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!

Walkerhenge: Not Quite the Kind of Exciting Innovation It Sounds Like

photos by Michael H. Walker, Jr., used with permission

Walkerhenge. When we heard the name, it conjured up a vision of a Stonehenge replica robotised to be able to walk about, a peripatetic henge, or maybe a fleet of them… Yes, dozens, no, hundreds of Stonehenge replicas roaming the countryside, eating and reproducing, everything from little baby henges in the care of their mothers to huge bull henges bellowing and running the young single male henges away from the females. Wow, wait until David Attenborough gets hold of this one!

But no, Walkerhenge is named after its creators, Edith and Barry Henge. Oops, no! That should be Michael and Tim Walker, seen here being infected with the Stonehenge brain virus on a typically sunny warm day in Wiltshire.

Mike tells us, “…my brother and I went to Stonehenge a few years ago and when we got back I acquired these rocks. We decided to build a mini Stonehenge. We built it by hand in 2009 and its made out of old granite curbs from the 1850′s from Camden, NJ.” Another cautionary tale illustrating the Clonehenge Effect. (But the bit about the old curbs is brilliant, of course, even if it is Camden.)

Most people don’t understand the risks when they visit Stonehenge. They think, “Chevy Chase went there and he’s fine” or “The Doctor went there and he hasn’t been going around building henges.” Ah, but they are both Gallifreyans! Humans are different. They go home and then the worms in their heads make them build Stonehenges. So far there is no cure.

But on to the matter at hand. This belongs to the category of personal garden henges, like the  paved structure in Red Oak, TexasTremont Henge in Cleveland, or  the circle in Kennewick, Washington. Typically these are not large and sport only one or two trilithons. They often include benches in the form of very low trilithons. This one, like the Tremont, adds standing stones, representing, we suppose, the blue stones and maybe a stray sarsen. Its unique touch is the fire pit, which we are inclined to think is a touch the original Builders at Stonehenge would have recognised.

Another for our list of Large Permanent Replicas! As for score, well, we like this. Well suited for celebrating the Four Festivals, for marshmallows and story telling, or just drinking beer and howling at the moon, all of which except the marshmallows probably took place at the original. Score: 6 druids. (It is actually a 5½ druid henge, but I think readers will understand when we remind them that this poor fellow lives in New Jersey. If an extra half druid will give a little glow to his sorry life, how can we deny him?)

And anyway, we don’t live all that far from Juliustown, New Jersey, home of Walkerhenge. We don’t want to risk a whole herd coming after us. This time of year they are in rut and their horns are very sharp!

Many thanks to Monsieur Walker for his photos and his patience. And until next time, friends, happy henging!

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 SalisburyandStonehenge.net. 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.

Stonehenge Recycled, Australia Tries Again

photo from the Esperance Express *

It was in the news recently–the town of Esperance in southwest Australia plans to build a Stonehenge replica in order to attract tourists. Sounds mad, of course, but it isn’t the first town to make such an announcement. A Canadian town said much the same thing last year, and right there in Australia two years ago March a determined gentleman named Ross Smith announced his intention to have one built by the winter solstice (21 June down there).

And that is where this gets interesting. It turns out that a quarry quite near to Esperance was where the stones for the Ross Smith henge were being cut, and when that effort ran into financial trouble it was stuck with most of an unassembled Stonehenge that no one wanted. The stones were then offered to the town of Esperance at a discount and after some controversy the town has said yes. (The picture above indicates they intend to build the monument as it is thought to have looked at its height.)

This is a Stonehenge replica first! No other full-sized stone replica, in fact no other replica at all as far as we know has been bought at discount after being cut for someone else. This is Clonehenge history AND recycling history taking place before our very eyes! This world is a place of infinite novelty.

The stone is being called pink, but it is actually a kind of rosy brown. The website of the granite company shows the colour at the left for the Esperance granite. This has not stopped the pink jokes, of course, and one prominent megalith expert in a quip suggested the name “Gayhenge.” Tsk tsk! Shocking! ;-) Anyone knows that in Australia that would be Poofhenge!

It is unfortunate that some people and articles are calling this the “only full-sized stone replica in the world.Ahem . . . it’s called Google, people. Use it! Certainly the Montana Stonehenge, which was carefully built to scale and made of limestone, qualifies. It’s possible that one of the Japanese Stonehenges is also of stone. And what about Connecticut’s granite Circle of Life? Well, there is still room for it to be the most accurate if they pay attention to detail. Only time will tell!

We of course enjoyed this quotation from one article: “I understand there are two or three replicas of it around the world but they are all made from things other than granite rock,” he said.

Two or three–at least! We hope people are bombarding them with links to Clonehenge. Let them find their place in the litany of replicas. They have a chance to do something terrific here. And Esperance means Hope!

*[Is that George W. Bush with a fake moustache??]

Note: Here is an update on this replica.

Granite Henge, Polperro, Cornwall

photos from PolperroCornwall.com, with permission

A new one for our list of large permanent replicas and our second henge in Cornwall (see Stonehenge in Treave and More Photos from Treave), this one may not be a Stonehenge replica in the strictest sense of the word. It is, for example, not round. Still, with its trilithon construction, with standing stones added to create an enclosure, we think it comes within the scope of this blog. And since this blog is a dictatorship, what we think is all that matters!

And anyway, it’s charming, in that way that Cornwall and other places known as holiday destinations tend to be. Granite Henge, in fact, is the name of the complex of twelve holiday cabins that surround this henge garden and the adjacent swimming pool. We’re told that a local builder, Derek Bishop, built the property and created the garden, using native Cornish granite to make the henge, in the early 1980s.

The garden is planted with many tropical and subtropical plants and sports a peacock or too, as well. Not much like Salisbury Plain, we must admit, but a fun environment for enjoying a henge! We could certainly be talked into staying there. Let’s hope the warm-climate plants survive this brutal winter!*

Score: 6 druids. This is fun and it looks like art to us!

*In an email, Kevin from Polperro says: “What weather??? I live in Florida from September to April. Looking forward to a picnic on the beach tomorrow.” Anyone have plane fare?

[Note: We're now up to 60 large permanent replicas! Not only did we add this one, but we got word of a very nice little replica on the grounds of the new public library in the city of Pattaya, Thailand. (We're seeking a photo for a post.) Since there was already a replica in Nong Nooch Gardens near Pattaya, that bit of Thailand is now the smallest area we know of in the world to have two large permanent Stonehenge replicas. There's a bit of trivia for stumping your friends. And you heard it here at the Clonehenge blog!]