Stonehenge Down Under: Australians copy Neolithic rock structure to draw tourists

21 04 2010

A full-sized replica of Stonehenge will be built on a beach in western Australia after a small town gave the green light for construction in a bid to draw tourists.

The shire council in Esperance, 460 miles south-west of Perth, has approved plans for the A$1.2m (£722,749) project, which it hopes will generate much-needed tourist revenue for the small coastal community – its only attraction at the moment is small piece of the US Skylab which fell onto a nearby farm in 1979.

“Stonehenge Down Under” is being spearheaded by the local Rotary club, which wants to build the structure from local pink granite on a council-owned site overlooking Twilight Beach, just outside the town.

 Kim Beale, a spokesman for the Esperance Rotary Club, said the Australian version would be a faithful reproduction of the original Neolithic structure in Wiltshire and will consist of 100 stones, each weighing up to 45 tons.

“Obviously some people may wonder why you’d build Stonehenge at Esperance, but the stone is already here and I think it’s a good opportunity. I reckon it’s quite fascinating,” he said.

Although local tourism operators have thrown their weight behind the prehistoric theme park, other townspeople remain sceptical – an earlier Stonehenge proposal ran into financial difficulties. Rotary, however, is confident that it can raise the necessary funds to complete the new project with giant cut stones donated by a local quarry. Work on Stonehenge Mk 2 is due to begin shortly.

MERLIN @ STONEHENGE
Stonehenge Stone Circle

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