Ancient Rock Walls and Formations in Australia may have dramatic implications - Part 1

Ancient Rock Walls and Formations in Australia may have dramatic implications - Part 1

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Throughout our many expeditions wandering through the bush, time after time we kept running into rock formations and walls that, if consulting accredited texts and curriculum on Original history and geology, just didn’t seem to make sense. On more than one occasion, those on site have been unanimous in remarking that the uniformity of shape and precision of line and angles seem so similar to many ancient walls found throughout South America.

If just one of the six examples presented is indeed an artificial construction, this immediately contradicts a fundamental assumption underpinning all accepted versions of Original history before the British armada and soldiers invaded. We are assured that until the Invasion there was no metal blade in the Original tool-kit. The problem being, what we saw included a consistency and delicacy of incision, shape and form of rock that contradicts this technological vacuum.

Our intention in this article is to present a series of what at the very least can be called extreme geological anomalies, and most likely much more. Coincidentally or not, many of these formations are extremely close to the controversial Kariong Glyphs. We are of the opinion the hieroglyphs are not only genuine, but bear witness to two narratives, the most recent being an ancient Egyptian tale of misfortune and death, and an older account engraved in a much more ancient Original script. Irrespective of the credentials of these engravings, this site is merely a base point and background setting to these formations, tunnels and walls.

The Back Door/Shaft

First the immediate surrounds, then further afield. The closest site to the glyphs is a back-shaft and tunnel that runs under some of the same rock on which the glyphs are engraved. There is one large chamber at the left side, which is quite possibly a very recent excavation, but not so the shaft. The straight lines, flat ceiling, parallel walls and what some claim to be the remains of a doorway, seem to carry the touch of human hands and metal. No doubt others will claim it is also part of the mischief that also included the engravings around the corner.

But what the critics are not aware of is that the hieroglyphs on the three sandstone walls are not unique in this area. Not far from the back shaft/tunnel is another set of no less than 13 hieroglyphs. They are much smaller than the engravings on the walls, about one third the size, more worn and the incisions are nowhere near as deep or sharp. Despite the apparent differences the narrative is identical and back-shaft/tunnel affirming. The bottom three glyphs of the right panel read: Back-door/shaft, Coffin/Death and a Sacred Staff for use in the After-World.

According to the NPWS, after close to a week of phone calls trying to contact the appropriate spokesperson, there is nothing to be added or subtracted to the claims the shaft and glyphs are both fakes. I did ask for a formal response and was promised one, but days passed and finally I lost patience. If a formal reply is received at a later date, that official explanation will be included in another article.

According to sources we are in contact with, quite a few people saw the hieroglyphs and went inside the tunnel before 1960.

But we never embrace absolutes, the chances are the shaft is not natural, it’s positioning, being less than two metres from the glyphs implies just through that association alone it is part of something either incredibly important or devious. The timing is the point of debate, not that it is artificial, that is agreed.

The Healing Table

Just up the slope, less than 50 metres from the glyphs, is the next candidate under consideration. It has been claimed to be a mummification table used to treat and prepare the body of the Pharaoh’s son Nefer-Ti-Ru, who died from snake bite. What we can state with confidence is that it is either an extreme example of a natural process, or a “healing table. Original Elder, Gerry Bostock, has assured me that it is indeed a healing table, because of this that is the only term we use.

If natural, the lipping seems far too uniform with an almost level, flat top of over 2 cms. Some parts of the top edge is severely weathered, others seem untouched. The grain inside is smooth, completely uniform and without any fracture or variation in colour. The rock may have had a natural depression to begin with which was worked into a smoother shape with the table inserted. Or perhaps the far more technologically challenging option of the rock shelf being carefully cut into shape with the mould inserted to make a neat fit, is applicable? What really pushes the limits is that natural and all non-natural possibilities require great amounts of heat, enough to melt rock.

It must be also conceded that there are sandstone formations in the area which have been subjected to intense heat and do share similarities. On flat platforms nearby there are semi-melted formations, but all are much smaller and nowhere near as uniform, smooth and symmetrical.

But that wasn’t all Gerry Bostock shared when talking about this sacred sandstone healing table, he insists it can heal women, not men. For women with a pure heart and soul who lay inside, they would also travel to the stars. For now that is as cryptic as we need to be, except to add that we have compiled or witnessed the experiences of five women who took up the challenge. All confirmed everything Gerry said was absolutely true, we will fully expand on this in our upcoming book, but what needs to be understood is that this rock formation, whether natural or artificial, may have more to it than plain old sandstone.

You can read Part 2 here .

Go Travel

Devils Marbles or Karlu Karlu are huge rocks located south of Tennant Creek area of Northern Territory in Australia which have been given mythological reasons by Australian tribes, they believe in its sacred powers. The aboriginal tribes believe that Marbles are eggs of Mythical Rainbow Serpent. The story is still alive and passed from generation to generation. These rocks are several meters high and extremely large in size. They consist of granite and were formed about 1640 million years ago. These granite blocks expand and shrink little in size every 24 hours due to high temperature change between day and night. This causes some rocks to crack, sometimes even splitting them to half. The Devils Marbles conservation reserve is the main tourist attraction in northern territory of Australia. The reserve is accessible throughout the year.

Cradle Mountain forms the northern end of the wild Cradle Mt - Lake St Clair National Park, itself a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The jagged contours of Cradle Mountain epitomise the feel of a wild landscape, while ancient rainforest and alpine heathlands, buttongrass and stands of colourful deciduous beech provide a range of environments to explore. Icy streams cascading out of rugged mountains, stands of ancient pines mirrored in the still waters of glacial lakes and a wealth of wildlife ensure there is always something to captivate you. The area is one of the most popular natural areas in Tasmania.

Situated between Apollo Bay and Port Campbell in The Port Campbell National Park are the 12 Apostles. Original named 'The Sow and Piglets'. The name was changed in the 1950s to tempt more visitors to see them. These famous residence of The Great Ocean Road were created from the 70 meter limestone cliffs by the relentless pounding of the Southern Ocean. To date only 8 of the original 12 apostles are still standing as the ocean continues to erode and shape the coast line.

World&rsquos Oldest Cave Paintings Are Fading&mdashClimate Change May Be to Blame

Some of the oldest art in human history is disintegrating, scientists say. And climate change may be hastening its demise.

New research reports that ancient rock art in Indonesian caves is degrading over time, as bits of rock slowly flake away from the walls. It's a tremendous loss for human history &mdash some of these paintings, which depict everything from animals to human figures to abstract symbols, date back about 40,000 years.

Salt crystals building up on the walls are a key part of the problem, the study suggests. These salt deposits seep into the cave walls, then proceed to expand and contract as temperatures rise and fall. This process causes the rock to slowly disintegrate.

Changes in the weather may be helping the process along, scientists say.

Salt crystals may expand more readily when they're exposed to repeated shifts between wet, humid conditions and periods of prolonged drought. Indonesia is already a dynamic region to begin with, split between the rainy monsoon season and the annual dry season. But these kinds of shifts are expected to become more dramatic as the climate continues to warm.

In particular, the researchers say, climate change may spur more intense El Niño events in the future. These events can amplify the kinds of conditions that help the damaging salt crystals form.

Scientists are still debating the exact influence of climate change on El Niño, a natural climate cycle that drives shifting patterns of warming and cooling in the Pacific Ocean. But some studies do suggest that El Niño events may be more severe going forward.

The new study, led by Jillian Huntley at Australia's Griffith University, examined 11 ancient cave art sites in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The researchers found evidence of salt formation at all 11 sites. At three of the sites, they found the types of crystals that most notoriously cause rocks to break apart.

It's a small sample there are more than 300 known cave art sites scattered around the region. But the research suggests that salt crystals may indeed be part of the problem.

In recent years, archaeologists have reported that the art appears to be rapidly deteriorating &mdash at some sites, experts have reported as much as an inch of art vanishing every couple of months.

Scientists have proposed multiple theories about what might be causing it. Along with climate change, they've suggested that pollution and other disturbances from nearby limestone mining operations might be degrading the fragile paintings.

It's probably all of the above, Huntley and her colleagues suggest. But they add that climate change is a growing threat, one that deserves more attention.

In fact, they argue, salt-related degradation is "the most pressing threat to rock art preservation in this region" aside from mining.

Reprinted from E&E News with permission from POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2021. E&E News provides essential news for energy and environment professionals.

  • Researchers have been dating objects within the cave to uncover its history
  • They found that the oldest human evidence dates back 1.8 million years
  • The Wonderwerk Cave gets its name from the Afrikaan name for 'Miracle'
  • The team also plotted the transition from stone offcuts to handaxes in the cave, suggesting this transition happened about 1 million years ago

Published: 15:06 BST, 27 April 2021 | Updated: 16:44 BST, 27 April 2021

Ancient tools found in a 'miracle' cave in South Africa suggest our earliest ancestors set up camp there more than 1.8 million years ago, according to palaeontologists.

Experts from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem examined the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa's Kalahari Desert, delving down to ancient layers within the historic site.

Few places in the world preserve a continuous archaeological record spanning millions of years, but this is one such site. Its name means 'miracle' in Afrikaans.

The new study, including work by geologists and archaeologists, confirms the existence of human-made stone tools dating back 1.8 million years.

This marks it as the earliest cave occupation in the world and the site of some of the earliest indications of fire use and tool making among prehistoric humans.

Ancient tools found in 'miracle' cave in South Africa suggest our earliest ancestors set up camp there more than 1.8 million years ago, according to palaeontologists

The team explored layers deep within the ancient cave and were able to successfully establish the shift from Oldowan tools, sharp flakes and chopping tools, to early handaxes (pictured) over one million years ago


Wonderwerk cave is an important archaeological site for studying ancient humans.

It is an ancient solution cavity in dolomite rocks in the Kuruman Hills in South Africa.

It extends horizontally fo 460ft into the base of a hill and has been studied extensively since the 1940s.

Wonderwerk means 'miracle' in the Afrikaans language and among the discoveries in the cave is the earliest evidence of controlled fire.

Scientists believe the earliest human evidence dates back 1.8 billion years.

'Wonderwerk is unique among ancient Oldowan sites, a tool-type first found 2.6 million years ago in East Africa, precisely because it is a cave and not an open-air occurrence,' explained lead author Professor Ron Shaar.

The team explored layers deep within the ancient cave and were able to successfully establish the shift from Oldowan tools, sharp flakes and chopping tools, to early handaxes over one million years ago.

They were also able to date the deliberate use of fire by our prehistoric ancestors to one million years ago, around the time they started using handaxes.

The latter is particularly significant because other examples of early fire use come from open-air sites where the possible role of wildfires cannot be excluded.

