WHO MADE THE MARREE MAN?

Smith Journal - - Smith Stuff -

For­get the Big Ba­nana and the Gi­ant Koala. When it comes to over­sized-for-no-goodrea­son Aus­tralian things, they’ve got noth­ing on the Marree Man. Etched into the ground near South Aus­tralia’s Lake Eyre and best seen from the air – he was first spot­ted by a pi­lot in 1998 – the big fella is 4.2 kilo­me­tre tall and is thought to be the world’s largest ge­o­glyph. How he got there is any­one’s guess; the­o­ries in­clude in­volve­ment by aliens, a lo­cal artist or the U.S. mil­i­tary. The dis­cov­ery in a nearby pit of a U.S. flag stuffed into a jar, a satel­lite photo of the ge­o­glyph and a weird note about the Branch Da­vid­i­ans re­in­force the idea that Amer­i­cans had some­thing to do with it. Over time, floods, shift­ing sands and plant re­growth played havoc with him; a few years ago, only the point of his throw­ing stick was still vis­i­ble. In 2016, two lo­cal pub own­ers, miss­ing the tourist busi­ness he brought, took it upon them­selves to bring the Marree Man back to life. Al­most cer­tainly not qual­i­fied in restora­tion, the duo used a grader to re­trace his out­line, which took a week of 12-hour days. The SA en­vi­ron­ment de­part­ment was not impressed, and launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into il­le­gal land clear­ing. LK

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