Dyungungoo reflects the land as Gubbi Gubbi have walked it since the dawn of time.
The material on this page is based on a paper prepared by Davies Heritage Consultants Pty Ltd for Dyungungoo. Further detailed information is available in response to specific questions. 
Recorded and Known Sites In the Vicinity of Dyungungoo

In an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage assessment of the eastern portion of the Maroochy Shire a total of 61 Aboriginal archaeological sites were located. The site types recorded included stone artefact scatters, scarred trees, a bora ground (durrn), shell middens and axe grinding grooves. The eastern portion of the Maroochy Shire was divided into eight land types. Dyungungoo is located within three of these types:

  •  Hilly Terrain
  •  Mountainous Terrain 
  •  Escarpment Land Units. 

A total of 38 sites were located during the surveys within these Land Types; 

  • 19 sites within the Hilly Terrain, 
  • 18 sites within the Mountainous Terrain and 
  • 1 site within the Escarpment Land Unit. 

Site types included isolated stone artefacts (20), stone artefact scatters (16), a scarred tree and an axe grinding groove site. Of these site types, the widest variety was recorded within the Mountainous Terrain Land Unit.
It is considered that, given the environment and resources available, the terrain Dyungungoo could have been exploited by Gubbi Gubbi in the past. 

These exploitation strategies would have left visible markers in the landscape (e.g. specific site types). However, the detectability and survivability of such visible markers is often conditional upon natural (e.g. erosion, deposition. etc.) and cultural (e.g. clearing, logging, etc.) processes. Within Dyungungoo, the effects of cultural processes appear to be limited.

Relatively few archaeological sites were recorded in the hinterland / ranges region, the majority had been recorded along the coastal fringe to the east of the property. 

To the west of the property only 14 sites had been recorded with the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs of which only nine were still extant. Of these, the exact location of one earthen circle, one artefact scatter and two scared trees have not been determined. The remaining five sites included two earthen circles, a stone artefact scatter and two burials. 

The burials, which were found within a rock-shelter, were removed and examined in 1970 by Haglund (1976) who suggests that they date between 1860 and 1890. Haglund (1976:173) bases this assumption on findings which indicate that the burials were "chopped with steel tools" and suggests that the "Aborigines would not have found it easy to acquire such tools until after 1850". After 1890 Haglund suggests that the number of Gubbi Gubbi leading a traditional life was probably small.

Recorded Axe Grinding Grooves are located on Little Rocky Creek in the vicinity of Landsborough, to the south of Dyungungoo. Also to the south of Dyungungoo, a rock-shelter with archaeological deposit has been recorded on Mt Mellum. Prior to this recording, artefacts from the rock-shelter were collected and donated to the Queensland Museum.

Return to top

The Potential Gubbi Gubbi Archaeological Record for Dyungungoo

Although Gubbi Gubbi may have exploited all parts of the terrain present within Dyungungoo, their activities will only be reflected in the archaeological record if there are physical remains. However, many sites of significance to Aboriginal people do not contain such remains (cultural sites). 

Based on previous assessments and research there are potentially at least six archaeological site types that may be located within Dyungungoo: 

Stone Artefact Scatters
Stone Artefact Scatters are the remains of activity sites and contain evidence of Aboriginal activities such as the manufacture of stone artefacts. These sites may represent periods of variable duration and may reflect a variety of activities. Due to the resilient nature of stone material, Stone Artefact Scatters are also the most common archaeological site type. 

Aboriginal people fractured fine-grained isotropic rocks to produce sharp cutting and scraping instruments. The raw material and form of stone tool artefacts can be quite varied, although fine-grained isotropic rocks, such as quartz, chert and silcrete, were preferred where sharp cutting and scraping edges were required. Crystalline volcanic rocks such as basalt, or pebbles of raw material such as argillite or greywacke, were flaked and then ground to form hatchet-heads for a variety of chopping and cutting tasks. The results of such activities as well as stone artefacts themselves, occur as scatters of modified stone (e.g. cores, flakes, flaked pieces, hammerstones, and anvils). Owing to site frequency and artefact density, Stone Artefact Scatters provide valuable information relating to past Aboriginal settlement and culture. 

Stone Artefact Scatters often indicate the remains of occupational camp sites where other associated organic material has decayed, but they can also reflect the results of a specific activity (e.g. stone knapping site or food processing site). Sometimes Stone Artefact Scatters are recorded as Knapping Sites where only that specific activity is present. Knapping Sites and Stone Artefact Scatters, along with other site types such as hearths (fireplaces), shell middens, burials, shelters, etc., are often called Site Complexes.

Stone Artefact Scatters have been found in various locations, although the majority tend to be located on reasonably level ground. Higher density artefact scatters will generally be located closer to permanent water, whereas lower density and background scatters may be found some distance from permanent / reliable water. 