Moreover, Wonderwerk contained a full array of fire remnants: burnt bone, sediment and tools as well as the presence of ash.

Dating cave deposits is one of the greatest challenges in paleo-anthropology, the study of human evolution, requiring extensive research to overcome the issue.

The team analysed an 8ft thick sedimentary layer that contained stone tools, animal remains and fire remnants using two methods: paleomagnetism and burial dating.

It is an ancient solution cavity in dolomite rocks in the Kuruman Hills in South Africa

The 15 most amazing landscapes and rock formations

These strange conical spires are found in the Cappadocia region of Turkey.

Several million years ago, active volcanoes spewed volcanic ash that covered the ground. Rainwater and wind eroded the soft compressed volcanic ash, leaving behind the harder overlying basalts, forming the fairy chimneys.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

This spectacular landscape is dotted with limestone pillars, arches and caves. The rocks have been shaped by the repeated rise and fall of the sea over 500 million years. The bay also includes over 1600 islands and islets, most of them uninhabited.

According to legends, dragons created the islands and rocks to keep invaders out of Vietnam.

Eye of the Sahara, Mauritania

Formally known as the Richat Structure, the Eye of the Sahara looks like a bullseye from above.

Located in the Sahara desert, it is a dome-shaped rock structure about 50 km across. Once thought to have been caused by a meteorite impact, it is now believed to have formed from uplifted rock that was later eroded.

The Great Blue Hole, Belize

This underwater sinkhole is 320 m wide and 125 m deep, and a major scuba diving attraction. It is part of the Belize Barrier Reef, which is in turn part of the Mesoamerican Reef.

This hole is believed to have formed during the recent ice ages, when a submerged limestone cave system collapsed due to changes in the sea level. Huge stalactites and stalagmites are found in the hole, which contain records of past climates.

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

Resembling giant turtle shells, these spherical boulders lie strewn on New Zealand's Koekohe Beach.

These boulders started forming in sediments on the sea floor over 60 million years ago. Carbonates built up around a central core, similar to the way pearls form around a speck of grit.

According to Maori legends, the boulders are remnants of gourds and eel baskets, washed ashore from the wreck of a sailing canoe.

Zhangye Danxia, China

These rainbow mountains look like something out of a painting. The Danxia landforms, found in China's Gansu Province, are made of strips of red sandstone that were deposited over millions of years, like slices of a layered cake.

But a word of caution: many online pictures of these hills are probably the result of image manipulation.

Stone Forest, China

Blade-like columns of limestone, many over 10 m tall, form a landscape that resembles a forest of stones. The region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The stone forests formed some 270 million years ago in what was once a shallow sea. Sandstone and limestone accumulated in the basin, and was eventually pushed up into the air. The rocks were then shaped by wind and water to create these spectacular stone pillars.

Valley of the Moon, Argentina

Arid and rugged, this barren landscape looks like &ndash you guessed it - the surface of the Moon. But it is actually a fossil graveyard.

The site contains undisturbed deposits from 250-200 million years ago. Fossils of some of the oldest dinosaurs, fish, amphibians, reptiles and over 100 species of plants have been found. There are also huge petrified tree trunks.

Wave Rock, Australia

This concave rock is 14 m high and 110 m long. It is part of the northern side of Hyden Rock, a giant granite outcrop over 2.7 billion years old, located in Hyden Wildlife Park in Western Australia.

The wave is believed to have formed by the action of running water on granite. The colourful streaks on its face are made of minerals left behind by rainwater run-off.

Chocolate Hills, the Philippines

There are about 1500 of these limestone mounds in Bohol province in the Philippines. They are normally covered by grass, but turn a deep-brown colour during the dry season.

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

These massive hexagonal black basalt columns rise like steps and interlock neatly. There are over 40,000.

They probably formed after volcanic activity 50-60 million years ago. The sizes of the columns were most likely determined by the speed at which the erupted lava cooled.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Located on the Colorado Plateau, the Bryce Canyon in southern Utah is a natural amphitheatre filled with spires and hoodoos. The Paiute Native Americans called it "red rocks standing like men in a bowl-shaped canyon".

The hoodoos were formed when water repeatedly froze and melted in the vertical cracks of sedimentary rocks. Some hoodoos are taller than a 10-storey building.

Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona

Popular among hikers, Vermillion Cliffs is a treasure trove of deep canyons and steep cliffs. It is also home to "The Wave" (pictured), which is made up of undulating sandstone.

The Monument is located on the Colorado Plateau, and gets its rich reddish hues from the sandstone that formed the landscape. The colours of the site change as the day progresses.

Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

This cave contains gigantic, sword-like gypsum crystals. It is 300m underground in the Naica Mine in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It was discovered by two brothers drilling for lead and silver.

The enormous crystals are believed to have formed when gypsum-saturated groundwater flowed through the caves, and was heated and cooled by hot magma below. Some of the largest crystals may be over 500,000 years old.

San Andreas Fault, California

This is one giant fracture on the earth's crust, nearly 1,300 km long. The fault line began forming over 30 million years ago when two massive tectonic plates &ndash the Pacific and North American &ndash collided.

A major earthquake may well strike the San Andreas Fault in the coming decades.

The 50 Most Beautiful Places On Earth (That Often Lead To Life Transformation)

Most of us love to travel. Many of us love planning vacations for months. As we navigate these unprecedented quarantines and pandemic times, here’s a look at the most beautiful places on Earth. The faraway exotic lands call out the inner wanderlust in us. The pure natural beauty of these places is unforgettable and has the power to transform us. While there are innumerable places to visit, here we have shortlisted 50 to help you plan your next trip. Some are well-known and on every bucket list, while some are more exotic. Explore and let the adventure begin.

#50 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is a must-visit on every traveler’s bucket list. It is the world’s first national park, which spreads across nearly 3,500-sq.-miles. The popular wilderness recreation area is set atop a volcanic hot spot and is home to hundreds of animal species. These include bears, wolves, grizzly bears, bison, buffalo, elk, and antelope. Among its many marvels, there is the most famous Old Faithful geyser and other gushing geysers. Other natural beauties include canyons, waterfalls, alpine rivers, forests, jagged peaks, and hot springs. It is set in Wyoming, but parts of it extend to Montana and Idaho too.

#49 Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park is set in the region called Patagonia. The protected land boasts of unique and diverse topography. It includes the famous pampas (grasslands), forests, mountains, lakes, as well as glaciers and icebergs. Together they combine to make an unforgettable experience. The park abounds diverse wildlife as well. Visitors can expect a mesmerizing feeling looking at the rare animal species. These include the Andean deer, llama-like guanacos, huemul, foxes, and the regal puma. The stunning granite pillars are famous for the breathtaking sunrise and sunset experiences.

#48 Na Pali Coast State Park, Hawaii

Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park is situated in the northwest of Kauai Island. It runs along 17 miles of rugged Kauai coastline. It is a popular tourist and hiking destination though it is a bit hard to access. Perhaps that’s the reason why it attracts the diehard hikers and adventurers. Those who can brave the wilderness and the rough terrain are rewarded with breathtaking views of the Pacific. The diverse topography includes rugged sea cliffs, gushing streams, and waterfalls. There are also deep valleys covered in lush forests, walled stone terraces, and the towering pali.

#47 Antelope Canyon, Arizona

The Antelope Canyon is located in Southwest USA and is a popular tourist destination. Categorized as a slot canyon, it is divided into two sections. It spreads across the Navajo land east of Page, Arizona. Tsé bighánílíní, or the Upper Antelope Canyon, means the place where water runs through rocks. Hazdistazí, or the Lower Canyon, means “The Corkscrew” in Navajo. It is accessible by guided tour only but remains a popular location for photographers and sightseers. Early mornings are the best times to visit. Light gliding in and out of the slot canyon during this time makes it look like the walls are on fire.

#46 Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni results from a prehistoric lake that dried up and is located in southwest Bolivia. The 10,582-sq.-km landscape is now covered by bright-white salt formations that give visitors an illusion of walking in the clouds. Situated amidst the Andes and at an elevation of 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level, it is the world’s largest salt flat. Along with the bright-white salt, it also features cacti-studded islands. A lithium-rich pool of brine, rock formations. In fact, it boasts of the world’s largest known lithium reserves. Wildlife is rare and diverse and includes the mesmerizing pink flamingos.

#45 Mount Fuji, Japan

Mount Fuji is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Located southwest of Tokyo, it stands as the cultural, physical, and spiritual symbol of Japan. For centuries it has been revered as the holiest mountain and pilgrimage site for the Japanese people. At 3,776 meters, it stands as the country’s tallest peak. The iconic cherry blossoms in spring and the scenic view of the five lakes surrounding it attracts visitors from around the world. Adventurous summit hikes remain a favorite activity for both tourists and locals. Professional and amateur photographers flock to this visitor’s paradise to get that dream shot.

#44 Reine, Norway

Reine is a dreamy getaway that is yet unspoiled by tourists. It is a quiet, quaint fishing village located on the island of Moskenesøya in the Lofoten archipelago. It sits just above the Arctic Circle in Norway’s Lofoten Islands and can make one want to stay there forever. Visitors can stay in converted old fishermen’s cottages along the picturesque string of islands. They can camp under the stars to appreciate the midnight sun or the stunning Northern Lights up close. Some choose to hike up the mountain to soak up the island chain’s breathtaking views from above.

#43 Iguazu Falls, Argentina

The incredible Iguazú Falls or Iguaçu Falls rank among seven new natural wonders of the world. The breathtakingly beautiful sight over the Iguazu River can be a life-transforming experience. It is located along the Argentina-Brazil border within the Paranaense Forest ecoregion. Spread over 167.34 acres, it makes up the most extensive system of waterfalls in the world. The awe-inspiring sight is part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. It is considered one of South America’s most visited places.

#42 Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

The majestic Cliffs of Moher are a part of the UNESCO Global Geopark. The unique topography that has faced the Atlantic for over 350 million years has mesmerized visitors for centuries. Situated in County Clare, they rise to 702 feet at their highest point. They range for 5 miles over the Atlantic Ocean and run for about 14 kilometers. The dramatic beauty of the majestic cliffs has made them a part of iconic movies like the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and the Princess Bride. They are one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions.

#41 Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan

The incredible Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a massive complex of gardens with plants and trees. It attracts tourists through all seasons. Built during Japan’s Heian Period, it is located on the outskirts of Kyoto. The beautiful forest is a grove filled with thick, green towering stalks. It was reconstructed in the 1930s and still remains a revered spot for locals. For them, Bamboo is a symbol of strength and the groves, a place that can ward off evil. The garden’s main attraction is the Togetsukyo Bridge or the Moon Crossing Bridge that stands over the Hozu River.

