Day 25 – 10,128 KM. Town 42.
Today I took the opportunity to drive down from Terrigal to Sydney to take in a couple of the more local ‘Everywhere’ locations. My first stop was Narrabeen a beach side suburb that perhaps typifies one of the many city beaches in the Sydney basin. There are three Narrabeen beaches – North Narrabeen, Narrabeen and South Narrabeen with each beach having ample amounts of sea, sand and in the case of North Narrabeen one of the great surf breaks of the world. Each beach also boasts its own Surf Life Saving Club and ample shops, houses and units to accommodate the masses who choose beachside living.
With Narrabeen being a city beach you can not expect all to be tranquil, indeed with the buzz of the busy Pittwater Road nearby there may be some competition between traffic noise and that of the waves. And perhaps with it being a city beach, not all as innocent as it may seem. Take the bus stop on Octavia Street as an example…
Now prior to my visit to Narrabeen I had read of the incident at Octavia Street bus stop and whilst I had not got my pipe or deerstalker hat, I did have my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Amelie with me, so in true Sherlock Holmes fashion the investigation was ready to commence.
On reading the case notes, it soon became apparent that we were approaching the scene of a rather grotesque and heinous crime and reminiscent of a darker time in Narrabeen’s history. However, on looking at the bus stop in the light of day, all looked quite innocent and I am sure any commuter waiting for their transport would not be aware of what had gone on at this spot in earlier years. If they did, they may not be so comfortable waiting particularly as the perpetrators of the crime are unknown despite hours of forensic research being undertaken.
Suspicion was first aroused a in January 2005 when contractors digging a trench for electricity cabling unearthed the remains of a skeleton 183 cm or 6 feet tall of an aboriginal male who died aged between 30-40 years old.
From early on in the investigation it became apparent that the victim had met a violent end as remarkably he had a spear tip embedded in his vertebra. Further investigation revealed that he had actually had three spears enter his body. A spear entered from the front, cutting the intestines and a kidney and lodging in the spine. A second spear was thrown from behind and also lodged in the spine. A third spear ricocheted off the skull, which was also hit with another sharp implement. Other items nearby suggest more spears were embedded in the body but they did not do any damage to the bones. Examination of the contents of the stomach of the victim revealed tiny fish bones which must have been his last meal.
Unfortunately the mob who attacked this individual have not been traced, but it has been assumed the victim must have done something very bad to incur such wrath.
And perhaps, the most amazing thing of all, thanks to radiocarbon dating, this whole incident, other than the discovery of the bones in 2006, occurred over 4,000 years ago. “Narrabeen Man” as the victim is now known, is the oldest dated skeleton in Sydney.
As we walk back to the car, I ponder over the rather remarkable find made under the unremarkable bus stop on the corner of Octavia and Ocean Street. From the look in her eye, Amelie just wonders if there are any bones left for her to find and take home to chew but luckily for “Narrabeen Man” he was finally laid to rest in the nearby Kuring-Gai Chase National Park.