Scatters of stone artefacts can be found in varying concentrations either in open terrain, or in rockshelter settings. The designation "site" is most commonly applied to high-density concentrations of archaeological material, whilst the surrounding intermittent, low-density material is referred to as "background scatter". This "background scatter" often occurs in the form of isolated artefacts. Researchers often assume that all significant cultural information occurs within high-density concentrations of artefacts and areas of low artefact density or isolated items (background scatter) are of no value. A more accurate approach is to view the archaeological record as a more or less continuous artefact distribution of variable density across the landscape (see Dancey 1981; Dunnell and Dancey 1983:272; Dunnell 1992:34). 

Stone artefact scatters, background scatters and isolated stone artefacts have been recorded in the region of the property. Hence, there is a potential that examples of this site type (including background scatters and isolated stone artefacts) could be present within the property. There is also a potential that stone artefacts may be located in a sub-surface context.

Quarries / Raw Material Source Areas

Quarry sites occur where outliers of suitable tool-making stone or ochre occur. Both igneous and sandstone outcrops were quarried. A quarry may be generally recognised by the evidence of human extractive activities and preliminary processing of the extracted material (knapping location manifesting as a stone artefact scatter) (Bell 1986:33; Flood 1983:247). 

Binns and McBryde (1972) noted that the source of raw materials for artefacts were sometimes from local shingle beds. Also, other archaeological surveys have located quarries of loose surface rock (see Hall and Lomax 1993). Both quarry types may be present where the geology is suitable. For example, silcrete, chert and/or quartzite cobbles present on the ground surface may have been used for stone artefact manufacture.

Although the geology of the property indicates that surface cobbles may not be present, there is a potential that suitable lithic raw material may have been available either in the shingle beds of the Mooloolah River or where outcrops of sandstone are present.

Scarred Trees

Trees are scarred as a result of the removal of bark for the manufacture of material culture items such as shields, water containers, canoes and roofing for shelters (Bell 1986:32; Sullivan 1984). Scars may also result from the extrication by Aborigines of possums or honey from trees, and may be in the form of toeholds in the trunk or larger branches. Scarred trees are common in riverine areas. 

There are non-cultural reasons that a tree can be scarred (e.g. lightning strike, fire, and branch throw). However, a number of criteria can be used to distinguish culturally derived scarring. Such criteria include (see Aboriginal Heritage Unit n.d.): maturity of tree, particularly for pre-contact scarring
• generally regularly shaped, elongated, oval scar
• the termination of the scar before the ground level
• the exposed heartwood does not exhibit major irregularities
• there is no evidence that a branch was present at the top of the scar
• axe marks should be present at the top or base of the scar. The axe marks may be either from stone axes or metal axes (post-contact site).

These criteria hold best for scars originating from the production of shields, water containers, canoes and roofing for shelters. However, scars that were made to toeholds are generally much smaller, and less regular. Also, the above criteria does not take into account that regrowth around the scar not only has the potential to conceal outline cuts but also conceal the original shape of the scar. Differential regrowth may also result in a shape that is not regular. 

Scarred trees have been recorded within the region of the property. As remnant vegetation is present within a large portion of the property there is a potential that this site type may be present.  

Axe Grinding Grooves

Axe-Grinding Grooves are regularly-shaped depressions in (usually) sandstone outcrops (Bell 1986:31). The depressions have been formed by the shaping and sharpening of modified volcanic and/or non-volcanic (greywacke, argillite) rock in order to form ground-edge axes or hatchets. As water is necessary for the grinding process, axe-grinding grooves are usually found in sandstone outcrops in or near watercourses. Axe-grinding groove sites may consist of either single or multiple grooves (Bell 1986:31).
Axe grinding grooves have been recorded in the region of Dyungungoo. The geology of Dyungungoo does not preclude the presence of this site type especially where sandstone outcrops occur within or immediately adjacent to the bed of watercourses.
This category includes rockshelters with deposit and/or art. Rockshelters may occur in any area of rocky terrain. However, as a result of the weathering pattern of rocks such as sandstone and limestone, there is a higher potential of locating rockshelters in terrain with this geology than any other. Sediments in rockshelters can contain preserved stratified archaeological material excavation of which can provide information on the duration and nature of Aboriginal occupation of the sites (Beaton 1991a; Bell 1986: 27; Lilley et al. 1998; Morwood 1984a; Mulvaney and Joyce 1965). 

A rockshelters with potential archaeological deposit has been recorded to southeast of the property and other rockshelters have been reported as being in proximity to the property. The potential for this site type to be present within the property should not be dismissed.


Generally, traditional burials in the area were not inhumations. Petrie (1904:32) describes in detail the burial customs for the area. In summary, the burials were secondary with the remains being carried in a dilly bag for around six months before being deposited in a hollow tree or cave. However, the possibility that traditional interments also occurred should not be dismissed.

Generally, burials are found close to areas where occupation was concentrated, though individual burials can occur almost anywhere. The majority of inhumations occur where soft sediments are available (e.g. alluvial flats adjacent to watercourses, sand dunes) and in caves or rock shelters (Bell 1986:30). 

Burials have been recorded to the west of the property. Hence, the potential that this site type may be present within the property should not be totally dismissed. 

Return to top


Artifact Scatters

Scar Trees

Durrn (Bora Rings)

Grinding Grooves