#40 Socotra, Yemen

Socotra is one of the largest of four islands in the Socotra archipelago. It is located between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea and is known for being host to unique flora and fauna species. Often called the most alien-looking place on Earth, Socotra is also one of the most ancient sites. Visitors bask in its sheer beauty and soak up the ruins of a second-century city. Legend links the old city to the original Garden of Eden, and a paradise called Dilmun mentioned in ancient Sumerian tales. The caves and the unique dragon blood trees are great attractions, as are the several shipwreck sites.

#39 Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Seljalandsfoss is located in the South Region in Iceland and is known as one of the world’s most famous waterfalls. It is fed by melting water from the famed glacier-capped Eyjafjallajokull volcano and has a sheer drop of 60 meters. One of the most incredible experiences it offers is walking behind the water. The feel of the cascading water as if from behind a curtain is a life-transforming feeling. It cascades over cliffs and creates a spectacular view down the gorge. The steep and rugged cliffs and breathtaking terrain make for a memorable experience.

#38 Angel Falls: Canaima National Park, Venezuela

Angel Falls in Venezuela is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall. The waterfall plunges to 807 meters and has a height of 979 meters, dropping over the Auyán-tepui, or Devil’s Mountain, in the Canaima National Park. The park boasts of a rich and diverse topography. These include the steep flat-topped table mountains called tepuis, from which spectacular Angel Falls cascade down. The canyon it falls into is called the Cañon del Diablo or the Devil’s Canyon. The falls are named after Jimmy Angel, an American pilot. He was searching for gold and discovered the falls instead.

#37 Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Namib-Naukluft Park covers an area of 19,216 square miles. Its nature reserves occupy part of the Namib Desert, the oldest desert on earth. It is the fourth largest national park in the world. At the center of its attraction lies the nature reserve Sossusvlei. The enormous, red dunes here rise more than 900 feet above the ground. Rich in fauna, it is known for its wild game, including mountain zebras, ostriches, and kudus. It also features the barren and beautiful Naukluft Mountains, which attracts hundreds to witness its stark beauty.

#36 Chefchaouen, Morocco

The striking, blue-washed buildings of Chefchaouen are every traveler’s dream. The old town is located in northern Morocco’s Rif Mountains. It is known for its quaint narrow blue alleyways, steep and winding cobbled lanes. The city is painted in beguiling talc or chalk-based paint, which has given it the name, “blue city” or Morocco’s “blue pearl.” It is famous for its Moorish architecture, leather and weaving workshops. The octagonal minaret of the Great Mosque and the Chefchaouen Ethnographic Museum draws large crowds too. The 15th-century fortress and dungeon house the main square of Place Outa el-Hammam.

#35 Ronda, Spain

The Andalucían city of Ronda regally stands on top of the El Tajo gorge in Spain’s Malaga province. It is located in the heart of the Serrania de Ronda and is surrounded by lush river valleys. The dramatic landscape is formed by the Guadalevín River, which flows through a deep gorge. On one side is the old city that dates back to Moorish rule. On the other side of the steep gorge is the “new” town built in the 15th-century. The two towns are connected by the jaw-dropping stone bridge, Puente Nuevo. The bridge has multiple lookout points that offer a scenic view.

#34 Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination in western Turkey. Known as the “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, it was built as a Roman spa city. It still features the ancient pool with its submerged Roman columns of the Temple of Apollo. Visitors can swim for free here. A notable feature is the stack of white travertine mineral-rich thermal pools. These hot calcium-laden waters are said to have healing powers. They overlook the Byzantine-Roman city of Denizli and are simply breathtaking. The ruins of the old town also include a necropolis with sarcophagi and a well-preserved theater.

#33 Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu is Peru’s and one of the world’s biggest attractions. Located high on the Andes Mountains, this Incan citadel means the “Old Peak” or “Old Mountain.” The ancient citadel is renowned for its architecture. Sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks were used to build it without the use of mortar. Massive rocks for the construction were transported without wheels. Considering that it stands at almost 8,000 feet above sea level, it is an architectural marvel. Visitors can climb to the top and look down at the Urubamba River valley. The panoramic view gives the perception as if one is walking in the clouds.

#32 Lake Louise, Canada

Lake Louise is located in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. The beautiful hamlet is known for its glacier-fed, turquoise waters. The quiet and still vista is a year-round resort destination. Sometimes emerald green and sometimes impossibly blue, the lake is a big lure for tourists. It overlooks a stately chateau and a palatial hotel that promises a luxurious stay. The lake is surrounded by high peaks of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. There are numerous outdoor activities for visitors and locals. These include hiking and skiing options, with rare wildlife experiences for adventurers.

#31 Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland

Reynisfjara Beach’s dramatic landscape adds to the breathtaking experience of Iceland. It is located near the village of Vík í Mýrdal, on the South Coast of Iceland. National Geographic has voted it as one of the Top 10 non-tropical beaches on the planet. The uniqueness of the beach lies in its black sands framed by basalt columns. The enormous basalt stacks are called Reynisdrangar. They line up the rocky shoreline creating a stark panoramic view. The beach is home to thousands of nesting seabirds who thrive here beside the roaring Atlantic waves.

#30 Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro Valley in Portugal is growing in popularity as a global tourist destination. The wild and beautiful frontier landscape is listed as a World Heritage Site. The Douro River runs for one hundred and twelve kilometers. It forms part of the Spain and Portugal border. Hundreds of visitors flock to its lush vineyards and breathtaking vistas every year. Its beautiful and magical landscapes have given it the name of an enchanted valley. The rugged canyons and the steep, undulating hills surrounding the Douro River adds to its natural splendor.

#29 Oia, Greece

The coastal town of Oia in Greece is located on the northwestern tip of Santorini. It is known for its whitewashed houses lined along the narrow, hilly streets that lead to the cobalt Aegean Sea. Santorini is full of history, and so is Oia. The ruins of the Oia Castle draws hundreds of visitors for its incredible sunset views. It boasts of age-old historical and cultural artifacts. The famous pink bougainvillea along the houses are simply stunning. These houses are carved into the rugged clifftops and overlook a vast caldera. The Naval Maritime Museum, housed in a 19th-century mansion, exhibits local seafaring history.

#28 Krabi, Thailand

Krabi is a tropical paradise island set off the beaten path from the usual Thai tourist spots. Located between Phang Nga and Trang, it features stunning land and seascapes. The 150km-long coastline features majestic blue waters. The beaches are framed by the limestone cliffs and lush mangrove forests. There is much to do. Visitors can enjoy the turquoise waters and white-sand beaches. There are also exotic wildlife, waterfalls, and caves to explore. An array of activities include snorkeling, island-hopping, sea kayaking, rock climbing, jungle trekking, and scuba diving.

#27 Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde is located in the mountainous region of northwestern Costa Rica. Visitors from all over the world come here to experience nature’s glory in the biodiverse forests in the clouds. Suspension bridges span thick rainforests. The famous walk above the forest canopy makes one feel as if one is walking on the clouds. Situated at 4,662 ft., the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is also known for its volcano peaks and coffee plantations. The constant rain and moisture-filled air have created the lush, evergreen forest that is home to rich wildlife.

#26 Zhangye National Geopark, China

The Zhangye National Geopark is famous for its mountains, which look as if they have been spray-painted. The park covers 510 square kilometers and is located within the prefecture-level city of Zhangye in Gansu. The multicolored ridges extend along the northern slope of the Qilian Mountain. They are made up of layers of different-colored minerals and sandstone. This natural phenomenon that developed over 24 million years gives it the famous undulating fiery look. They provide the entire Danxia landscape with a unique look. It ranks among National Geographic’s ‘Top 10 Geographical Wonders of the World.’

#25 Denali National Park, Alaska

The magnificent Denali National Park and Preserve is one of Alaska’s most famous sites. Even though a vast majority of the land is sheer wilderness, it hasn’t stopped visitors from flocking here every year. The stunningly beautiful wilderness is more than 6 million acres and is crossed by a single ribbon of road. It culminates in the 20,310-ft:- high Denali, North America’s tallest peak. The low-elevation taiga forest gives way to high alpine tundra. The terrain is home to diverse wildlife, including caribou, moose, grizzly bears, wolves, and Dall sheep. From the wildflowers and fireweed in bloom, one can bask in the glory of the northern lights.

#24 Twelve Apostles, Australia

The majestic Twelve Apostles are located 275 kilometers west of Melbourne. The rugged splendor of nature has been created by constant erosion of the limestone over 10–20 million years. They rise majestically from the Southern Ocean on Victoria’s dramatic coastline. Though only nine remains, the magnificent rock stacks still have a stunning effect on viewers. The limestone cliffs change color from sunrise to sunset. The softer limestone has eroded over centuries by the stormy sea and blasting winds from the Southern Ocean. These then formed caves in the cliffs, which became arches and collapsed into rock stacks.

#23 The Maroon Bells, Colorado

The Maroon Bells in Colorado is a popular tourist destination. It sits amidst the two-giant snow-striped mountaintops of the Elk Mountains’ Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak. Located near Aspen, the reflective lake offers a symphony of color that changes with the seasons. It is surrounded by a national forest and separated by about half a kilometer by a glacial lake. Ice-Age glaciers have sculpted the basin of the lake and create an unforgettable panorama. The weathering of the iron-bearing mineral hematite has taken place over centuries. That, in turn, has given the surrounding mountains its distinctive maroon coloring.

#22 White Desert, Egypt

The White Desert is a well-known desert destination in Egypt. The unparalleled landscape offers a quiet, unearthly, and beautiful vista. Locally known as Sahra al-Beida, it is located in the Bedouin country of Farafra. The journey into this infinite whiteness can be rough. It stretches through a barren road of white rock spires and chalk towers. The 300-sq-km national park is filled with wind-carved rock formations in unusual shapes. The blinding-white chalk rock spires create a surreal landscape.

#21 Tibet

The beautiful and remote land of Tibet is located at the foothills of the Himalayas. Known for its stark beauty, it is nicknamed as the “Roof of the World.” Centuries of unrest between China and Mongolia have given it a tumultuous history, but it is considered a self-governing region overseen by the Chinese government. It is mainly a Buddhist territory with peaceful, friendly people. There is a sense of peace and spiritualism that transcends all the political turmoil it has gone through. The stunning views of the world’s highest mountains and the breathtaking high-altitude walks are unforgettable. The fabulous monasteries, the unique cuisine are big attractions as well.

#20 Bora Bora

Bora Bora is a small South Pacific island known for its unrivaled beauty. It is indeed a paradise. Located northwest of Tahiti, the popular destination is also called the leading lady of French Polynesia. The island boasts of a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef and is surrounded by sand-fringed islets. It is a popular luxury resort, which is also known as a scuba diving destination. Mt. Otemanu, a 727m dormant volcano, adds to Bora Bora’s beauty as it rises right in the center of the island.

