Registrar’s Postcard: Esperance, Western Australia
I don’t usually do fakes. But the Stonehenge at Esperance, Western Australia, got me thinking about the value of replicas in museums where the pull of the original object dominates.
I was fascinated by how a full-scale Stonehenge came to be in an Australian cow paddock and owner/farmer Kim Beale took me through the story. A businessman originally designed the stone blocks and ordered them from the local pink granite quarry. But the money didn’t follow, so the call went out for a new buyer. Kim, who lives over the road from the quarry, took up the challenge and after 2 days of installation, it now sits overlooking Esperance. It’s even placed perfectly in line with the summer and winter solstices.
Unlike the original Stonehenge site, you can touch, climb and play with your voice as it echoes through this space. You can explore how to disappear between stones, like going back stage. Experiencing the site with all your senses, as it was thought to have appeared 4,000 years ago, the various ways it could have been used by its creators begin to appear in front of your eyes. It becomes obvious that it lends itself to theatre and spectacle.
But this Stonehenge is very much of its place. Made up of the stuff of the local land, there’s a certain Aussie charm in this version. Door mats are placed invitingly at key entrances, the hoses of rotating sprinklers are draped around corners, and the cracked earth of drought-stricken land lies just outside the largest circle of stones.