The Mystery of the Marree Man

Until that morning the William Creek Hotel only received fax messages from customers who wanted to express their gratitude for their service. Occasionally, there would be those who complained. But this morning was different. The fax that came was anonymous – it had no name. Shane Anderson found it odd that someone would either compliment or complain about the hotel, choosing to hide his identity. He had no idea.

The fax mentioned something about a picture, a man, a piece of art and a plateau. When Shane put these pieces together, he realized it was a joke. And he dismissed it. He had no idea.

On 26th June 1998, Trec Smith, a charter pilot, was flying over Marree when he saw the picture. He rubbed his eyes and looked deeper. It wasn’t a figment of his imagination. It lay there – a huge picture of a hunter holding a boomerang. What struck Smith first was the size. It was an unbelievable 4.2 metres long. It was what they call a geoglyphs – a very big one.

When the news of the sighting was out, Shane Anderson realized that it was no joke. Now he had some idea.

The Marree Man is also known as the Stuart’s Giant. It is the second biggest geoglyphs in the world.  It lies on a plateau at Finnis Springs 60 km west of the township of Marree in central South Australia. The origins of this geoglyphs make for an interesting read.


Many anonymous claims have been made relating to the artist who created this geoglyphs. They lead scientists to believe that it was the work of Americans. The measurements are quotes in miles and yards, instead of the conventional metric system in Australia. The anonymous press releases also use terms like “your State of SA”, “Queensland Barrier Reef” and “from the local Indigenous Territories”. Such terms are not used by native Australians. But it is also believed that such things were added to make people believe that it was done by the Americans even though that wasn’t the case. There lies a pit near the site which contains a few photos and an American Flag.

Thermal Image of the Marree Man

Thermal Image of the Marree Man


The most interesting feature of the Marree Man mystery however is the plaque. In January 1999, officials were told about a plaque buried 5 metres south of the nose of the figure, by way of a fax which was received via a hotel in Oxford, England. The fax also said that the plaque was intended to have been dug up by a prominent US media figure shortly before the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The plaque read:

“In honour of the land they once knew. His attainments in these pursuits are extraordinary; a constant source of wonderment and admiration.”

This quote comes from a book by H.H. Finlayson called “The Red Centre”. From the book, it can be deduced that the man in the picture is a hunter from the Pitjantjatjara tribe.

Photograph of the Marree Man


From visible evidence, researchers have concluded that Bardius Goldberg was the creator of this geoglyph. Goldberg however refused to comment on whether it was him or not. He dies in 2002, but his friend said that Goldberg was given $10,000 when the site was discovered. Now that just makes the plot a lot more fishy.

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