Further Research

A look at the background history of the area , land use and further research undertaken by the author

Nearby Aboriginal carving of Bulgandry Man

Early History of the area
The first inhabitants of the area were the local Guringai tribe of Aborigines , who had lived in this part of the coast for well over 11,000 years.
The sandstone caves and outcrops around the area are littered with hundreds of examples of rock art , paintings and stone arrangements. The local Aborigines recorded many things from their daily lives on the rocks around Kariong , the type of food they were hunting , weapons and strange totem figures , in Northern Australia the Aborigines along Torres Strait recorded things like modern ships and even aircraft right up until WW2.
The carvings around Kariong do not suggest anything other than Aboriginals living normally in the area , local elders long gone have no knowledge of Egyptians or any other race visiting the coast pre Cook.
The Woy Woy peninsula area was one of the first areas settled after the initial colony in Sydney Cove , in 1823 the first land grant was occupied at Blackwall and a small ship building industry began.
With abundant timber suitable for ships , timber getters scoured the hills around Woy Woy in search of trees , early settlers also scoured the hills looking for mineral deposits such as coal and gold
In 1895 W.D Campbell recorded Aboriginal sites in the Kariong area including ones close to the glyphs site , similar surveys were later carried out by F.D McCarthy and I.M Sim. 
I decided to look at the early land use and looked in the National Archives for old parish maps  , these are the first accurate land use maps of the area.

Parish map showing land portions along Bambara road

E.F Gilford
The blocks along Bambara Road were surveyed and sub divided around the early 1900's , the block nearest to the glyphs site was owned by an E.F Gilford
Gilford lived here from the late 1920's up until the early 70's and had cleared a large portion of his block for farming , during his forays into the local bushland he noticed the many fascinating Aboriginal carvings in the area , he often took his guests on tours on nearby sites and even carved stairs in the rock in places.
In 1931 he wrote an article for the Sydney newspaper about the Aboriginal rock carvings in the bush around his home , he also expressed concern at the destruction of some of these carvings at a new housing development at nearby Kariong.
The Follan and Cameron families also had farms along Bambara Road and their children along with many Kariong kids played happily in the bush around Lyre Trig for over 50 years.
The Lyre Trig point is located within 50 metres of the glyphs site and is a historic survey point in use for over 100 years.
In the 60's and 70's large water tanks were built to supply nearby suburbs Koolewong And Kariong , water easements were built nearby for pipelines , the area was also regularly accessed by Electrical companies , NPWS , Bushfire brigades and a myriad of survey teams , researchers etc
It would be safe to say that with all this activity in this area over a very long period of time by so many people who did not report finding the glyphs , that the glyphs did not exist pre 1975.

News article written by E F Gilford in 1931

Local Knowledge
The theory that schoolboys or a student from Gosford High did the carvings in the mid 60's is a popular one that may have some grounding according to my research.
The Gosford Historical Society believes the son of a prominent reptile fancier and entrepreneur was responsible and that news of this deed was hushed up to protect his fathers reputation , I was quite happy to lump this one with the rest of the theories but during an online conversation someone mentioned the same person.
It has also been mentioned that the NPWS knew about the glyphs pre 1983 , but this was a closely guarded secret.
The glyphs on the western wall of the cleft seem to be older and more aged then the eastern wall , photos taken in 1984 only show the east wall freshly carved , it is quite feasible that some of the glyphs could have been carved at an earlier date , although why they were not discovered raises some red flags.
The second set of  glyphs nearby seem to done by a different hand and are cruder , maybe this was the first work done at the site before the main cleft was found and a new project was born.

Glyphs located a short distance from the main cleft

Alan Dash
The first reliable record of someone finding the glyphs comes from an ex Gosford Council surveyor named Alan Dash , after reading about his discovery and finding he still lived locally I decided to ring him myself in October 2010.
Alan recalls finding the site " around 1975 " after he noticed a man emerge from a hole in the cliff and walk over to the old abandoned Gilford farm house , Alan was in the area measuring for a water easement. He went into the hole in the cliff edge and emerged into the cleft and saw many freshly cut Egyptian like symbols along one wall.
Six months later he was in the same area and decided to have another look and found both walls were now covered with carvings , later on another visit he found the second small set of carvings nearby (pictured)
Alan puts the timeline at sometime between 1975 and 1980 as the period of his observations.

Comparison of the ear details 1983 left and 2007 right

The NPWS photos from 1983 
After the discovery of the site by a man looking for his lost dog in 1983 the NPWS were called in to examine the carvings.These photos taken by Jack Green for the NPWS were passed on to me for my research , taken in 1983 after the first reports of the glyphs they show the eastern wall of the cleft and the freshly cut symbols.
As the wall was heavily covered in lichen and moss making it very dark in general colour the freshly cut white / pinkish lines of the carvings are quite noticeable in the photos.
While comparing photos from different time periods I noticed this discrepancy in the ears of the " Anubis " figure , in the photo from 1983 you can see that the ears are only outlined , the second photo from 2007 you can see that the ear has had detail added to it to make it 3 dimensional (pictured )
While it has been reported that the carving site has been continually added to over the years , this is the first photographic evidence of such , the detail added to the ears after the photos were taken in 1983 could have only been done by the original artist who knew where he was up to.
( See all of the 1983 photos by Jack Green here )

Photo taken by NPWS in 1983 showing freshly carved glyphs

Egyptomania
Egyptomania is the renewed interest in Egyptian culture after the discovery of King Tut's tomb in the 1920's , it had a major influence on the arts , architecture and fashion.
Egypt also holds a special place in the returned servicemen from 2 world wars who served in the middle east , many returned servicemen settled into special estates on the Woy Woy peninsula after the wars.
In the 60's and Egyptian theme park was built at nearby Kincumber featuring exotic animals and Egyptian sculptures in the bushland , while it has nothing to do with the Kariong glyphs it shows that there still was and is a public fascination with Egypt locally.
Anyone wishing to complete the " six degrees of separation " should visit the local Reptile Park at Somersby once owned by the Worrall family , the main foyer area has a curious Egyptian theme ....

Advertisment for local Egyptian theme park 1960's

Marree Man Hoax
It's often mentioned in discussion that the glyphs at Kariong could not possibly be a practical joke as no one would be bothered to spend so much time carving them.
But this is Australia and a nation of larrikins no doubt , here we have one of the great archaeological practical jokes called the Maree Man.
A 4km long depiction of an Aboriginal man carved into the desert sometime in 1998 by someone with a large earth moving machine and a GPS plotter
Watch the video at YouTube here



More Strange Carvings
The Kariong Glyphs are not the only work of pranksters in the Brisbane Water National Park , about 2 kilometres away from the glyphs site is this poorly drawn figure on a sandstone boulder , this figure can be dated by a nearby carving of a Greek fish symbol with the same tool on a boulder used in modern rock works on a fire trail in the park.
There are many places along the rock platforms and lookouts where people have carved their names and left graffiti dating right back to the 1800's in the area , the local sandstone is soft and easy to carve into with any sort of hard implement.

The Rexiginian Rabbit or Bobosaurus


My Conclusion
The glyphs are the work of one if not several persons over a period of years starting possibly as early as the 60's and with a majority of the work in the late 70's , in 1983 more glyphs were added including the Anubis figure and the cartouches , some re-carving may also have occurred.
There is no evidence at all to support the theory that the glyphs existed prior to this time , or that Egyptians or any other ancient race carved them.
I have deliberately stayed away from the question of what the carvings actually are meant to spell out or mean , I am not an Egyptologist or an Archaeologist so I will respect the various experts appraisals of them , the symbols are just a collection of Egyptian symbols and words carved on a wall , much like if you threw a hand full of Scrabble letters on the floor - a jumbled mess.
While some have claimed to have deciphered the meaning of the glyphs , few agree with them and certainly no reputable institutions have been convinced to date worldwide.
The debate about the glyphs will exist in pseudo archaeological forums for eons and while there is a dollar to be made and a following to be gained.
The glyphs at Kariong are a modern day practical joke and a bloody good one at that , some people remark that no one could be bothered to do something on this scale but they are wrong , this is what makes this a grand joke , it is quintessentially Australian.

S.Spillard 2014