#19 Cliffs of Etretat, France

The Cliffs of Etretat are striking rock formations carved out of white cliffs along the coastal resort town of Étretat. Located on the north coast of France, the cliffs include the L’Aiguille or the Needle and the dramatic Porte d’Aval arch. The stunning landscape has been made famous by Monet’s art. The thick pebble beach beckons one to walk along the shores. The charming resorts, plush hotels, and the quaint wood covered market add to its evergreen charm. The view from the cliffside Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Garde is even more breathtaking.

#18 The Fairy Pools, Scotland

The Fairy Pools are located at Glenbrittle on the Isle of Skye. Ancient Scottish folk tales talk about fairies bathing in the rock pool’s cold waters, which led to its name. They are fed by a series of waterfalls from the Cuillin Mountains and are legendary for their beauty. A natural arch adds to the stunning beauty of these beautifully crystal-clear blue pools. The first waterfall is the highest and forms the deepest pool. The hiking path consists of lush greenery, rugged boulders, and river crossings over stepping stones.

#17 Nuuk, Greenland

Nuuk, Greenland’s tiny capital city, is pristine and stunning. It is located on the southwest coast of Greenland and is known for its extensive fjord system. The complex water system is the second largest in the world. For visitors, life-altering experiences include icebergs, waterfalls, and humpback whales. There are numerous inlets and islands that visitors can explore via kayaks and boats. Set against the backdrop of Sermitsiaq mountain, it is one of the best places to witness the northern lights. The waterfront is dotted with brightly colored houses that are showcased in so many Instagram posts. The colorful vista forms a perfect contrast to the freezing arctic weather.

#16 Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitviče Lakes National Park is a famous forest reserve located in central Croatia. Spanning 295-sq.-km, it is known as one of the most gorgeous forest reserves in the world. The park is filled with natural wonders like sky blue lakes, limestone canyons, cascading waterfalls, and numerous hiking trails. The chain of 16 terraced lakes is all interconnected, which gradually extends into a limestone canyon. They are joined by waterfalls and walkways that wind around and across the water. The preserve is located between the cities of Zagreb and Zadar and is populated by diverse plants and wildlife.

#15 The Azores, Portugal

The Azores are an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic and a self-governing region of Portugal. They are a group of volcanic islands known for their dramatic beauty. There is a rich abundance of wildlife here. The islands are characterized by dramatic landscapes, green pastures, fishing villages, and blue hydrangeas hedgerows. The largest island is called São Miguel, known for the Gorreana Tea Plantation and its lake-filled calderas. Almost all the islands offer tourist hospitality along with myriad adventure sports. The Islands’ rugged beauty is home to the 2,351m Mt. Pico and famous vineyards sheltered by boulders.

#14 Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Serengeti National Park, located in northern Tanzania, is one of the world’s best wildlife sanctuaries. Established in 1952, it is best known for its massive annual migration of zebra and wildebeest. The park covers 5,700 sq: miles and offers endless vistas of clear blue skies and vast plains. The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth with its diverse resident population. The impressive fauna includes birds, lions, elephants, leopards, cheetahs, rhinos, and giraffes. The flora and fauna have remained rich for the past million years. Its natural beauty forms the backdrop for safari photography for decades.

#13 Arunachal Pradesh, India

Tucked away in the eastern fringes of the Himalayas, Arunachal Pradesh is the northeasternmost state of India. It is known as the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ and is separated from China in the north by the McMahon Line. It also shares international borders with Bhutan in the west and Myanmar in the east. In all of its pristine glory, nature offers some of the most stunning scenic vistas in the world. The terrain mostly consists of deep valleys flanked by Himalayan mountains. The land rises from the plains through steep slopes, densely forested hills, and extends into the snow-capped peaks. Travelers explore the remote tribal villages, offbeat trails, mountain valleys, and gushing rivers.

#12 Waitomo Glowworm Cave, New Zealand

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are located at Waitomo on the North Island of New Zealand. It is known as one of New Zealand’s best natural attractions. The million-year-old limestone caves offer visitors a magical and once-in-a-lifetime experience. The caves get their name from the population of a bioluminescent glow worm species called Arachnocampa Luminosa. These are found exclusively in the region. The cave tours have two levels the drier upper level, which shows the stunning, delicate cave formations. The lower level tours showcase the glow worm grotto. Visitors can take a boat ride and marvel at thousands of magical glowworms.

#11 Antarctica

Antarctica, Earth’s southernmost continent, is surrounded by the Southern Ocean and is the home of penguins. The expanse of 14,200,000 square kilometers is home to deep blue waters. It boasts of massive glaciers, vast starry skies, ice-covered mountains, and boulders. The fifth-largest continent is the coldest, with 98% of it covered in ice. It is also the least densely populated. Called the Land of Fabled Creatures, it offers stunning vistas. These include the Lemaire Channel, Paradise Bay, Deception Island, and the Observation Hill. The sunrise or sunset is one of the best ways to capture the South Pole’s beauty.

#10 Gobi Desert, Mongolia

The Gobi Desert, located in southern Mongolia, is one of the world’s great deserts. The Great Gobi National Park is one of the largest World Biospheres. It offers sweeping vistas of rocky outcrops and gravel plains dotted by lush greenery. Amid the barren expanse, the land is home to rare flora and fauna species. It is home to the last remaining wild Bactrian (two-humped) camels and the wild ass. It also boasts of a small population critically endangered Gobi bears, the only desert-inhabiting bear. The extreme climate and strong winds could make travel dangerous. Visitors can soak in the colossal sand dunes, ice-filled canyons, dinosaur fossils, and camel treks.

#9 Lake Vättern, Sweden

The majestic Lake Vättern is a 129 km long body of freshwater shaped like a long finger pointing at Scandinavia’s tip. It is the fifth-largest lake in Europe and the second-largest in Sweden. Visitors can soak up the stunning vistas, beautiful sights, long, Riviera-like beaches, and amazing wildlife. The lake is connected to the massive waterways of southern Sweden and is best toured with local guides. Sudden storms may, at times, disrupt its otherwise unrivaled tranquility. It is a popular fishing destination. There are varied fish species remaining in its freshwater, some existing since the Ice Age. The inland lake is always great for fishing.

#8 Canterbury, England

Canterbury is a charming English town steeped in history and culture. Immortalized by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, it has retained its idyllic nature for centuries. The historic Canterbury Cathedral is the headquarters of the Church of England and Anglican Communion. The southeast England city was a pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. The striking Tudor architecture blends with the medieval cobbled streets and timber-framed houses. Originally built by the Romans, the Romanesque and Gothic elements still show in the stone carvings and stained-glass windows. The scenic canal is a big tourist draw as well.

#7 Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Its natural splendor has been immortalized in many paintings over the centuries. Located in central Italy, it is also well known for its vineyards. It has a diverse topography that includes the rugged Apennine Mountains. The island of Elba’s beaches on the Tyrrhenian Sea is a big draw, as are the Chianti’s olive groves and vineyards. Visitors come here to soak the tranquil beauty of the countryside. They can relax, sip some wine, or hike through the beautiful scenery. The fields of yellow sunflowers, the vineyards, and the rustic medieval towns are a photographer’s dream.

#6 Glencoe, Scotland

Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands is known for its unrivaled beauty. The larger-than-life landscape offers visitors a diverse and otherworldly experience. Centuries of glaciers and volcanic activities have created the green mountains and valleys. The area is known for waterfalls and trails and is very popular with hikers and nature-lovers. Red deer and golden eagles beckon wildlife lovers. Winter months attract skiers and snowboarders. Peaks like the Buachaille Etive Mor and Bidean Nam Bian attract climbers year-round.

#5 Granada, Spain

The city of Granada is located in the Andalusia region in southern Spain. The natural beauty of the area combines with the grand medieval architecture to attract visitors all year round. The main attraction is the massive castle called the Alhambra. It dates back to Moorish occupation and has been home to many Arab Sultans. The fortress complex includes pools, fountains, royal palaces, patios, and gardens. The thousand years of Islamic influence is evident in the buildings, the quaint streets, and markets. These, against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevadas, create a mind-blowing experience for all.

#4 Grindelwald, Switzerland

The sleepy village of Grindelwald forms the backdrop for the perfect painting, photograph, or story. Located in the Bernese Oberland area in the Swiss Alps, it is a popular tourist destination. For locals, it’s the perfect weekend getaway. Summer is warm and beautiful, with many options to hike or simply soak in nature’s beauty. It is even more popular in winter with its annual sporting events like the toboggan run, snowboarding, and skiing. Climbers who wish to ascend the Eiger Mountain use Grindelwald as their base camps. Visitors also flock to the glacial gorge, Gletscherschlucht, located just outside the village.

#3 Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Lake Tekapo is a glacial lake located in New Zealand’s South Island region. It is a part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve. The waters of Lake Tekapo are milky-blue all year round and dazzling by night. It is a perfect spot for stargazing. The picturesque small town with its breathtaking scenery attracts visitors from all over the world. In winter, the surrounding snow-capped mountains are reflected in the water. In Fall, it is surrounded by gorgeous orange trees. In summer, pink and purple lupins line the banks offering a burst of colors.

#2 Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls, located in Southern Ontario, is perhaps the most popular tourist destination. It features as a must-visit place on most people’s bucket lists. The falls lie in the Golden Horseshoe region on the western bank of the Niagara River. The tremendous force of the thunderous, rushing water creates an icy and high-rising mist. The light and sounds show at night add to the glory. The intrinsic beauty of the Falls has mesmerized us for centuries. The unstoppable flow over the arching fault in the riverbed, the gushing currents are unforgettable. The curtain behind the Falls creates an ethereal atmosphere.

#1 Faroe Islands, Denmark

The beauty of the Faroe Islands still contains its pristine glory. Due to its remote location, it is relatively unmarred by tourist footfalls. It lies in the Northeast Atlantic, halfway between Scotland and Iceland. It was named Føroyar by the Norsemen, who settled here 1200 years ago. The Nordic meaning of Føroyar or Faroe Islands is Sheep Islands. It is an archipelago of 18 mountainous islands and covers a total land area of 1,399 square kilometers. The islands are rich in diverse flora and fauna.

