Forget Salisbury Plain in England, Esperance has its own Stonehenge and it is nothing short of astounding. Set in the middle of a cow paddock on the way to Le Grand National Park, the Esperance ring of stones is an exact replica of the original Stonehenge which stood 4000 years and not like ruins we see today in England.
Cut from 2500 tonnes of Esperance pink granite there are 137 pieces that make up the 7.7m high circular and horseshoe shaped structure. All is aligned with the summer solstice sunrise (the longest day of the year) which falls on 22nd of December in Esperance and also for the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) which falls on the 21st of June. On these days the sun rays pass through to the altar which lies in front of the tallest Trilithon stones.
The stones, which took 18 painstaking months to quarry and cut, were completed by Tony Holton, from Austral Asian Granite. The $1.4 milion project was originally destined for Margaret River but one month before the stones were completed the man behind the project, Ross Smith, went bankrupt. This left the quarry in a predicament and the Esperance Shire council scratching their collective heads. No one could agree on where to put it or who was going to foot the bill. Enter semi-retired farmers Kim and Jillian Beale, who saw the potential tourist opportunities and decided to take on the project. It was a win/win because their property is across the road from the quarry and they would have to be the most enthusiastic people you would ever want to meet.
Summer Solstice celebration
The Beale’s held their first Summer Solstice celebration on the 21st of December 2012, which saw over 150 people mingle among the stones to watch the first rays emerge at 4.42am. This was followed with a BBQ breakfast.
The beale’s have plans to build a microbrewery and an area for people to camp, so stay tuned. Since its construction there have been three weddings held amongst the stones.
Address: RMB 4323, Merivale Road, Esperance WA 6450
Phone: (08) 9075 9003
Hours: Closed on Tuesday