SUITABLE FOR PRAMS AND WHEELCHAIRS BUT A BIT BUMPY
Bulgandry Aboriginal art site is a beautiful site with well-preserved carvings from Guringai People.
It’s worth visiting.
Walk along the relaxing footpath in the bush and view some of the clearest and sharpest Aboriginal engravings on the Central Coast.
kangaroos, fishes and more cover the entire site.
It makes for a great outing with small children. Schools often organise excursions here. The walk to the engravings is only short and you can clearly identify the images—a fabulous way for kids to learn about Aboriginal art.
The walk to Bulgandry Aboriginal engraving site takes 10 minutes and follows a well-maintained footpath. The walking track is suitable for prams and wheelchairs (could be a little bumpy).
You’ll see wildflowers in early spring, scribbly gums and beautiful valley views.
Read the signage along the track and learn about the Aboriginal people and engravings.
One signage tells that ‘Bulgandry’ means ‘boomerang in hand’. You’ll recognise the Bulgandry man etched on the rock. He wears an impressive headdress and holds an object that looks like a small boomerang. The Bulgandry man represents an ancestral hero—a fascinating etching.
The ten or so Aboriginal engravings are dispersed on a large, flat sandstone rock at the end of the walking track. You can’t miss it. Follow the wooden pathway around the carvings. You can clearly see the etchings from the pathway.
The images depict people and animals like kangaroos and dolphins.
There's also the Bulgandry man with the headdress holding objects and possibly a boomerang in his hands and a club across his waist.
You can also see cavities in the rock which are axe grinding grooves. That's where Aboriginal people sharpened their stone tools by rubbing the stone axe on the surface of the rock.
Signs next to the figures describe what they depict. Some are easy enough to guess but others less so.
To help preserve the site:
Hawkesbury sandstone is soft and easy to erode, so it would damage the engravings plus it’s a criminal offence. No descendants of Aboriginal artists can re-engrave figures today.
The Aboriginal people who etched these images belonged to the Guringai People. They lived between Sydney Harbour and Lake Macquarie for at least 60,000 years.
The carvings can’t be dated exactly as 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 that the figures are still so well preserved today.
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 metres. You’ll see a couple of life-size figures here.
To etch the figures, Aboriginal people 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.
If you have limited time and would like to visit this art site, Sydney Top Tours organise half-day tours from Sydney.
You’ll first visit Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park to see Australian wildlife roaming free. Following the Walkabout park, you’ll visit the Bulgandry site. And for lunch, you’ll either get oysters from Hawkesbury River or a seafood lunch with water views. Then you’ll get back to Sydney in the early afternoon.
This tour is great. You can experience both indigenous rock art and Australian wildlife in natural settings in only half a day.
Disclaimer: I am not an affiliate of Sydney Top Tour and have not been compensated for including this information.
Bulgandry Aboriginal art site is located an hour north of Sydney.
Drive to the carpark and follow the walking path. Parking is free