Nabta Playa

In the Sahara Desert of southern Egypt, west of Aswan, is an area known as Nabta Playa. Here an ancient stone calendar circle, as well as many other megalithic erections and structures, was identified by archaeologist Fred Wendorf (Southern Methodist University) and his team and dated to circa 4000 BCE and earlier. 11

Thomas Brophy 12 has carried out extensive analyses of Nabta. According to Brophy, three stones inside the Nabta calendar circle represent the belt of Orion (just as the three pyramids of Giza represent the belt of Orion according the research of Robert Bauval 13). The stones on the Playa and the corresponding stars in the sky aligned on summer solstice nights between about 6400 BCE and 4900 BCE. Brophy found even more correlations, however. Three other stones in the Nabta calendar circle correspond to the configuration of Orion’s head and shoulders as they appeared in circa 16,500 BCE, about half a precessional cycle earlier than the previously mentioned alignment. Based on these and other analyses of monoliths in the area, Brophy concludes that the early inhabitants of Nabta Playa possessed incredibly sophisticated knowledge, the type of knowledge we associate with high culture and civilisation. Furthermore, the dates of the Nabta structures are in line with my dating of the oldest portions of the Great Sphinx, and at both Giza and Nabta the constellation of Orion (which represented the god Osiris during dynastic times) was of prime importance.

Northern Australia Was Once Smushed Up Against North America

This part of Australia was next to Canada…a very, very long time ago. Way pre-cow.

Recently, a group of scientists released a paper in the journal Geology in which the researchers showed, with a great pile of evidence, that part of Australia (a northern bit) once was part of Canada. This, according to their research, would have been true 1.7 billion years ago. To humans living on Earth today, this is a fun and surprising fact, because in our time, Canada and Australia are about as far from each other as two pieces of land can be. In a standard world map, they’re in opposite corners from each other, Canada in the top left, Australia at the bottom right, and even if one were to reorient this view, they would still have the whole of the Pacific Ocean between them.

But the evidence is very strong that the area around Georgetown, Australia, which is located in the northern bit of the northeastern state of Queensland, was once smashed up next to North America (also known as Laurentia, to earth scientists studying supercontinents). The sedimentary layers of rock found in that area bear a strong resemblance to parallel formations in Canada, and measures of paleomagnetism, which show the past workings of the Earth’s magnetic field, back up that connection.

The researchers behind this work, led by Curtin University in Perth, Australia, started examining the deep history of Georgetown a couple years back as part of a larger project trying to understand the creation of the supercontinent Nuna, which formed approximately 1.6 billion years ago. In the picture that earth scientists have been able to piece together of Earth’s early history, Nuna is the oldest known supercontinent—it may be the first true supercontinent on Earth.

Sandstone sedimentary rocks in Georgetown, deposited off the coast of North America adjacent to present-day Canada. Curtin University

Not so long ago—about four decades past, a miniscule increment in the history of Earth—the only supercontinent scientists had conceived of was Pangea, which formed 335 million years ago and began to break apart 160 million years after that. But in the 1980s, earth scientists started to think about what the world pre-Pangea would have looked like, and in the early 1990s, they had created models of Rodinia, a supercontinent that formed 1.3 to 0.9 billion years ago. Scientists are still puzzling out the exact organization of land in the time of Rodinia—those first models were called into question by later work in the early 2000s, and, as David A. D. Evans, of Yale University, wrote in a 2013 review paper, “paleomagnetism struck next,” uncovering new data that pushed scientists to re-evaluate earlier ideas.

All the while, there was a lurking suspicion that perhaps Earth had yet another supercontinent in its history, one that pre-dated Rodinia, and more recently scientists have been working to reconstruct the history of that supercontinent, now usually called Nuna. (Other proposed names for the continent have included: Hudsonland, Columbia, Capricornia, and Midgardia.) They have discovered that Nuna formed more recently than once believed𔃉.6 billion years ago instead of 1.8 billion years ago.

The study of Georgetown is one piece of a larger puzzle. “Even though the investigated region is relatively small, the implications are broad-reaching,” says Evans, who collaborates with the Curtin researchers but was not an author on this particular study. “If one can identify even a tiny fragment of one ancient continent embedded within another, then that connection speaks to an original continuity between the larger landmasses”—a phenomenon, Evans says, that Ian Dalziel, a geologist at the University of Texas at Austin, calls a “tectonic business card.”

“If you look in the pocketbook of a person after a party and find someone else’s business card, that’s tangible evidence of their meeting—even though the card itself is a trivial amount of material,” explains Evans. “The rocks recently described in the Georgetown Inlier of northeastern Australia are so distinctive to North American geology, according to the authors, that it’s as if it was like a business card with ‘North America’ written on it.”

Australia—totally all over the place. Reto Stöckli/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

In the world of Nuna, the connection between Australia and North America is looking strong at the moment. But there are other fun juxtapostions of place in this ancient arrangement of the world. “For example, we published results that allowed us to have the southeast coastal zone of China connected with southwestern Laurentia—the U.S.—at least since around Nuna time,” says Zheng-Xiang Li, one of the co-authors of the new paper. “And that continental piece then stuck with another small craton from present-day South China during the assembly of the younger supercontinent Rodinia, sitting between Australia and the U.S.”

When you think about the task these scientists are attempting, it can be a little bit mind-boggling. For hundreds of millions of years, cratons—the most stable pieces of continental crust—have been moving around the planet, ending up in different configurations that can make the same watery sphere seem strange and new, like the same furniture rearranged differently in a room. These ancient movements, says Li, are “relevant to everything that surrounds us today, from the continental history, discovery of mineral and energy resources, life evolution, to environmental and climatic changes.” Using clues left behind all that time ago, in rocks that are still around today, we can understand how different our world was far back into the distant past.


Aboriginal land Edit

The traditional custodians of the fish traps are the Ngemba Wayilwan (or Wailwan) people. Nearby Aboriginal groups include the Baranbinja, Morowari, Kula, Naualko, Ualarai, Weilwan, Kamilaroi, Kamu and Paarkinlji people. It has been estimated that the region supported a population of about 3,000 people prior to European settlement. The river people generally settled along the main rivers in summer and moved to regular campsites located in drier country during the winter months. [1]

While the rivers acted as important travel and trade routes, each tribe had a clearly defined territory, the boundaries of which were commonly marked by prominent physical features. Evidence of the occupation and use of these places survives across the landscape in the form of open campsites, middens, scarred trees, stone quarries, stone arrangements, burial grounds, ceremonial sites and rock art. Archaeological remains are especially concentrated along riverine corridors, reflecting the intensive occupation of these areas. [3] In 1829 Charles Sturt came across what he considered to be a permanent camp of 70 huts each capable of housing 12-15 people beside the Darling River near present-day Bourke. Similarly, Thomas Mitchell reported the existence of permanent huts on both banks of the Darling River above present-day Wilcannia in 1835. [3] [1]

Before the British came, thousands of people visited these fish traps for large corroborees in which each group's use of the fish traps was controlled by strict protocols. Brewarrina retains a rich collection of Aboriginal sites consisting of axe grinding grooves, burial grounds, open campsites, knapping sites, scarred trees, ceremonial sites, middens and stone quarries. Prior to European disturbance, both banks of the river at the fish traps were lined by almost continuous middens with an accumulation of shells and other objects more than a metre deep. In 1901, the anthropologist Robert Hamilton Mathews noted more than two dozen axe grinding places along the river banks at the fish traps. The Barwon Four Reserve on the northern bank of the Barwon River contains 250 recorded sites including two known burial grounds. [3] [1]

Creation story Edit

The creation of the Ngunnhu is enshrined in ancient tradition. Many Aboriginal people believe that the fish traps were designed and created by Baiame, a great ancestral being who is respected by numerous cultural groups in western NSW, including the Ngemba Wayilwan, Morowari. Walkwan, Wongaibon, Ualarai, Kamilaroi and Wlradjuri. The creation story is well known to Aboriginal people of the region, having been passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation. Elements of the story have also been recorded by various European visitors to the fish traps, from Robert Hamilton Mathews in 1903 through to his granddaughter-in-law Janet Mathews in 1985. [4] [1]

According to legend, Baiame camped at a granite outcrop called Bai near present-day Byrock. A rock-hole located here was dug by him and the small depression nearby is where Baiame and his wives did their cooking. On the rock at Bai are impressions of a number of Baiame's weapons and utensils including his fighting club or "bunid" spear and dilly bag. He moved from here to Cobar where he camped in a large cave. The visible copper at Cobar is said to have been formed by the excrement of Baiame. From Cobar he traveled north. [4] [1]

Baiame reached the site where the Ngunnhu now stands during a time of drought. The Ngemba Wayilwan people were facing famine as Gurrungga (the deep waterhole at Brewarrina upstream of the rock bar) had completely dried up. Upon seeing their plight, Baiame conceived of a gift for the Ngemba Wayilwan - an intricate series of fish traps in the dry river bed. He designed the traps by casting his great net across the course of the river. Using the pattern of their father's net, Baiame's two sons Booma-ooma-nowi and Ghinda-inda-mui built the traps from stones. [4] [1]

Baiame then showed the Ngemba Wayilwan men how to call the rain through dance and song. Days of rain followed, filling the river channel and flooding Baiame's net which filled with thousands of fish. The old men rushed to block the entry of the stone traps, herding fish through the pens. Baiame instructed the Ngemba Wayilwan people in how to use and maintain the Ngunnhu. Although they were to be the custodians of the fishery, Baiame declared that the maintenance and use of the traps should be shared with other cultural groups in the area. People from all of the groups that came to use and rely upon the fish traps had deep feelings of gratitude to Baiame. [4] [1]

Two large footprints made by Baiame remained at the Ngunnhu. One was located opposite the rock called Muja, the other was some 350m downstream of the traps on the southern bank of the river. One of these imprints is still visible. It is a strong belief that wherever Baiame camped, some of his spirit remains at the site. This applies to the Ngunnhu. [5] [1]

After creating the Ngunnhu, Baiame's family group travelled further to the east. Their path is now the winding course of the Barwon River. The tracks of his spirit dogs who moved separately across the landscape formed the tributary streams of the Warrego, Culgoa, Bokhara and Bogan Rivers. Before rejoining Baiame at a camp between Cumborah and Walgett, the dogs camped together on an arid plain, transforming it into Narran Lake. The Ualarai people call Narran Lake "Galiburima" which means Wild Dog Water. [1]

The story of Baiame as creator of the fish traps was reported by Kathleen Langloh Parker in her 1905 book, The Euahlayi Tribe: 'Byamee is the originator of things less archaic and important than totemism. There is a large stone fish-trap at Brewarrina, on the Barwan River. It is said to have been made by Byamee and his gigantic sons, just as later Greece attributed the walls of Tiryns to the Cyclops, or as Glasgow Cathedral has been explained in legend as the work of the Picts. Byamee also established the rule that there should be a common camping-ground for the various tribes, where, during the fishing festival, peace should be strictly kept, all meeting to enjoy the fish, and do their share towards preserving the fisheries.' [6] [1]

