Topic: Australia/South Australia

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Marree Man

Australia Australia/South Australia

The Marree Man, or Stuart's Giant, is a modern geoglyph the circumstances of whose creation have not been ascertained. It appears to depict an indigenous Australian man hunting with a boomerang or stick. It lies on a plateau at Finnis Springs 60 km (37 mi) west of the township of Marree in central South Australia. It is just outside the 127,000-square-kilometre (49,000 sq mi) Woomera Prohibited Area. The figure is 2.7 km (1.7 mi) tall with a perimeter of 28 km (17 mi), extending over an area of about 2.5 km2 (620 acres). Although it is one of the largest geoglyphs in the world (arguably second to the Sajama Lines), its origin remains a mystery, with no one claiming responsibility for its creation nor any eye-witness having been found, notwithstanding the scale of the operation required to form the outline on the plateau floor. The description "Stuart's Giant" was used in anonymous faxes sent to media as "Press Releases" in July 1998, in a reference to the explorer John McDouall Stuart. It was discovered fortuitously by a charter pilot in an overflight on 26 June 1998.

Shortly after its discovery, the site was closed by the South Australian government following legal action taken in late July by native title claimants, but flights over the site were not forbidden as native title fell under federal government jurisdiction.

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Rain Follows the Plow

Australia United States History Australia/Australian history Australia/South Australia

Rain follows the plow is the conventional name for a now-discredited theory of climatology that was popular throughout the American West and Australia during the late 19th century. The phrase was employed as a summation of the theory by Charles Dana Wilber:

God speed the plow. ... By this wonderful provision, which is only man's mastery over nature, the clouds are dispensing copious rains ... [the plow] is the instrument which separates civilization from savagery; and converts a desert into a farm or garden. ... To be more concise, Rain follows the plow.

The basic premise of the theory was that human habitation and agriculture through homesteading effected a permanent change in the climate of arid and semi-arid regions, making these regions more humid. The theory was widely promoted in the 1870s as a justification for the settlement of the Great Plains, a region previously known as the "Great American Desert". It was also used to justify the expansion of wheat growing on marginal land in South Australia during the same period.

According to the theory, increased human settlement in the region and cultivation of soil would result in an increased rainfall over time, rendering the land more fertile and lush as the population increased. As later historical records of rainfall indicated, the theory was based on faulty evidence arising from brief climatological fluctuations that happened to coincide with settlement, an example of the logical fallacy that correlation means causation. The theory was later refuted by climatologists and is now definitively regarded as pure superstition.

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