Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Wallen  Wallen Creek

Wallen Wallen Creek is on North Stradbroke Island 6 km south of Dunwich, Brisbane, at the foot of a high sand dune that is about 400 m inland from the present coast. When the sea level was about 150 m lower than present, about 20,000 years ago, the site was first occupied near the base of a well-vegetated sand hill near a water course. At that time North Stradbroke Island was part of the mainland, the site is believed to have been a stopover between the coast, about 12 to 20 km further to the east, and the present mainland. This site has been dated to the Pleistocene, and is the first evidence of Pleistocene occupation of the east coast north of Sydney. The finds in this site lead to the conclusion that there was continuous occupation for the duration of the Pleistocene, followed by a dramatic increase in occupation in the Late Holocene. The site on the west coast of the island was in use sporadically for more than 20,000 years. The 2.5 m deposit has produced charcoal, animal bones and stone flake artefacts.

The upper levels of the site indicate  it was used more intensively in the last few thousand years, as indicated by a large increase in the quantity of artefacts found in the deposit. There was apparently a big increase in use of Moreton Bay islands. Over this period there was a large increase of shell middens on other sand islands, such as Fraser island and Moreton Island, indicating a greatly expanded use of the islands by the Aboriginal People.

In the most recent levels of the site the people were eating shellfish, fish and dugong at the site.

It is 1 of 2 open Pleistocene sites known on the east coast of Australia, the other being Bass Point occupation site, north of Lake Burrill near Shellharbour in New South Wales.


  1. Pleistocene occupation in the south-east Queensland coastal region
  2. The Sea People: Late Holocene Maritime Specialisation in the Whitsunday Islands, Central Queensland

Sources & Further reading

Flood, Josephine, 2004, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, JB Publications.

Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated: 30/09/2011
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