Rock carvings, Ku-ring-gai Chase NP

Scott-Free’s blog
Steve & Chris
Sat 16 Apr 2016 21:35

Saturday 16th April 2016


We have been back at the boat for two weeks, and are still in Pittwater.  All was well with the boat, and for the first week we took it easy, doing a couple of jobs a day as we got used to life afloat again.  We found a picture framer in Mona Vale, and popped down there on the bus with our print.  A few days later he called to say it was ready, and our Superb Fairy Wren is now looking splendid on the wall in the saloon.


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Scott-Free was waiting patiently on her buoy for us to return.  All was well with only a tiny bit of bird poo on deck!



Our Superb Fairy Wren now at home in the saloon.


When we began to feel that it was time to think about moving the boat north, we started looking at the weather and Steve did his usual checks on the engine.  All looked fine apart from a small puddle of coolant-coloured water underneath.  We have noticed this on a few occasions in the past but have not been able to trace the source. Steve changed the impellor in the raw water pump, and then fired the engine up and, yes, she started first time.  Wonderful! 


Unfortunately, as the engine warmed up, the little puddle of water underneath began to get bigger.  Steve was able to track the source to the elbow that connects the thermostat housing to the heat exchanger.  It seems to be a seal that’s shot, but the position of the leak means that important bits of the engine need to be removed in order to get at it and change it.  Not a job that Steve was willing to tackle, so we asked around for recommendations for a Volvo mechanic.


The first guys couldn’t even look at it till the middle of next week, and the second guys hoped to get to it by the end of this week.  They came and looked at it yesterday, and we are now on their joblist for Monday, so at least we know something will happen soon.  Just as well because our feet are itching...


Meanwhile, we have been wanting to see the Aboriginal rock carvings in the nearby Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park since we arrived here in January, and had thought we might anchor in a nearby bay and visit from there on our way out of Pittwater.  But as we are staying here longer than expected, we decided to do it now instead.  From here we need to catch the bus to Palm Beach and then the ferry across Pittwater to the opposite shore at The Basin, from where we can walk the Basin Track to the rock carvings.


Having checked the weather forecast and the bus and ferry timetables, we set off ashore in the dinghy at nine this morning and got off the ferry at The Basin wharf an hour and a half later. 


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This chap seems to have lost his roll of lino...                                                       We walk through this little park by the marina to the bus stop.


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The ferry boat ‘Myrna’ was at the wharf when we arrived. Half-price for seniors, so $7 return for us both.


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Heading across the flat waters of Pittwater to Coasters Retreat Bay.       First stop on the south side of the bay – Bennetts.


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This amused me – a brick-patterned dinghy.                                                       Second stop near the head of the bay – Bonnie Doon wharf.



The sheltered pool at the head of the bay – The Basin


We disembarked and at the wharf shelter paid the Ranger our $3 each National Park fees, then headed for the information board to work out which direction we needed to go.  A quick stop at the loo and we were off – up a VERY steep track!  If this was a ‘moderate’ track, I’d hate to be walking up a ‘steep’ one!  The sign at the bottom of the track said 2.3 km to the rock engravings, and it was nearly all up.  We took it at a sedate pace as befits a couple of sexagenarians, and stopped to look at the views at regular intervals. 


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The information board showed all the park tracks.           The Aboriginal rock carvings are at number 12. 


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Trees appear to grow straight out of rock.                                           Was there water here in the past to cause this erosion?


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Fire-damaged plants showing re-growth.


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The bark of this tree has somehow been cut, and dark resin has bled from it.  No wonder they burn so readily.


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This rock looked like a huge yawning mouth.                                                      0.7 km done (felt like more), 1.6 km left to go, hopefully not so steep!


The track levelled off  as we neared the site of the rock carvings.  There was good signage and explanation that the site is significant to the local Aboriginal people and should be treated with respect.  The engravings were fenced off and at first difficult to make out.  I took a few photos, but really needed to capture them from above.  Perhaps a viewing platform would help.


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The diagrams helped us find the engravings which were difficult to pick out at first.  This one is a fish.


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Two people side by side.                                                                                               Again, from a different angle.


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The engravings were made using a pointed rock.  Steve demonstrates how they may have used someone to make a shadow to cut around.


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These were too far away to see clearly, but the lower figure’s head and arms are visible.


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The group of three figures is visible in the photo to the right, the lower figure much fainter than the higher ones.


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The bottom most figure from the group depicted above.


It is not known how old the engravings are, but it is estimated that they would last for about a thousand years, so must be less than this.  Every so often the lichen is removed from around them to make them more visible, but eventually the elements will take their toll and they will disappear.  One wonders whether they would endure longer inside a protective enclosure, but perhaps tradition dictates that they must be left as they are.  It would be a pity, though, to lose such evidence of the indigenous people who once lived on this land.


Having made out as many of the engravings as we could, and with the mid-day sun now beating down on us, we started back along the track.  The trees looked almost autumnal in the sunlight, but the colour change is a result of bush fire, not a seasonal one.   Many of the trees will not re-grow in the spring.  We were fascinated with the apparently selective nature of fire, even within a single tree, where burnt branches stand next to untouched ones.


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Untouched branches next to burnt ones. Almost autumnal.                        Evidence of fire damage over a large area.


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A Banksia with orange flowers?                                                                What is this pretty little red flower?



A scribbly gum tree – the scribbles are made by moth larvae.


We arrived back at the wharf ten minutes after the ferry had docked, and fifty minutes until it would be back, so we went for a stroll under the trees along the water’s edge and sat on the grass watching the families enjoying the beautiful weather.  Well, I watched, Steve dropped off to sleep.


Back at the wharf, the ferry arrived on time, and we enjoyed the rest of its circular route back to Palm Beach, where we tucked into a late lunch of fish and chips.


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Back at the wharf for the return ferry trip.           



We wondered how you access these houses in Mackarel Bay.                    


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Almost back at Palm Beach – Barrenjoey Head & lighthouse