Basalt Henge to Save the Earth: Eastern Australia, Byron Bay!

Byron’s Stonehenge, image from Byron Ecopark site

“On a gorgeous 75-hectare beachfront property ‘Eagle Farm’ located in Byron Shire on the north coast of New South Wales, Dieter Horstmann is using a set of giant stone structures built from ancient basalt-columns to create a totally unique, 100% ecologically sustainable village and eco-tourism resort.

Another line from the same site: “ Stone columns, some up to 10 metres in length, being strategically positioned across ‘Eagle Farm’, forming a Byron Bay “Stonehenge”.  Mr Horstmann and his artist friends have harvested these natural Basalt-crystals on the land to artistically create their Stonehenge-style Eco-village.

We admit we wouldn’t mind seeing this place! Mr. Horstmann (seen at left in photo by Jeff Dawson), born in Germany, has spent decades building his ecology park in New South Wales. It includes a village with minimal environmental impact, a health resort, and facilities to make possible the trial of various green practices with the purpose of helping to popularise those that have the most promise. His hope is that the park will encourage others all over the world to embrace environmentally healthy practices. (Because that’s going to happen. Lol!)

Fortunately our job here is not to make sure that people save the planet, but to report on the more urgent matter, these Stonehenge-ish constructions. Every Stonehenge replica listed on this blog, or not listed for that matter, has unique peculiarities, and in this case perhaps the most intriguing thing is the stones it’s made from: they are basalt columns, similar to those that make up Devil’s Tower in Wyoming (Close Encounters, anyone?), and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

These columns were on the property to begin with. Let’s face it–who wouldn’t think henge if they found these things lying around with nothing else to do? What’s that?  Everyone but us? Well, right, but clearly Herr Horstmann is one of us–a henger, henge-o-phile, henge-orak, clonehenger. Welcome to our ranks, sir! We honour you for your vision!*

But we know a lot of people are tied up right now, cleaning up from Sandy, fixing the economy, and playing Halo 4, and may not get around to that right away. For now, Dieter Horstmann’s henge will have to do. Hard to give a score because we don’t think we’ve seen the whole thing. But we’ll give it 6 druids and add it to our list of large permanent replicas.  Impressive large stones. May his endeavor succeed beyond his wildest dreams!

And until next time, happy henging!

P.S.: Flamehenge! And our thanks to Hengefinder Matt Penny for finding the Byron Stonehenge!

*The  subject of how Stonehenge is often connected in people’s minds with ecology and saving the earth, despite the fact that building it would have required disturbing the environment to a degree not seen on Great Britain until that time, might provide a thoughtful person with material for a long and interesting essay touching on psychology, our modern perceptions about ancient people and nature, and the kind of hierarchical society that is required to orchestrate this kind of monument building. But as you know, we are about as far as we can get from being thoughtful people, so we’re off the hook. Phew! That was close!

Stonehenge of Oz: Esperance Complete!

from an article in the Esperance Express

And now, well in advance of summer solstice down under, the Esperance Stonehenge replica in Western Australia has been completed, lintels and all, as seen here. Congratulations to the Beales, from everyone in the Stonehenge replica community, wherever that is!

And, yes, it is not the only full-sized replica or the only full-sized stone replica, but, like all Stonehenge replicas it is, rather ironically when you think about it, unique. The stones are blocky and flat, but it’s still far better looking than the cement Stonehenge in Washington State. It reminds us a little of the Takino Stonehenge, one of the ones in Japan, except there’s no Buddha shrine inside.

After watching this one in process for so long–since Ross Smith contracted for the stones, years ago now, it is with pleasure that we finally get down to giving it a score. 8½ druids for the Stonehenge of Oz! That is one of our highest scores, Well done. And to think they did it all while standing on their heads!

Until next time, friends, happy henging!

Esperance Update

Latest news on the Esperance, Australia Stonehenge replica including a video with the Beales discussing it can be seen here.

In the video, Jillian Beale, one of the builder/proprietors,  says that some visitors had recently been to Stonehenge in England and “said it was a pile of old rocks. They’d paid seventeen pounds and it was rubbish. And in my book he’s written ‘It’s brilliant. Better than the original!’ ” Worth a watch.

Meanwhile we’re still fretting over whether lintels will ever appear on the outer circle.

The “Better Than Stonehenge” Henge: Esperance’s Replica Rises at Last!

photo from The Esperance Express, showing Kim and Jillian Beale at the henge

Was ever an erection so eagerly awaited? Well, yes, probably, but still we have been watching these stones since almost before they were cut, so it is delightful to see them standing at last! This is the Stonehenge replica in Esperance Australia, made from the stones cut for the much ballyhooed Ross Smith replica that died, so to speak, in utero with the stones still in the quarry because of money problems.

Then we got news that some enterprising individuals in Esperance, a town in southwestern Australia famous for beautiful beaches and for things like birds and bits of Skylab falling out of the sky, were going to buy the stones from the nearby quarry and build their very own tourist mecca/modern monument. They got a discount–there isn’t a huge market for unused life-sized Stonehenge pieces. The names Kim and Jillan Beale started to float into view. (Yes, the Jillian Beale in that racy Rotary calendar, but that’s another story.)

