Have you ever taken the Flat Rock Gully Walking Track in Willoughby? A special part of this trail is called the Gulawa Injun Bulgan, which includes the retracing of the lives of an aboriginal group that lived in the lower North Shore area before the arrival of the Europeans.

The Camaraigal clan, also known as the Cammeraygal people, thrived in the Willoughby region because it had the best fishing grounds. Thousands of years ago, the elder men of this tribe would wake up every day to go down the Flat Rock Gully and hunt for food for their family using a stone hatchet.

“Galuwa Inyun Bulga” actually means “climb downhill” in the aboriginal language. The children of the tribe, however, also go down the hill to play and swim in the shallow waters of the Flat Rock Gully. Their mothers, on the other, also go down this path to collect cockle shells to be used to cook and store food.

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Today, there’s plenty of evidence of this kind of life at the Flat Rock Gully, such as the presence of cockle shells and the groove on the stones that depicted how the aboriginal elders sharpened their tools for hunting.  

There are also rock engravings and some ancient artwork within the caves of this reserve if you know where to look. Apparently, the aboriginal people created these works of art using ochre mixed with water and spit.

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According to Flat Rock Gully Reserve Action Plan this aboriginal evidence dates back to 5,850 years. The last known encampment was believed to have been in existence near the Long Gully Bridge in the 1880s.

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