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Terramungamine Reserve

Home > Dubbo > Outdoor | National Parks | Camping
by Anne Dignam (subscribe)
I am a amateur freelance writer from Sydney. My passion is Aboriginal history, Australia and its unusual places. My aim is to share my knowledge to better your experience. Thank you
Published December 21st 2013
Aboriginal groovings, burial sites and Cobb and Co days
Here we learn about numerous tribes, hence I will use all terms; carvings, rubbing grooves or groove grinding, spear making, sharpening and finishing, axe, and even seed grinding. With the Macquarie River so accessible, the aboriginals used to transport water up to the groove site in coolamons, a bark tray. There are over 150 groove carvings in this area.

Terramungamine Reserve Grinding Grooves


What makes this area different is the fact you can actually camp alongside the Macquarie River and within 2 minutes you are at the Aboriginal gathering site. A steel grate look-down point, allows you to see the carvings. These rubbing grooves date back before 1901, in Cobb and Co days, when the reserve was used as a overnight stay to feed, water and rest stock, with a separate area for the public - now the current one night camping only area.

Camp alongside the Macquarie River


The carvings are still very prominent in the rich history of this area for the Aborigines and in my opinion, they are in the best condition considering Australia's harsh landscape.

Over 100 meters of scatter rubbing grooves can be found


In May of 1995, the Tubbagah People lodged a native claim over the reserve area. A large traditional burial ground near here was the grave of a woman, next to her were artefacts, some stone tools, kangaroo incisor teeth and a long edge human shinbone knife like tool.

I looked but unfortunately I was unable to find it; I would love to know where it is. As a rule, one should only stay on a marked track, and don't touch artwork or groovings in these areas due to respect of the custodian owners of the land.

Harshness of Australia's land


The Wiradjurri Tribe and the Kamilaroi people (who haven't used this area for over 100 years), were responsible for the groove markings, stretching along the upper bank for about 100 meters.

Dubbo City Council, Terramungamine Reserve Advisory Committee and the Tubbagah Aboriginal Burial Ground Advisory Committee now are entrusted to the preservation of this amazing abundant Aboriginal rubbing grooves.

Groove grinding site with access to Macquarie River


The grinding grooves are a type of Aboriginal site formed from aboriginals sharpening their axes, spears and even grinding seeds in this area. Grooving areas were often also a meeting site for other tribes, a chance to catch up on the gossip of the land.

A site such as Terramungamine offers everything, especially being a water source, and with the Macquarie River at its doorstep, what better area than here; absolutely prime real estate.

With wind, water and soil erosion some of these sites have been damaged or lost, but the Terramungamine has survived the elements. With such well preserved groovings, I was fascinated by deepness and the precision that was obviously used in these rubbings.

Six to thirteen hours to make these grooves


Axe groovings are usually 30 to 40 cms long to 10 to 15 cms wide and 1-2cms deep. Spear sharpening groovings are also 30 to 40cms long, 1-2 cms wide and deep and have a steep rise to them on the rocks. Seed grinding grooves are normally oval in shape and up to 60 cms long and 30-40 cms wide and 4cm deep which shows this would have been a gathering site.

Each spear or axe grinding or making would have taken anything between 6 to 13 hours to make. Axe grinding dates back to 26,000 years in Australia, and these are considered to be amongst one of the oldest most preserved in NSW. We have knowledge of 3 tribes.

Such a picturesque area and you may camp for one night only at Terramungmine Reserve. Many fish, cod, red fish (as the locals know it) and trout can be caught, especially when the dam water is released. Some campers were heading out in canoes when we were there.

Macquarie River


An extremely fascinating area, full of rich Aboriginal history, and definitely worth a visit. You can stay 5 minutes or overnight.

I truly felt I was in a different world. Only 15 minutes from Dubbo.

I know next time I'm back in Dubbo, I will be camping here overnight, for further exploring.
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Why? Aboriginal grooves, burial site, cobb and co and camping
When: 7 days a week, camping one night only
Where: Terramungamine Reserve, via Brocklehurst, Dubbo
Your Comment
unbelievable spot
by zanes (score: 1|89) 1537 days ago
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