The Historical Society acknowledges and respects the Darug and Gundungurra People, the Traditional Custodians of the area.
At Gloria Park, Hazelbrook, right beside the highway, is to be seen a cluster of deep rock holes known as the Aboriginal Wells. Much of the area has been covered by roadworks or overgrown by grass.
In 1924 a certain J.S. of the Aboriginal Inland Mission recorded in the publication 'OUR Aim' a visit to these wells. The whole rock was said to 'cover an area of about 60 feet'. About 20 wells were visible, the largest being '6 feet across and 4 feet deep'. Most were quite circular, but a few were of various elongate shapes.
The rock holes had been filled with stones and soil, with only circular patches of grass to show their presence, until a Mr. Bourne excavated a dozen of them, probably not long before 1924. A couple ' of spearheads were found in the excavated soil. Around the wells 31 axe grinding grooves have been counted and there appears to be a faint outline of a fish engraved in the rock. Included in the complex is a large rock shelter, a short distance to the west, on the same level, much blackened by smoke and yielding a few artefacts in the floor deposit. Presuming that travel through the Central Blue Mountains would have been then, as now, restricted to the narrow main ridge, one can imagine that this site, with its abundant shelter and water close to the ridge top, would have been a valuable transit camp for travelling bands.
J.S. and Mr Bourne both considered the wells to be man-made, but opinions vary as to whether they were originally artificial or natural, either alternative requiring much explanation as to how it was done. Little channels between several pools appear deliberate. (see below)
Certainly some of the wells were enlarged with pick and chisel, showing their use by European travellers. While most of the early European crossings along Cox's road would have been by horse and cart, by the time of the gold rushes in the midcentury, many hopefuls were setting out on foot with meagre supplies slung from their shoulders. For such as these the Gloria Park complex of shelter and water supply beside the road would have provided a welcome stopover. Now, while cars rush by, the roadside site is a graphic memorial to more arduous travel in the past, both by Aborigines and Europeans.
Father Eugene Stockton.
Koenig, M. 1983, Survey for Aboriginal archaeological sites at Gloria Park, Hazelbrook, Report to NSW Dept of Main Roads.
'J.S: 1924, OUR Aim,
(Thanks to Jim Smith for bringing the original article to light).