Aboriginal Ceremonial Places
These places may or may not have any observable characteristics. Some places may be marked with a rocky outcrop, a tree, river/creek bed, mountain/hill, art or engraved site, bora ring or some aspect that can be readily seen by those looking for them. These places can be related to non-Aboriginal icons including churches, mosques, temples, cemeteries/burial places, etc.
Other places may not be noticeable on the landscape. These could include special places for men/women including birthing sites, initiation places, story telling and mythological and dreamtime places. It is unlikely that the local community will tell “outsiders” where these places are located, as they hold deep spiritual significance.
Some places are designated as specific Men’s or Women’s places. If you know that these are gender-specific, try to stick to these by only men visiting a man’s site or women to a woman’s site. Boys should not go to these men’s places. Observe the protocols – they are in place for a reason.
Generally, each area has an art site that can be visited by members of the public. In the Uralla area, the Mt Yarrowyck art site can be viewed after a short walk (about 2 kilometres) and contains animal tracks, circles, dots and lines. There are picnic tables and toilets in the parking area for use by visitors.
What not to do at art sites
- Do not cross over the low barricade to touch the artwork. Your hands and fingers contain oils that will damage the fragile nature of the ochre and will remove small traces of the design from the painted surface.
- Take any rubbish you may have away from the site. Do not leave fruit skins or peelings (this encourages native and feral animals to live around the artwork and if they rub against the designs, the ochre will be damaged). Do not leave paper, wrappers, plastic or other refuse at the site, as this may blow against the artwork and damage the surface.
- Sign the visitors’ book, do not sign your name on the rock face. Marker pens contain substances that can run down the walls and deface the art.
What you can do at art sites
- Take photographs
- Read brochures about the site available from the Uralla Visitor Information Centre or talk to local Aboriginal people.
- Enjoy the place, try to imagine how and why the art was designed and painted onto the surface.
- Beware of snakes – they too like these places!
Information courtesy of Sue Hudson, Archaeologist