The travels of Baiame are only one of the many creation stories set within the landscape of the Brewarrina district. Others include the stories of the kurrea serpent living in Boobera Lagoon on the Barwon River, the great warrior Toolalla, an eminent man called Yooneeara, and Mullian, the eagle, at nearby Cuddie Springs. [7] [1]

The linkages between landscape features through long-distance creation stories means that many of them, including the fish traps, are important to Aboriginal people from distant places, as well as local communities. [3] [1]

Age of the fish traps Edit

It has been suggested that these fish traps may be the oldest human construction in the world. The age of the fish traps is currently unknown. [1]

Given the location in the bed of a river, the fish traps would have been a dynamic structure, constantly changing. The river flow itself would have modified the fish traps which would also have been continually added to or altered by Aboriginal people over the course of hundreds or thousands of years. [5] This constant reworking of the construction means that it is difficult to assign an original date to it. [1]

An indication of when the Brewarrina fish traps were constructed may possibly be gauged by considering changes in the flow of the Barwon River. Construction of the fish traps would only have worked if low water levels were relatively frequent and regular in the river. Evidence from the lower Darling River indicates that during the past 50,000 years prolonged periods of low flow occurred between 15,000 and 9,000 years ago, and then from about 3,000 years ago up until the present time. Whether or not these dates also apply to low flow periods in the Barwon River is currently unknown. [8] [1]

Early European descriptions Edit

The earliest known reference to the fish traps by a European was made in 1848 by the then Commissioner of Crown Lands at Wellington, W. C. Mayne. [9] His observations, albeit brief, were made within the first decade of European settlement of the district:

In a broad but shallow part of the head of the River where there are numerous rocks, the Aborigines have formed several enclosures or Pens, if I may use the word, into which the fish are carried, or as it were decoyed by the current, are there retained. To form these must have been a work of no trifling labour, and no slight degree of ingenuity and skill must have been exercised in their construction, as I was informed by men who have passed several years in the vicinity, that not even the heaviest floods displace the stones forming these enclosures. [10] [1]

A second, equally brief description was published in 1861 by William Richard Randell, the captain of the river boat Gemini, who had navigated the upper reaches of the Darling River as far as the "Nonah" in 1859. His report in the Journal of the Royal Geographic Society states:

The obstacle presented to the navigation at Nonah is a fall at low water and a very swift rapid at the time of the Gemini's visit the descent being about 8 feet in 200 or 300 yards, and the water boiling and foaming over rocks for that distance. It is called the Black's fishing-grounds in consequence of their having (assisted by natural facilities) built a great number of circular walls of stone in the bed of the river extending from below the falls to a distance of half a mile above. [11] [1]

The first known detailed studies of the fish traps were made in the early years of the 20th century. The surveyor Robert Hamilton Mathews, one of the pioneers of Australian anthropology, visited the fish traps in 1901. He prepared the first detailed documentation of the fish traps, relying heavily upon the knowledge of Aboriginal people he had met. In 1903, Mathews described the construction and layout of the fish traps in a paper published in the journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales. Five years after Mathews' visit, A. W. Mullen, a surveyor with the Western Lands Board of New South Wales, also surveyed the fish traps. Two versions of his plan survive. The most detailed of these is drawn in his field notebook. The second plan, dated 15 June 1906, is based upon the first but has been simplified. [12] [1]

When Mathews and Mullen surveyed the fish traps there were already far fewer traps than in pre-European times because of disuse or disturbance from the activities of early settlers. The key features of the construction of the fish traps as described by Mathews and Mullen are summarized in Hope and Vines (1994). [1]

About the same time as the first surveys of the fish traps were being conducted in the early 20th century, numerous photographs were taken of the fisheries. These are held in the Tyrell Collection in the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney. [13] [1]

Disruption and decline Edit

The appearance of Europeans on the banks of the Barwon River heralded the beginning of a prolonged period of dramatic, and often violent, disruption of Aboriginal society. It also marked the start of the deliberate and sometimes inadvertent degradation of Baiame's Ngunnhu. [14] [1]

Introduced diseases ravaged Aboriginal populations in advance of the first European explorers and settlers. During the 1820s and 1830s, smallpox epidemics spread along the important travel routes of the Murray and Darling River systems causing many deaths. [15] The first European explorer to visit the region, Captain Charles Sturt, reached the Darling River in 1829 by which time much disease prevailed throughout the tribes. [16] By 1836, white settlement had reached the junction of the Barwon and Castlereagh Rivers. Within three years, settlers had occupied land at Baiame's Ngunnhu. [17] [1]

The first legal title to land at Brewarrina was granted to the Lawson brothers in 1839. Their run, named "Moheni", extended along the southern bank of the Barwon River adjacent to the fish traps. The opposite bank was included in Quantambone station which had been established by Major George Druitt. Within a decade, river frontage properties were occupied along the length of the Barwon River. [18] With the concentration of settlers and their stock along the rivers of the region, Aboriginal people were dispossessed of many of their important waterholes, hunting grounds, camping areas and ceremonial sites, disrupting the traditional life of the Ngemba Wayilwan, Kamilaroi and Ualarai people. [19] [1]

The twenty years that followed the initial pastoral invasion of Aboriginal lands were characterized by violent clashes. According to Dargin it was a time of "many killings, retaliatory raids, punitive expeditions, revenge or fear killings, or more euphemistically, grazing or property management or sport. For the first decade of white settlement, guerrilla warfare prevailed". [20] [18] [1]

In addition to the loss of their tribal lands, a key grievance was the abduction and abuse of Aboriginal women. Frontier life was considered to be too harsh for white women, leading to an imbalance between the numbers of men and women in the settler population. As a result, the abduction of Aboriginal women by white settlers became a common practice. In one recorded incident in 1859 a stockman at Walcha Hut on the Lawson run was warned by Aborigines to release one of their women. He refused, and both he and the woman were killed. In retaliation, the settlers shot a large number of Aboriginal men, women and children in what became known as the Hospital Creek Massacre. [19] [1]

The rock bar across the Barwon River at the fish traps quickly became a common watering and camping place for teamsters and drovers moving mobs of cattle. This appropriation of the fish traps angered the Ngemba Wayilwan people, as evidenced by the recollections of William Kerrigan: "My father and his two brothers, Bob and Andrew, came to Brewarrina when the blacks were bad, my father had someone with him when he used to cart water from the rocky crossing, each one used to take turn about with the rifle in case a wild black showed his head in the scrub on the bank". [18] [1]

Prompted by the loss of access to the fish traps for Aboriginal people, the then Commissioner of Crown Lands at Wellington, W. C. Mayne, attempted to have the area around the fishery reserved for Aboriginal people in 1848. Nothing came of Mayne's recommendation. [21] [1]

Large gatherings of Aboriginal people came to be viewed with suspicion. A policy of detribalisation was introduced, in which family groups were separated from each other at different pastoral stations. The effects of this policy and the ongoing violence on the use of the fish traps by Aboriginal people were catastrophic. The last time the fish traps were fully utilised and regularly maintained was probably during the 1850s or 1860s. [21] [1]

Township of Brewarrina Edit

European occupation of the Brewarrina district not only made the traditional use and maintenance of the fish traps difficult but resulted in much active destruction of them. [21] [1]

The rock bar at the fish traps provided a ready-made river crossing for settlers establishing stations to the north. The abundant stones of the fish traps were used to fill in holes in the crossing to make a ford suitable for bullock drays. But it was the arrival of Captain William Randall in his riverboat the "Gemini" in 1859 that dramatically hastened the demise of the traps. As the head of navigation on the Darling River, the site had great potential to be developed as a port to service the riverboat trade. [22] [1]

The township of Brewarrina was surveyed in 1861 and formally proclaimed on 28 April 1863. As the town developed, rocks were removed from the fish traps for use in building foundations and to upgrade the ford across the river into a causeway. Randell, in an 1861 report on his pioneering trip, had noted that:

I believe that a passage may be very easily made through these rocks [the fish traps], so that steamers could ascend the rapids with the assistance of warps in seasons of moderate flow. [23] [1]

His suggestion was acted upon and rocks that formed parts of the fish traps were removed to create a passage for steamers and barges. Additional rocks were removed or displaced to free riverboats that periodically became trapped in the fish traps at low water levels. [23] [1]

In 1872 a pontoon bridge was constructed across the river just downstream of the fish traps for the crossing of sheep, wool and other goods. Two years later a public punt was established nearby for the ferrying of light vehicles. [23] [1]

At this time, some 300 Aboriginal people lived at Brewarrina. But with the arrival of Sergeant Steele in 1878, Aboriginal people were forced to camp away from the town on the northern bank of the Barwon River adjacent to the fish traps. They were instructed to only visit town during daylight hours and at 6pm each evening Steele enforced a curfew with a horsewhip. [24] [1]

The "problem" of Aboriginal people camping around Brewarrina was deemed by the first Protector of Aborigines to be one of most pressing issues in NSW. [25] In 1885 the Aborigines Protection Board moved the Aboriginal people to a reserve on the northern bank of the river two miles from town. In the following year they were moved again, still further from town, to the Brewarrina Aboriginal Mission, a mission established by the Aborigines Protection Association. This new mission was located ten miles out of town on a 5,000 acre reserve. On the mission, people were prevented from eating their traditional foods. Instead they were served rations of sugar, tea, coffee and refined flour. They were also forbidden to speak their own language or participate in any of their cultural practices or customs. [23] [1]

Despite this segregation and the forced abandonment of their cultural traditions, a report in the Sydney Mail in 1888 claimed that: "The blacks still adhere to their old habit of frequenting the Fisheries at proper seasons, when they rejoice in high living, coupled with corroborees". [24] But by then, the great corroborees of earlier times were no more, with gatherings attracting hundreds rather than thousands of people. [26] [1]

By 1897 the Brewarrina Aboriginal Mission was home to about 43 Aboriginal people. [25] According to A.W. Mullen writing in 1906: "there is a woman at present at the Mission station called Murray or Nelly Taylor whose husband (now dead) for years back helped to keep these Fishery in repair and told the younger members of the tribe that the aborigines built the Fishery - this woman is now about 70 years of age and her husband was much older than she was". [27] [1]

During the early years of the 20th century, the fish traps continued to receive some use and parts of the system were kept in repair by the small community of Ngemba Wayilwan and Morowari people living at the mission. Doreen Wright of the Ngemba Wayilwan people recalled: 'Old King Clyde, he was the boss of the stone fish traps here in the river at Brewarrina. When the old people wanted to get fish down at the traps the old King would tell them all to stand out on the banks. The old King would dive down into the fish going into the stone fish traps. The old people wouldn't have to spear the fish, they would just walk into the river and catch them under the gills and fill their bugguda, their dilly bags, up with them'. [28] [1]

