Marree Man

Meticulously etched into the earth between the Oodnadatta Track and Lake Eyre South, 60km outside the quiet Outback town of Marree, the 4km-long image has everyone scratching their heads in amazement. Tracks near the drawing are a clue that it was created by a truck or tractor using a ripper to plough through the earth - but who did it is the mystery. A charter pilot at Marree in South Australia's far north says he has been "flat out" since the recent discovery of a huge outline of an Aboriginal man in the nearby desert. Mystery still surrounds the four-kilometre-long outline, as the people who made it are yet to come forward. The drawing was first spotted by freelance pilot Mr Trec Smith on a routine charter flight from Coober Pedy to Marree on June 26 1998. Thinking it was a tourist attraction that everyone except him knew about, Mr Smith was puzzled. "When I went to Marree and told them, nobody was very interested," he said. But that all changed when an anonymous fax arrived at Marree businesses last Thursday describing the drawing. The mystery deepened when a preservative bottle containing a note with the words "Stuart's Giant", an American flag and a reference to the US cult Branch Davidian - linked with the 1993 Waco, Texas, inferno - was found near the site. Police have confiscated the bottle containing the note and will not comment on its relevance. The depicted man was a Central Australian, possibly from the Alice Springs area, who lived around the turn of the century, say the curators of anthropology. The Marree man's stance indicated he was carrying a boomerang, but it was drawn from such an angle that the curve could not be seen. ...An Aborigine would not have been full frontal naked, he said. ...The image could have been reversed - which would then make the man a right-hander- to fit the shape of the land.

The Marree Man, is Australia's and the worlds biggest geoglyph, (a figure or symbol cut into the earth ). The figure is huge, about 4 kilometres (2 1/2 miles) from head to toe.The Marree Man was first publicised in 1998, soon after it was made. Who cut the figure and why remains a mystery, it is located in the outback of South Australia about 20 kilometres (13 miles) from the town of Marree. It is generally assumed to be a figure of an Australian Aboriginal hunter.

The area is an eroded plateau to the south and east of the dryland salt lake, Lake Eyre, about 600km north of Adelaide, South Australia. The terrain consists of sparse grassland overlying red soil. The nearest town is Marree, a small village roughly 20 km to the east. The figure is about 4km tall and was made by scraping off the vegetation and exposing the underlying surface. Surveyors speculate that the figure was made by bulldozer using GPS measurements for control. So far, no one has assumed responsibility for the unusual artwork and, in spite of investigation, the artist(s) has never been found. Due to its location, the figure was termed "Marree Man" by the press which gave wide coverage to the event at the time.

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