Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Monday, November 20, 2017

THE AUSTRALIAN STANDING STONES

In the small country town of Glenn Innes in the highlands of northern NSW there is a collection of standing stones. Unlike the mysterious ancient ones found in England and elsewhere, we know when these were erected, who put them there, why they were put there and what they mean.
The Standing Stones began as an idea of a small group of people who wanted to mark Glen Innes' Celtic heritage, where the first settlers mainly Scots arrived in 1838. In our bi-centenial year 1988, the Celtic Council of Australia developed the idea of erecting a national monument to honour all Celtic peoples who helped pioneer Australia. The Standing Stones was inspired by the Ring of Brodgar in Scotland.
John Tregurtha, a pharmacist delegated to build the array. Lex Ritchie, a tourist officer and expert bushman spent three months scouring the bush for suitable stones. Each stone had to be 5.5 metres in length and they weighed approx 17 tonnes. Only three stones could be found in their natural state the others had to be split from larger rocks. Local alderman, George Rozynski, who worked on the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme used his knowledge of splitting rocks without using explosives. He and another alderman, Bill Tyson spent many months drilling rocks and inserting a special compound, which split the rocks over night. It took another six months for Bob Dwyer and businessman Ted Nowlan using a 12 ton fork lift and heavy moving equipment to transport the rocks to Centenary Park.

The Standing Stones are comprised of 40 monoliths. there is a circle of 24 representing 24 hours of the day. There are 3 central stones, 4 cardinal stones marking North, South East and West and seven stones marking the Summer and Winter solstices. They are probably the first of their kind built anywhere in the world for 3500 years.
From above  the five stars of the Southern Cross are formed by the 4 cardinal stones and stone number 17 inside the circle on the path of the summer solstice dawn. The 4 cardinal stones and the circle also form the Celtic Cross the symbol of the early Christian Church.
The three central stones. One is The Australia Stone, one is The Gaelic Stone and one is The Brythonic Stone

Looking down the avenue of 6 stones, which are aligned with the suns beams, marks the dawn of the winter solstice.

There is also an Excalibur that is stuck in the rock where visitors can try their luck at removing it.

There are many more special stones, The Gaelic Stone, The Cornish Stone, The Gorsedd Stone and the heaviest stone at 38 tonnes is The Irish Stone.

The stones have been sponsored by families, businesses and councils to help pay for the cost of construction. The Stones  are the home of the annual Australian Celtic Festival, where clans, groups and artists come from all over the country and the world to take part in a huge variety of celtic activities. I would love to see that but the accommodation is booked out a year ahead. It was nice being with very few visitors at sunset.

21 comments:

  1. I'd never heard of this. Makes you realise what a huge undertaking this was for early man.

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  2. What a brilliant place and how surprising to me. The Celts are neglected in Australian history.

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  3. Very interesting history to go with the beautiful stones. I'm sure it would be lots of fun to participate in the festival but great festivals are hard to get to when there is no accommodation.

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  4. I can't imagine what that would have felt like to be erecting something in such an ancient style. I think its really neat that stones are sponsored. Maybe that's what the ancients did too.

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  5. Hello, what a neat place. It is perfect for the festival. Great shot of you and the sword. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week!

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  6. A remarkable and fitting monument to those early settlers.

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  7. What a mammoth endeavour Diane but so well worth the struggle. Your last two shots have captured the mystery beautifully, would love to see what the clans get up to during the solstice festival!

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  8. they are a beautiful sight to see, as is the one pulling the sword from the stone. LOL.. pull harder... love it. and that is interesting how they split the stones. great way to remember the past

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  9. Interesting, I did not know you had standing stones there and even more interesting that you know the true history. For some unknown reason only your first photo is loading the rest remain hidden from view on my computer!!! Will try to look again tomorrow maybe our very slow connection. T'other Diane

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  10. Very special. It give a feeling of peace.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  11. Fascinating! I had not idea that was there. Great photos too!

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  12. interesting history Diane, I had never heard of standing stones till I watched 'Outlander' series 1 and am still watching as the series goes on.

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  13. I hadn't heard about this until you mentioned it over on A Bit about Britain. what a brilliant idea - and it looks as though it's been carried off really well too. As John pointed out, it makes you appreciate what a task it must have been for our ancestors. Love your photos - excellent - but, honestly, you must have known that only Arthur could get that sword out?!

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  14. They must have been quite homesick if they even copied thé celtic stones. So surprising To find that in Australia !!

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  15. That is a good tourist attraction for Glen Innes.
    Lovely country town and so picturesque so this stone business is an extra
    bonus.
    You'd certainly have a lot more clothes on in Glen Innes in winter. The winds are
    bloody freezing.
    My first horse came from a quarter-house stud at Glen Innes.
    Great post Diane
    Cheers
    Colin

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    1. Ooops - re-read: Quarter-Horse stud.
      Tut tut - Quarter HOUSE!!!

      I had a SENIOR MOMENT, Diane.
      Colin

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  16. These stones look so interesting! Celtic I did not know about...my fav is you trying to remove the sword lol

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  17. Fascinating, thanks for this post Diane.
    Great photos too, especially the sunset shot.

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  18. How intriguing! I love this post, thanks for the information.

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  19. How interesting... I have never heard of the Standing Stones. BUT--what a great way to honor the Celtic people.

    Love the sun pictures which bounced off of the stones... NEAT.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful information.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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