Our last update came in February, assuring all that plans were going forward. Then apparently we missed an article in March, in which, well, here is a quotation from it: “Mrs Beale was confident StoneHengeEsperance would be more visually striking than the mysterious English prehistoric monument. “It will beat it hands down,” she said. “We hope it will become a major attraction for Esperance and WA. It will be absolutely fantastic.”

We could do a whole post just on that, discussing the merits of the spelling of StoneHengeEsperance, whether this is in fact “the world’s first full-size stone replica of Stonehenge” and just how likely it is that the new structure is more beautiful than and will beat the real Stonehenge “hands down”, but time and news have moved on and so must we. We trust that our readers are of the sort who can make up their own witty remarks in a pinch.

Today we are celebrating the long awaited construction of the monument and discussing instead the more recent article which begins promisingly with this sentence, “JILLIAN and Kim Beale’s construction of what is thought to be the world’s only life-size replica of the ancient Stonehenge Druid ruins on their 1,066 acre Merivale Road property has taken another step forward with the addition of a new outer circle.

Let’s start with a discussion of whether this is the world’s only life-sized replica. No*. Then we go on to the phrase “ancient Stonehenge Druid ruins”. And when we are done LOLing we ask where did they do their research–on a forum for people who always dress in Renaissance Faire clothing? Someone needs to send a strikeforce into that sentence to take out the word Druid. Regular readers know, but we repeat: druids could not have built Stonehenge. They didn’t even arrive (or develop)  in England until 1000 years after it was completed. And, for the conspiracy theorists, is there any hidden meaning in that 1066 number??

We have tried to read the rest of the article but can only conclude that the reporter misinterpreted her own notes when she wrote it. There is talk of “horseshoe stones” and “an outer circle of 19 trilithon stones, surrounded by a circle of 30 sarsen stones”.  The right words are there but it doesn’t sound as if they are in the correct order.

All in all, what we see in the top picture looks very good, although the lack of lintels on what we can see of the outside circle naturally concerns us. Despite the strange reporting it is getting, we think the replica (we can’t bring ourselves to call it StoneHengeEsperance) will be awarded quite a few druids (our tongue-in-cheek scoring units) once we get a complete account and view of it. We’ll try to keep you posted, but if you see something about it before we do, please let us know. Meanwhile it is time we add it to the list of large permanent replicas.

Our thanks for alerting us again go to the lovely and talented @salisbury_matt , aka Matt Penny, who is still slogging away at Poor lad. And thanks to you if you have read all this way, or even just skipped down here from the beginning. Until next time, happy henging!

* Life-sized replicas other than the Montana replica linked above include the cement replica in Washington State, the Circle of Life in Connecticut (of  granite as this one is), and the BBC’s Foamhenge, which, alas, no longer stands.

Update on Esperance–Australia’s Pink Stonehenge Going Forward!

Photo from the Esperance Express.

This is an update to our post (Stonehenge Recycled, Australia Tries Again) on the proposed Stonehenge replica in Esperance, a town on the south coast of Australia. (Claim to fame? When pieces of Skylab fell there in 1979, the town of Esperance charged the United States for littering.) Our thanks to friend of the blog Matt Penny, aka @salisbury_matt,  once again, for sending us the link to this article.

It doesn’t sound as if any stones have yet been erected, but the article does say, “According to Mr Beale the site has been soil-tested and initial works have begun in working out where the stones will go. It is hoped the project will be finished late March to early April.” So plans to erect the stones must be in place. Right? We hope.

Of course there appear to be worries about pagans worshiping there (Oh, no, Trev, someone is honouring the earth again! Can’t have that, Nige!), as if pagans will only worship in your area if you build a Stonehenge for them. But the couple doing the building reassures the locals that Stonehenge may not have been a pagan place of worship at all (Whew!), so all is well.

For us, the good news is simply that the project seems to be going forward. Esperance will soon be home to “the world’s only life-size granite replica of Stonehenge.” (Apparently they don’t consider Rothberg’s Circle of Life in Connecticut a true Stonehenge replica, which is kind of true.) We are eager to welcome number 67 to our list of large permanent replicas! Just hopethey don’t charge the U.K. for littering!

Post script: Esperance, Australia is also famous among “a-flock-alypse” followers as the site of at least two mass bird deaths a few years ago. Many people believe the deaths had to do with high lead levels, while others insist the cause is still not known.

Cockington Green Stonehenge


photo by Julie Anderson

Today it’s off to Canberra in Australia and Cockington Green Gardens, beds planted around crafted miniature buildings that portray places around the world, with the original section based on Great Britain. And you can’t have Great Britain without a Stonehenge replica, in this case complete with tiny tourists. (It must be a view of the past. When were tourists last permitted to wander among the stones?)

It’s a fascinating little replica, with its disproportionally tall and slender stones. Clearly the attempt is to portray Stonehenge as it now stands with some stones fallen. The tiny people seem to get moved around. Every picture we’ve seen shows them posed differently. The interesting thing here is seeing Stonehenge portrayed as a part of England and not as the timeless, placeless array of stones most replicas try to depict.

The nearby hedges certainly dampen the effect (one website calls it Stonehedge), but we allow for the fact that everything is more difficult to do in the southern hemisphere because it has to be done upside-down. We award 7 druids to the Stonehenge that could easily be crushed by a dwarf!