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Uncle Max and the Whale Dreaming

Today we visited the aboriginal rock carvings near The Basin at Pittwater in Sydney. I’d been wanting to visit these carvings pretty much from the time I first heard about them which was maybe thirty years ago but for some reason or other I’d never managed to get there. Well, today we had the opportunity to go with Uncle Max and we rushed out the door.

This is Uncle Max.

Uncle Max has been spending time with the senior girls from my daughters’ school. Teaching them about his culture and respect for the land. It’s had a big effect on the girls. He told us today that you  have to give it away if you want to keep it. So, he shared some of his knowledge with us.


This  tree is female.

Her skin is soft and smooth.

This is a fella…

We visited two sites of rock carvings and Uncle Max told us about the Whale Dreaming that he had been told as a child by his Dad and the other elders. I’m sorry this photo isn’t so good. I have to learn to use my camera.

We couldn’t work out what this one was …

Uncle Max told us it was a goanna, which is kinda obvious once you know.

Here is the real thing …


We weren’t lucky enough to see one in the wild today.  All I saw was Magpies,  bush turkeys and huge bull ants but we didn’t venture off the track too far so I’m sure there were more wild things out there.

We couldn’t work out why these little pools had been carved into the rock.

Uncle Max explained that they could scoop the water out of these pools and throw it onto the rock.  The water would dry off the smooth surface but stay in the grooves of the carvings as an outline. This way the artists could see how their picture was looking.

I love the colours in this rock.

This is a Willy Wag Tail


We didn’t see one of these today but Uncle Max said that these birds stopped him from becoming one of the Stolen Generation. He grew up on the South Coast of Sydney with all his family, all the older people and lots and lots of kids.  If ever people were coming their way the Willy Wag Tails would become very agitated; chirping loudly and doing excited dances. Whenever this happened they knew that someone was coming towards them and the kids were told to run off and hide in the bush. It worked because those kids weren’t taken away like so many others were. So, this little bird kept his family together. I’ve always loved Willy Wag Tails but now I’ve got even more reason to.

Thank you Uncle Max for teaching us today and thank you for letting me post these photos.

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