NATIONAL Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Alan Henderson let out a big
``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
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.
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
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
``That was one of Tutankhamen's favourites," our sighing ranger said
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
``This chisel is now in the possession of the Brisbane Water Historical
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
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
``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
``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
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