Aboriginal History of the Wollombi Valley
The name “Wollombi” is derived from the Aboriginal meaning “meeting place” or “meeting place of the waters”, and prior to European settlement Wollombi held great significance for local Aboriginal tribes who used the area as a ceremonial meeting place. In particular, Mt Yengo was a major focus of Aboriginal culture, being directly connected to the Dreamtime story of the creation of the earth.
Today rock carvings and cave paintings found in the area stand as a visual reminder of the spiritual ties Aborigines held with the region. The Hunter Valley is home to over 300 Aboriginal sites dating back over 13,000 years, and well-preserved Aboriginal engravings can be viewed in a number of locations in Yengo National Park and the Watagans.
The original line of the Great North Road was probably one of a web of Aboriginal tracks in this area. Edwards (1996:89) states that the Old Great North Road deviates around certain sacred Aboriginal sites, suggesting that the local Darkinjung people purposefully diverted the European trail-blazers to avoid these sites.
The Ngurra Bu Aboriginal Corporation offers a range of on and off-site cultural experiences and activities. These activities include guided visits to ancient cave paintings and rock carvings, traditional dancing, bush tucker teachings and bush walks, camp fire and dreamtime stories told by elders and traditional corroborees.
Aboriginal sites to visit in the area include:
A short walking trail (400m) takes you up to Devils Rock, or Burragurra. This site has many rock engravings of considerable Aboriginal cultural importance. According to Aboriginal legend, the god Biamie stepped from here to Mt Yengo, and then up into the sky after finishing his creative tasks.
Directions: Turn onto Yango Creek Rd near Laguna and bear left after 3km onto Boree Road (becomes Boree Track). Continue 7.5km to the clearing at Devils Rock. 4WD recommended.
Finchley Aboriginal Area, which is about 800m past Finchley Trig, is one of the largest and most easily accessible Aboriginal engraving sites. Well signposted it provides good example of Aboriginal rock art from this region. Enjoy this large rock art site but to protect it please do not walk on the engravings
Directions: Turn off Great North Road near Laguna into Yengo Creek Rd and then into Upper Yengo Creek Rd. Follow National Park signs to Finchley Trig, 15km.