While generally not associated with Aboriginal artefacts and art a small amount does exist in the Canberra area.

Europeans first arrived in the Canberra region in 1821 with the first European settlement occurring shortly after this. Aboriginal (the Ngunawal peoples) occupation of the “Limestone Plains”, “Isabella’s Plains” and “Ginninderra Plains” and other areas within the region predates this date by around 20,000 years.

One piece of evidence of Aboriginal occupation is the “grinding grooves” located on Tuggeranong Hill in Theodore. While there has never been a comprehensive survey of Aboriginal sites in the ACT there are around 3,,000 known sites.

The grinding grooves are indents in rock caused by many years of grinding seeds into flour (an early example of mortar and pestle) and stones into tools and weapons. Water to assist in the axe grinding process was readily available in the nearby Tuggeranong Creek.

It is thought that the differing sizes and shapes of the grooves suggests that different sized grooves were used to create different shaped tools with the larger rounder bowl like grooves being used for grinding seeds.

Getting there

To see these grooves go to Christmas Street, Theodore. Look for the Tuggeranong Hill Nature Park sign and follow the fence until you find a break therein with two steel poles and walk towards the two older eucalypt trees that can be seen further up the slope. The grinding grooves are located on an area of exposed flat rock, up-slope from the two eucalypt trees. They are not signposted or marked in anyway.

See the grinding grooves if you are in the area (e.g. enroute to Namadji National Park – see next paragraph or Lanyon Homestead). Not worth a special visit unless you have a particular interest in Aboriginal artifacts.

Entry Fee: Free

Another Aboriginal site (much more) worth visiting is Yankee Hat paintings in Namadgi National Park – about 90 minutes drive from Canberra (or less than 60minuites from here) and a 6km easy return walk.

For other CANBERRA reviews click HERE.

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