Australian Museum Journal Cave art of the Conjola District New South Wales

McCarthy, 1959, Rec. Aust. Mus. 24(13): 191–202
Frederick D. McCarthy
Year published:
Cave art of the Conjola District New South Wales
Serial title:
Records of the Australian Museum
Start page:
End page:
plate 22
Date published:
09 March 1959
Cover date:
09 March 1959
The Australian Museum
Place published:
Sydney, Australia
27 March 2009
Available online:
23 July 2009
Reference number:
EndNote package:
EndNote file
Title page:
Title page (141kb PDF)
Complete work:
Complete work (1723kb PDF)


Three of the five sets of aboriginal drawings described in this paper were discovered in the early 1880's by Messrs. A. Cork and F. White, local residents, but the latter, and Mr. A. Milne, failed to find them just before 1900 in the heavily forested sandstone ranges in which they are situated. They were, however, re-located a few years later by Captain J. Cork, Inspector A. Milne, and Mr. J. Higgins, and this enabled Robert Etheridge, jun., then Director of the Australian Museum, to visit the site and publish (1904) a brief but somewhat inaccurate description of the drawings. His description, however, indicated that the drawings were of unusual importance among eastern New South Wales pictographs, and several years ago inquiries about their situation were again instituted. Etheridge did not include a map and his written directions were too vague to be a guide. Mr. H. C. Claydon had visited these shelters in 1938 and had sent to the Museum a series of six tracings of various figures. He was able to find the shelters again early in 1957, but two local residents-interested in tbe matter by Mr. D. Hasell—Messrs. G. Turnbull and C. Woods, in searching for them found two additional sets of drawings several miles away on Bunnair Creek. I am grateful to these four men for their interest and help in this task, and particularly to Mr. Turnbull, who acted as guide and assisted me with excavation work during a week spent in the area in November, 1957. I was accompanied by Mr. John Beeman, artist at the Australian Museum, who made the actual recordings, but much consultation was necessary between us to elucidate many of the figures owing to their age and the weathering of the rock surfaces.

A special frame has been devised by Mr. Beeman for recording cave drawings. It consists of a 6-in. string grid attached to a flexible 3-ply frame. Adjustable legs are attached at each end and two other supports are used when necessary. This grid can be pressed into the curve of a ceiling or wall, and moved along a datum line to cover the whole area of drawings.

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