Some of the traps were still being maintained by people from the mission in 1912. They replaced smaller fallen rocks and frequently diverted the water flow to cut away deposits of silt. In 1915 just one man, Steve Shaw, was working the traps. He would block the entrance to a trap with an iron wheel covered with wire and wade through the trap disturbing any fish with a length of wire and driving them into the shallow end where he caught them in a small wire net. [9] [1]

Between World War I and World War II, the fish traps, then known as "The Rocks" became a place for Aboriginal people to drink alcohol. With police patrols searching for drunks, many Aboriginal people stopped visiting the area during this period. [29] During the 1920s and 1930s, many people were brought to the Brewarrina mission from places such as Tibooburra, Angledool, Goodooga, Culgoa, Collarenebri and Walgett as Aboriginal settlements in those towns were closed down. [25] This centralisation of Aboriginal communities resulted in the Brewarrina mission becoming the largest such institution in Australia until it was closed in 1966. [30] [1]

Dray loads of stone continued to be taken from the fish traps during the 1920s, with even larger quantities of stone removed in later years for roadworks. [9] Still at this time, the custom by which members of another tribe could only catch fish at the fish traps after gaining permission from a Ngemba Wayilwan elder was still recognized. [31] [1]

Floods also took their toll on the fish traps. Two large floods in the 1950s caused large parts of the fisheries to be covered in silt. [31] [1]

Construction of the Brewarrina Weir, which was opened in 1971, resulted in the destruction of the remaining parts of the upstream set of fish traps. As part of the weir development, a 90m-long channel was built from the original fishway at the weir to the middle of the river course. This involved the removal of additional stones and the pouring of concrete in the river channel in order to back water up to the fishway. [32] A single Aboriginal man, Cassidy Samuels, protested against the construction of the weir, chaining himself to the safety nets erected at the site during blasting works. [29] [1]

For more than 160 years, the fish traps has endured deliberate and inadvertent destruction and suffered from the loss of traditional management and maintenance. Yet despite this, substantial elements of the fish traps and its significance to Aboriginal people have survived. [29] [1]

Recent years Edit

Two attempts to reconstruct or repair sections of the fish traps have occurred in recent times. In the early 1970s the Brewarrina Council obtained a grant from the Directorate of Aboriginal Welfare to employ local Aboriginal people to restore parts of the fish traps. The work undertaken was not documented, though there are theories about which structures were possibly associated with this early reconstruction exercise. More of the contemporary stone wall structures may be the result of building work reportedly undertaken in recent years by children and adults wishing to privately reconstruct the fish traps. [33] [1]

Despite their imperfect condition, the Brewarrina Fish Traps / Baiame's Ngunnhu remain an inspirational destination for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike. Beyond its role as a tourism drawcard, the fish traps are also viewed by Aboriginal people as a teaching place, one that can contribute to cultural renewal, understanding and tolerance. [34] [1]

The Brewarrina Aboriginal Cultural Museum has been constructed on the south bank of the river near the fish traps, a free-form curvilinear building consisting of a series of earth-covered domes that represent traditional shelters or gunyas. Funded by a bicentennial grant, the museum was designed by the NSW Government Architect's office under project architect Olga Kosterin and officially opened in 1988. It won an Australian Institute of Architects Balcakett Award for regional architecture in 1991. The mission statement for the museum stated:

To preserve, develop and promote our ancient culture, heritage and tradition. To enlighten the broader community and most importantly our own young. To let them be made aware of their ancestors, let them be proud of their descendants, and let them know how they struggled, suffered and created happiness, so that we still survive in the driest continent on earth - knowing that through different governments and policies over the last 150 years we still have our own identity. This project Is about Aboriginal pride. [34] [1]

In 1996, rebuilding to some of the walls that had been neglected over time took place by members of the Aboriginal community, particularly through Community Development Employment Projects. [1]

In 2000 the Brewarrina Fish Traps were listed on the NSW State Heritage Register (SHR) and in 2006 they were listed on the Australian National Heritage List (called by their Aboriginal name, 'Baiame's Ngunnhu"). [1]

In 2008, federal funding was announced for interpretation works, with $180,000 for "keeping place" works, alongside fish traps. [1]

Between 2006 and 2012, the NSW Department of Fisheries underwent an extensive local consultation process to build a new fishway in the Brewarrina weir just east of the fish traps to allow more indigenous fish to navigate the river upstream. In its final form as a curving rock stairway adjoining the weir and next to the south bank of the river at Weir Park, the fishway should not be confused with the traditional fish traps located some metres further downstream from the weir. [1]

The Brewarrina Aboriginal Fish Traps, also known as Baiame's Ngunnhu, consists of a series of dry-stone weirs and ponds arranged in the form of a stone net across the Barwon River in north west NSW. They occupy the entire length of a 400m-long rock bar that extends from bank to bank across the river bed. Here, the river is fast-flowing and shallow, descending 3.35m over a set of four low rapids [35] [1]

In 1994 Hope and Vines summarized the known characteristics of the fish trap construction. The construction methods display sophistication and economy with rocks placed tightly together, often with their length across the wall rather than along it. The result is a knitting of the courses together, a method that provides greater strength. Further stability is gained by the technique of placing large stones along the tops of the walls, like capping stones on a dry stone wall. The curved forms of individual traps are also probably designed to enhance stability. The teardrop-shaped curves act as arches against the weight of the water with the tail sections following the lines of the currents. [36] [1]

Natural context Edit

The fish traps are located in the Darling Riverine Plains Bioregion, a semi-arid area characterised by a hot and dry climate. The bioregion has undergone significant modification since the commencement of European occupation in the first half of the nineteenth century. Extensive areas within the bioregion have been cleared and the combination of droughts, overstocking of properties, the spread of weed species and changes to fire regimes have contributed to widespread land degradation. The poor state of the Barwon River, no different to the condition of most rivers in the bioregion, has impacted upon the integrity of the fish traps. [37] [38] [1]

The Barwon River Catchment occupies part of a large Cainozoic basin where flood plain sediments deposited by ancient rivers have buried the underlying bedrock in all but a few places, one of which is the fish traps. [38] Light grey clay stained with the yellows and reds of iron oxide extends as a low cliff along the southern bank of the river downstream of the fish traps. This clay exposure was an important source of ochre for bodily decoration and other use by the Ngemba people. [39] [1]

Barwon River Edit

The fish traps are situated at the southern edge of the Great Artesian Basin, the groundwater of which sustains the base flows of the rivers of the region. [39] [1]

The Barwon River originates in the Great Dividing Range in south-east Queensland, north east of Brewarrina. Its headwaters feed the Macintyre River which marks a section of the Queensland / New South Wales state border. The Macintyre is known as the Barwon River downstream of the town of Mungindi. The river changes names once again at its confluence with the Culgoa River, some 80 km downstream of the fish traps, to become the Darling River [40] [1]

The Barwon River is classified as a controlled river with reduced flow. The reduced flow volumes and variability are primarily due to upstream harvesting and extraction of surface water and groundwater for agricultural purposes. Key water quality problems in the river include contamination with agricultural pesticides, high concentrations of nutrients and salt, the large quantity of suspended sediments present and the occurrence of algal blooms. [41] [1]

The degraded state of the Barwon River is reflected in the listing of the aquatic ecological community of the natural drainage system of the lowland catchment of the Darling-Barwon River as an endangered ecological community. [42] [1]

Sources of river impairment exist within the curtilage itself. The Brewarrina sewerage plant outfall pipe discharges into the river near the ochre beds while the concrete form of the Brewarrina Weir dominates the upstream end of the traps. [42] [1]

Modification of natural context Edit

Sections of the southern bank have been highly modified through the construction or placement of a range of soil stabilization and flood mitigation measures. These include the:

  • formation of earth banks
  • laying of rows of sandbags (filled with sand and cement)
  • use of rock-filled gabions
  • covering of an entire section of slope with imported rocks (wire-covered with concrete edges)
  • installation of steel section and concrete retaining walls at river level
  • use of rows of concrete blocks
  • laying of geotextile sheeting
  • placement of granite boulders in the river channel
  • construction of a concrete flood levee wall running along the top of the bank. [43] and
  • construction of a fishway largely constructed of stone boulders through on the southern end of the weir. [1]

Little archaeological material is likely to remain in situ on the southern bank of the river due to the highly disturbed nature of this area. Parts of the southern bank within the curtilage have previously served as a rubbish tip and a landscaped park, while a series of major bank stabilisation works has resulted in the importation of new material and the removal or burial of the original soil layer. [33] [1]

Weir Edit

The Brewarrina Weir, or Darling Weir Number 15, is a 1.2m high fixed crest structure built at the head of the rock bar upon which the Fish traps are situated. Officially opened on 20 August 1971, the weir was built to provide a domestic water supply for the township of Brewarrina. Sixteen irrigators also extract water from the weir pool which extends upstream for a distance of approximately 100 km. [42] [1]

The weir has adversely impacted upon the integrity of the fish traps, and on the ecology of the river. Apart from the direct physical damage to the upstream set-of fish traps, construction of the weir has altered the flow of the river and the natural processes of sediment erosion, transportation and deposition. The weir evenly distributes water flow across the river channel except at low flows when the fishway installed at the time of construction channels water to the northern side of the river. [44] By contrast, the natural, low-flow of the river followed a channel near the southern bank. This change of flow patterns has resulted in the formation of silt banks that have buried portions of the fish traps. [42] [1]

The presence of the weir has also reduced the occurrence of small river height rises that naturally flush the system. The rocks of the fish traps are often covered with algae and the trapping of fine sediments and nutrients behind the weir has led to an increased incidence of blue-green algal blooms in the weir pool. The still water habitats created by the weir are more suited to introduced fish species, such as carp, than native fish. [42] [1]

The Brewarrina Weir was constructed with a submerged orifice fishway which proved to be too steep for native Australian fish to negotiate. [42] A new fishway with a less steep design, resembling a stairway of rocks, was installed on the weir in 2012. [1]

Built context associated with the fish traps Edit

The recreational and educational centrepiece at the fish traps is the Brewarrina Aboriginal Cultural Museum. The building, designed by the NSW Government Architect's Office with project architect Olga Kosterin, won a Blacket Award for regional architecture in 1991. [1]

The design of the Brewarrina Aboriginal Cultural Museum precinct is empathetic and commensurate with the significance of the place. The red soil and granite rocks within the precinct were imported in order to establish a bush tucker educational area. [39] [45] [1]

Various other visitor facilities are also located along the southern bank of the river within the curtilage. A large number and variety of signs have also been erected along the southern bank of the river. Most of this infrastructure is situated in Weir Park and was installed by the Brewarrina Shire Council during the 1970s and 1990s. An old tractor is also located in the park. [46] The tractor and most of the signage may be considered intrusive to the significance of the place. [1]

