News Store
Important notice to all NewStore users. The NewsStore service is now free! Please click here for more information. Help

Newcastle Herald

The Kariong files

Author: JOANNE McCARTHY
Date: 01/03/2003
Words: 1447
          Publication: Newcastle Herald
Page: 89
NATIONAL Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Alan Henderson let out a big sigh.

``Wouldn't you rather do a story about something else? " he pleaded.

``No Alan," I said. ``We want to see the Egyptian hieroglyphs."

He sighed again, and continued sighing a few days later in a NPWS vehicle on a privately-owned track leading to a section of Brisbane Water National Park.

It is here that the rock carvings known to the service as the ``Kariong Egyptoid site" are found.

``The second there's publicity people want to see it. Some people really believe they were carved by Egyptians. It causes us problems," Alan said.

He sighed as we walked up a track.

He let out a really long sigh when we spotted two men, John and Bob, staring in silence at the pictures carved into the sandstone rock walls.

John was at the site for the ``energy". He had been involved in ``a few spiritual searches" in his time, he said.

``I believe there's a great deal of energy here. Walking down the track, I noticed the leaves as you get closer to the site are really fluorescent. Just look at it when you go."

We hadn't noticed the fluorescent leaves but we agreed to look at them on the way out.

Bob wasn't talking, despite a few gentle questions from me.

``Why won't you talk Bob?"

``Because I have a total aversion to journalists," he said.

Fair enough.

The NPWS is slightly exasperated by the rock carvings because of the number of people who call wanting to see them, the internet sites suggesting they have ancient origins and the environmental damage to the area by visitors.

The internet sites are normally linked to other sites which feature things like the Hawkesbury River monster (apparently related to the Loch Ness monster), big cats at various locations, the `Mayanup poltergeist' and a new website, `yowies ignored by science'.

There are probably 100 individual carvings at the Kariong Egyptoid site which comprises two sandstone walls about 1.5m apart and 3m high running parallel for about 15m.

The carvings are reached by climbing through an opening at one end.

There are owls, water craft, chickens, bees and other insects and an Egyptian-looking male who could be the Egyptian god of the underworld Anubis.

There is also what appeare to be a pregnant stick figure hanging clothes on a clothes line.

``That was one of Tutankhamen's favourites," our sighing ranger said helpfully.

In a facts sheet the NPWS issues to anyone who tries to argue the ancient Egyptians or Phoenicians were responsible for the carvings, it is noted that a NPWS staff member caught a person carving at the site in 1984.

``He left the area, never returning, but left behind the quarter inch Sidchrome cold chisel that was used to make the engravings," the facts sheet said.

``This chisel is now in the possession of the Brisbane Water Historical Society."

An official site artefact.

Since 1984 rangers have confiscated a stockpile of implements. The day we visited Bob found an 8kg barbell, minus the weights, tucked behind some rocks and John found a hammer.

It is at this point the stories about the Egyptoid site change from funny to the distinctly weird.

It is the stories - of people digging up ground to search for mummies' tombs and links between the Kariong site and other ``spiritual centres" around the world - that interest Gosford local studies librarian Geoff Potter.

His file includes letters sent to Gosford Council from people, mainly from Queensland, wanting to know: ``What Is Council Doing About the Ancient Site?"

The correspondents include Queenslander Raymond Johnson, who wrote to council in 1994 about a trip he made to see the carvings.

``For an ordinary person the climb was fairly easy, but to me, as I have bad lungs (emphysema), the climb was torture," Mr Johnson said.

``The others offered to carry me, but I would not allow this and made the climb on my own.

``I paid for this later with a collapsed lung, but it was worth it."

Mr Johnson, who professed to being an enthusiastic amateur, concluded that: ``The chances of the Gosford glyphs being a hoax is just about nil."

Unfortunately he is not supported by Gregory Gilbert of Macquarie University's Australian Centre for Egyptology who visited the site, did not suffer a collapsed lung, and concluded that ``the inscription is a modern forgery, and not a good one at that".

``As far as translation is concerned, the inscription has several features which were copied from several modern publications of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, however the greater part of the inscription cannot be translated as it is nothing more than a collection of hieroglyphs which do not form words or phrases," Dr Gilbert said.

But energy-searcher John was not convinced.

``Is it also possible that this is in such an ancient language that no one knows it?" he asked.

We left his question hanging in the air.

A short time later Alan Henderson pulled a global positioning system gadget from his pocket and started taking readings.

``The last reading someone took here showed it was out in the continental shelf somewhere, which proves it is a portal to another area," he said.

He rolled his eyes and sighed again. ``Don't print that. Someone will believe me."

A short time later John called out to Bob who did not answer.

``Have you guys seen Bob anywhere?" he called as he

started the climb out of the rock ``gallery" to search

the rocks beyond the carvings.

``No, he's been spirited away into the vortex," said Alan Henderson.

``And my watch has stopped."

Geoff Potter's Egyptoid file would not be complete without the writings of Rex Gilroy, the author of the ``ground breaking book (his words), Pyramids in the Pacific - the Unwritten History of Australia".

Mr Potter's file also includes the July-August edition of Hard Evidence, a magazine devoted to articles where alien abductions feature prominently.

In Hard Evidence Mr Gilroy, who once spent many months searching for a Tasmanian tiger in the Mangrove Mountain area, concluded the Brisbane Water area was ``the nerve centre of a large Egyptian colony".

``They were supported by an accompanying workforce of Phoenicians, Libyans and Celts, originally established by Egyptians in Old Kingdom times (2780-2100BC) and which probably survived until around 500BC," he said.

Mr Gilroy said he would continue to fight for the ancients despite pressure from academia and a visit to Mr Gilroy's Blue Mountains home by a university delegation.

``The delegation was particularly gravely concerned about our publication and research of the Gosford glyphs, preferring that we go quiet on the whole affair," he wrote in Hard Evidence.

``They left our home stoney-faced."

Geoff Potter would like to settle the hieroglyphs issue once and for all, by finding someone who can say definitively that they did the carvings, or has proof they were at the site when the carvings were made.

He does not believe they are ancient. He just wants to know why someone would travel to a reasonably inaccessible site on a regular basis to carve a rock.

``It's like the X Files," he said.

``The truth is out there - but where?"

Mr Potter has his own theory about the origin of the hieroglyphs, that involves a number of artists over a period of time.

``I've seen them and I think there are two sections, one considerably older than the other.

``Eighty years ago Egyptology was very big because of publicity about finding Tutankhamen's tomb.

``I think there was an alternative, bookish type interested in Egyptology who found this quiet part of Kariong and had a lovely time chipping away, doing their own gallery of hieroglyphs."

Alan Henderson does not really care about the mystery of the sandstone carvings.

He just cares about the damage being done to the site by people who keep being drawn to it.

During our visit he pointed to two small trees above one of the rock slabs which had been recently chopped off at their bases.

``We really want to minimise the notoriety of the place," he said.

He gave another long sigh as we drove away.

Walking down the track, I noticed the leaves as you get closer to the site are really fluorescent

 
Back  Back to Search Results
 

Advertise with Us | Fairfax Digital Privacy Policy | Conditions of Use | Member Agreement
© 2017 Fairfax Digital Australia & New Zealand Ltd.