Origin of name
Bundeena is Aboriginal for “a noise like thunder” which in turn is said to be derived from the noise the waves make at the beach there. Interestingly, the Port Hacking area’s Aboriginal name Deeban means “crossing place” which is exactly what you’re going to do whilst on the ferry.
Bundeena heritage walk
After leaving the ferry walk towards the main street and turn right. On the left side there’s a general store where you can get copies of the helpful heritage walking brochures “Bundeena Loop” and - if you have more time - “Bundeena - Bonnie Vale”. Both walks can be combined. Walk back to the wharf.
The wharf’s car park actually once was an Aboriginal midden which has been destroyed. Just behind the ferry waiting shed there are steps leading upwards to Bundeena Hill. Here the heritage walk starts. Several signs have content relating to Aboriginal people and their life (numbers 2, 4, 7).
Jibbon Head is an area thought to most resemble Sydney Cove before white settlement.
To reach Jibbon Head follow The Avenue, Lambeth Walk and Neil Street to Jibbon Beach (see map in the brochure). Walk along Jibbon Beach until you reach the other end.
To access the midden you have to follow the rocky lava stone until you reach the actual head. On your right watch out for bleached shells just where the bush begins. This is another midden though not easy to spot.
Jibbon Head Rock Engravings
If you want to see the rock engravings follow the signposted path which starts also at the eastern end of the beach. When you reach a couple of stony steps (see image) leave the path and turn right. There’s a large display sign outlining the engravings and giving short explanations for each engraving.
Note The sandstone is very sensitive to visitor’s walking boots. Please walk with great care while accessing this site as the engravings are already fading away and you’re very likely to accidentally stand on them.
The abundance of Aboriginal heritage like paintings, engravings, drawings and stencils suggests that a large number of people inhabited this are. Archaeologists believe that up to 900 Dharawal lived around Port Hacking prior to white invasion. In Bundeena itself two to four groups of 12-18 people moved up and down the coast looking for food such as wallaby, plants, shellfish and fish.
Engravings often display these food sources but also Dreaming themes (note the human-like figure which is believed to be a local law keeper). In the vicinity there are two fresh water creeks making the place ideal for an engraving site.
However, due to vandalism and because many sites are still sacred to the Aboriginal people, only the site at Jibbon Point has been made accessible to the public.
Aboriginal guided walks
If you want to know more you can phone the National Parks and Wildlife Service at the Royal National Park Visitor’s Centre (02-9542 0648) and arrange a guided walking tour of the area.
How to get to Bundeena
Bundeena is located south of Botany Bay, opposite Cronulla.
Take a train from Central Station to Cronulla station (approx. 1 hour). Exit the station, turn left and follow the walkway which goes underneath the track. Follow the walking track slightly to the right towards the water.
There is a small wharf for the ferry to Bundeena which leaves every hour. Allow roughly two to three hours travel time from your door to Bundeena wharf.