Much of the northern bank of the river is owned by the Brewarrina Local Aboriginal Land Council, which has built several residences there. The northern bank has been damaged through clearing, grazing and the movement of livestock, vehicles and people. Despite this, surveys of the Barwon Four Aboriginal Reserve have revealed 250 archaeological sites including burial grounds, open campsites, scarred trees and middens. The two traditional burial grounds located here are surrounded by protective fences, though bone fragments and stone artefacts are scattered throughout the area. [33] Visitor facilities are not provided on the northern bank of the river. [47] [1]

Condition Edit

As at 23 July 2013, the fish traps have been considerably damaged in the past. In the mid 1860s a crossing was built by European settlers at the upstream end of the fish traps by filling holes with stones from the traps and moving other stones to provide the ford that bullock drays could use. Stones from the traps were also moved to enable navigation of river craft, and in the 1920s dray loads of stone were removed for building foundations of buildings in the town. [1]

Construction of the 1.2-metre-high (3.9 ft) Brewarrina weir on the Barwon River in the mid 1960s further disturbed the remains of the fish traps at the upstream end. The weir has adversely impacted on the cultural integrity of the fish traps and on the ecology of the river. The weir, and the fishway that was included in the original construction, also changed the flow pattern through the traps. The weir evenly distributed flow across the river where beforehand it followed a channel near the south-east bank. The fishway also channelled low flows to the north side of the river. Prevention of fish migration by weirs and dams is a major reason for the decline in native fish populations in the Murray-Darling river system. [1]

Surveys of the remaining structures of the fish traps were conducted in 1991 and 1993 as part of the conservation planning study-undertaker by Jeanette Hope and Gary Vines (1994). The first of these surveys revealed that there were significant distortions in the plan of the fisheries prepared by Mullen in 1906, due to him apparently drawing in details of the walls and traps by eye. High water levels during the 1993 fieldwork prevented the second survey from being completed. [47] [1]

Utilising these two surveys and low level aerial photographs dating from 1980 and colour and infrared photographs taken in 1991, Hope and Vines made the following observations concerning the remaining early structures of the fisheries:

  • Many walls and traps shown on the 1906 plan no longer exist
  • Of the four original sets of traps, evidence of three sets remains visible (No evidence remains of the upstream set)
  • Of the original 1.8 km of walls (of traps, yards and connecting walls), 750m survive in some form
  • Only 5 per cent of the original system survives in a substantially intact form, that is, the stone structures are still standing on their original alignments and possibly to their original heights and
  • Some traces of approximately 50 per cent of the traps and walls shown on the early plans and photographs remain. [48][1]

There is unlikely to have been significant changes to the condition of the early structures of the fish traps since the early 1990s, as most of the surviving walls appear to be in a stable state of collapse. That said, minor displacements and rearrangements of rocks are likely to have occurred, largely through the activities of children playing and fishing in the river. Conversely, some of the silt banks currently found at the fish traps are relatively recent formations and it is possible that additional parts of the fish traps still exist beneath these deposits. [33] [1]

However, despite these impacts much of the fish traps remains, particularly at the downstream end. There is great potential to rehabilitate the individual traps to their original condition. [1]

NSW Edit

The traditional Aboriginal fish traps at Brewarrina, also known as Baiame's Ngunnhu [pronounced By-ah-mee's noon-oo], comprises a nearly half-kilometre long complex of dry-stone walls and holding ponds within the Barwon River in north west NSW. The fish traps are the largest group recorded in Australia and are arranged in an unusual and innovative way that allowed fish to be herded and caught during both high and low river flows. According to Aboriginal tradition, the ancestral creation being, Baiame, generated the design by throwing his net over the river and, with his two sons Booma-ooma-nowi and Ghinda-inda-mui, building the fish traps to this design. [1]

Ngemba people are the custodians of the fishery and continue to use and have responsibilities for the fish traps. It is said that Baiame instructed these responsibilities to be shared with other traditional owner groups who periodically gathered in large numbers at the fish traps for subsistence, cultural and spiritual reasons. The place is extremely significant to the Aboriginal people of western and northern NSW for whom it is imbued with spiritual, cultural, traditional and symbolic meanings. The creation of the fish traps, and the laws governing their use, helped shape the spiritual, political, social, ceremonial and trade relationships between Aboriginal groups from across the greater landscape. The site was one of the great Aboriginal meeting places of eastern Australia. [1]

The bedrock outcrop upon which the traps are built is a rare geological exposure in an expansive alluvial basin. Study of the outcrop has the potential to contribute to a better understanding of the evolution of the Australian landscape. [1]

Brewarrina Aboriginal Fish Traps was listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 11 August 2000 having satisfied the following criteria: [1]

The place is important in demonstrating the course, or pattern, of cultural or natural history in New South Wales.

The Brewarrina Aboriginal fish traps is the largest system of traditional fish traps recorded in Australia. Its unusual, innovative and complex design demonstrates the development of a highly skilled fishing technique involving a thorough understanding of dry stone wall construction principles, river hydrology and fish biology. It is evidence of a distinctive way of life that is no longer practised today. Baiame, an ancestral being, is understood by many Aboriginal people from NSW to be responsible for the design and traditional use of these fish traps. According to Aboriginal tradition, Baiame generated the design by throwing his net over the river and, with his two sons Booma-ooma-nowi and Ghinda-inda-mui, building the fish traps to this design. Neighbouring tribes were invited to the fish traps to join in great corroborees, initiation ceremonies, and meetings for trade and barter. The fish traps indicate how a common understanding of this ancestral being influenced the social, cultural and spiritual interactions between a number of Aboriginal groups in relation to a major built structure on one group's land. Because of the fish traps, this place was one of the great Aboriginal meeting places of eastern Australia. [1]

The place is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in New South Wales.

The fish traps are significant for their technical, creative and design excellence as well as for technical achievement. They are an unusually large and innovative construction from pre-European Aboriginal technology. The stone-walled pens, designed to withstand the high water flows of the Barwon River, are tear-drop shaped with the convex wall facing upstream. Some of the pen walls are higher than others enabling their use during both low and high water flows. This is combined with pond gates set at different locations enabling fish to be caught as they migrated both upstream and downstream. The structure of the fish traps demonstrates the development of an efficient method for catching fish involving a thorough understanding of dry stone wall construction techniques, river hydrology and fish ecology. The fish traps are an essential landmark in this Aboriginal community's sense of place. [1]

The place has strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in New South Wales for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

The place is extremely significant to the Aboriginal people of western and northern NSW for whom it is imbued with spiritual, cultural, traditional and symbolic meanings. While the Ngemba people are the custodians of the fish traps, it is understood to have been Baiame's wish that other tribes in the region, including the Morowari, Paarkinji, Weilwan, Barabinja, Ualarai and Kamilaroi should use it in an organised way. It is said that particular traps were allocated to each family group who were then responsible under Aboriginal law for their use and maintenance. The spiritual influence of the fish traps on the Aboriginal people who built and used them is demonstrated across western NSW through story association as well as related artwork. [1]

The fish traps were and remain an important meeting place for Aboriginal people with connections to the area. The fisheries are also valued by contemporary Aboriginal community as a highly visible symbol of traditional life and ownership of country. [1]

The place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of the cultural or natural history of New South Wales.

The fish traps offer great potential for researching how Aboriginal people occupied this part of the country before colonisation. The place is understood to have been an important meeting place and ceremonial site for different Aboriginal groups in the region. The fish traps provide an important opportunity for Aboriginal children, visitors and researchers to understand and appreciate the culture of Aboriginal people of western NSW. [1]

Aside from the obvious Aboriginal significance, the Fisheries are built on a bedrock outcrop which is a rare geological exposure along the Darling River system which reveals evidence of past landscape history. [1]

The place possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of the cultural or natural history of New South Wales.

The Aboriginal fishery at Brewarrina (Ngunnhu) is rare in being a dry-stone fish trap located on a large river system and the largest fish trap recorded in NSW and Australia. It features a complex design that exploits an unusual location. Aboriginal people used the unusual combination of a large rock bar, seasonal river flows and suitable local rocks to develop the fish traps, nearly half a kilometre long. The size, design and complexity of these fish traps is exceptional in Australia. The role of an ancestral being (Baiame) in creating built structures is also rare in Aboriginal society and adds to the significance of the fish traps. [1]

There are only four other fish traps recorded in NSW of which three are only exposed in drought conditions and are eroded almost to invisibility. [1]

National Edit

The fish traps were added to the Australian National Heritage List on 3 June 2005. [2]

Dramatic changes in the carbonate-hosted barium isotopic compositions in the Ediacaran Yangtze Platform

Barium (Ba) isotopic compositions (δ 138 Ba) have been advocated as a novel paleo-productivity proxy, because of the strong control of biological productivity on the distribution of the Ba isotopic composition in the modern oxic oceans. However, the ocean was dominantly anoxic throughout the majority of the Earth’s history, and the biogeochemical cycle of Ba in anoxic oceans may have been different from the case in oxic ones. It is not clear whether δ 138 Ba can be used to trace biological productivity in ancient oceans. The Ediacaran Period was marked by a dramatic evolution in the climate, atmospheric and oceanic oxygen level, marine carbon cycle, and biosphere, which have been documented in multiple successions of the Ediacaran sedimentary rocks. This provides an opportunity to investigate variations in biogeochemical Ba cycle during the crucial period. In this study, we find large δ 138 Ba variations in carbonate rocks from the Ediacaran Doushantuo and Dengying Formations in the Yangtze Gorges area, South China. We suggest that detrital contamination and potentially post-depositional alteration cannot explain the δ 138 Ba variations. The post-Marinoan carbonate rocks record generally negative carbonate-hosted δ 138 Ba (δ 138 Bacarb) around −0.3‰, reflecting the existence of a replete and homogeneous reservoir of light Ba isotopes in the postglacial ocean. Although the Shuram/Wonoka correlative carbonate rocks have documented a prominent negative δ 13 Ccarb excursion, the δ 138 Bacarb merely shows minor fluctuations between 0.00‰ and 0.35‰, possibly due to local anoxia/euxinia inhibiting the biogeochemical cycle of Ba. The late-Ediacaran carbonate rocks show a gradual increase in δ 138 Bacarb systematically with enhanced negative cerium anomalies, suggesting the establishment of the modern-ocean-like cycle of Ba in shallow waters of the Yangtze Platform, which may result from the replacement of cyanobacteria by eukaryotic macroalgae as the dominant primary producer. We suggest that the biogeochemical Ba cycle in ancient marine system is strongly controlled by local redox conditions, and thus Ba isotopic compositions could be utilized to trace variations in paleo-productivity, especially in oxic environments.

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