Black Fellows Hands Reserve

Located just of Wolgan Road in Lidsdale, is the Black Fellow Hands Reserve, or ‘Maiyingu Marragu’ to the Indigenous population. This reserve dates back thousands of years and is a historic and traditional area that is decorated with ancient artworks, paintings, hand prints, paintings of boomerangs and weapons. It is also well known for its natural beauty, including waterfalls and ochres and rock formations.

 

The traditional owners used a mixture a of ochre, water, and animal fat placed into the mouth and blown across the hand, to produce the artworks. The ochre chemically reacts with and sinks into the surface of the rock just like ink does into paper. Due to their location on north-facing walls, they have been protected against weathering and lichen damage.

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Wiradjuri lands make up this reserve, which was once a sacred meeting place for Aboriginal people of the area. Wiradjuri people attach a special meaning to Black Fellows Hands, due to their continuing cultural connection to the land. Even today, the site holds cultural meaning to the Wiradjuri people and a place where their culture can be preserved for generations to come. The area is still used today as a ‘bush school room’, where stories are told by the elders, bush food is collected as well as items used in natural medicine.

 

Young children’s hand prints can be found in lower areas of the rock wall, where they were made when the children were very young. The older tribe members’ hand prints were placed higher up the rock face and the more of the hand/arm that was stencilled, this signified more seniority. Only elder tribe members were privileged to have a complete stencil of their forearm on the rack wall. If you study the wall carefully, you can gain insight into many important milestones in the history of the area.

 

Black Fellows Hands truly is a hidden gem of the area that holds such spiritual and traditional significance to the Wiradjuri people.