Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve (Itakaura)

175 kilometres south from Alice Springs.

The Pillar, standing 34 m above the plain, together with a number of other sandstone monoliths, is on the plain adjacent to the dunes of the Simpson Desert. They have been likened by John McDowall Stewart to a group of "castles in ruins". They are actually the remains of an ancient plateau, the rocks of which originated with sand being deposited in a sea about 400 Ma. The most dominant of the group is Chambers Pillar. They are breakaways from the Charlotte Range. They have the appearance of the ocean stacks of the 12 Apostles in Victoria, but instead of ocean waves there are dunes of the Simpson Desert. The sandstone plateau was eroded away over millions of years

It is a solitary sandstone column  on the Simpson Desert plain, the remains of the sand deposited that became sandstone and then were eroded down over a period of 340 million years.

Early European settlers in the area used it as a landmark when travelling in the area. In April 1860 John MacDouall Stuart first recorded the pillar as he was heading north on his first attempt to cross Australia from south to north. He named it after one of his sponsors, James Chambers, of South Australia.

The local Aboriginal People have a Dreamtime story about the pillar. In the Dreamtime the spirit ancestor Itakaura took a woman from a prohibited totemic group. When they were exiled Itakaura became the pillar and the woman became the largest of the other sandstone structures.

Sources & Further reading
  1. Helen Grasswill & Reg Morrison, Australia, a Timeless Grandeur, Lansdowne, 1981
  2. Penny Van Oosterzee, The Centre - The Natural history of Australia's Desert Regions, Reed Australia, 1993



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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading