Tuesday, 2 April 2013



It is no accident that our small township of Warrimoo is divided in two: a “North Side” and a “South Side”. Both the Great Western Highway and the Railway line adjoin here on a narrow ridge. On one side, water run-offs descend in small southerly running rivulets behind our streets to join Florabella Creek, which in turn flows into Glenbrook Creek, and thence, to the East, into the Nepean River.

On the Northern slope a variety of channels likewise flow into Fitzgeralds Creek, which comes from Sun Valley, and Cripple Creek, whose source begins near the Attunga Road Tip. Both merge before flowing eastwards into the Nepean River. There are a number of trails to access these waterways, the most notable being the track behind Warrimoo Oval.

The bushland and rock formations around these features, still remaining as they were for thousands of years, supply us with abundant evidence of Indigenous life in the area long before Europeans discovered it. If one looks carefully enough, there are rock engravings, axe-grinding grooves, camp-fire remains, and in sheltered sites, ochre paintings, created by clans of the Darug people who occupied this place for millenia.

'Red Hands Cave' at Glenbrook--such sites do exist in Warrimoo, but they must be found in sheltered sites, and they need protection against vandalism. Many have already been ruined
An archaeological site established at the junction of Fitzgeralds Creek and the Nepean River, and supervised by Father Eugene Stockton throughout the 1980's, has confirmed Indigenous occupation of this vicinity for at least 40,000 years. This occupation has been continuous. Not many regions in Australia can claim such clear and unequivocal evidence of their local people's presence.

Darug groups moved unhindered along well-worn paths beside the waterways and hunted, fished, gathered and camped at designated places throughout the well-stocked bush. It is unlikely that any patch of earth was not trod by Aboriginal feet at some time in the previous thousands of years. Fire was used extensively, and most likely transported from site to site. White explorers always noted the widespread plumes of smoke as they ventured into the ‘Mountains.

Prior to European settlement, it appears that there was no shortage of cleared spaces at various spots throughout the bushland, rather like Sun Valley and Euroka today. These were most probably cleared by ‘firestick farming’ techniques where, if conditions were right, bush and scrub were set alight and burned to encourage new shoots of young green grass, and thus grazing by mobs of wallaby and ‘roo.

The Freycinet (French) expedition's view of two Darug ('Springwood') men, Hara-o and Karaora-drawn by the artist Pellion in 1819
Cultural activities and ritual were an integral part of life, as they were in all parts of Australia. Stockton's analysis of the density and range of occupation sites in Sun Valley point to the possibility of this well-watered place once being a major Corroboree site, where large numbers of Darug, and feasibly other language groups as well, gathered to celebrate important ceremonies, feast, and exchange goods.

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