UnMonumental: 20 Works by Matt Chun and James Tylor

By and | 15 September 2022

Wurdi Youang & Kuyung Stone Arrangement

Wurdi Youang is the world’s oldest astronomical observatory. The stone arrangement is used to accurately measure the setting Sun’s position on the horizon at the spring and autumn equinoxes, winter and summer solstices. These astronomical observations are used to accurately predict the seasons.

A geological study of the Wurdi Youang stone arrangement dates its construction by Wathaurong people to be 11,000 years old. A survey of the current major east-west axis in the stone alignment suggests it was most accurate 4,000 years ago. The cone shaped triangle formation is constructed of 90 large basalt rocks and located on Wathaurong land, 45km west of Narrm (Melbourne) in Victoria. There are 100 recorded stone arrangements in Victoria. Seven of these are astronomical observatories.

The heritage listed Kuyung stone arrangement is located 170 km from the Wurdi Youang stone arrangement in Lake Bolac in south-western Victoria. This 176 metre long stone arrangement depicts a juvenile eel and was constructed by Djab Wurrung people 1,500 years ago.

In 2021, a non-Indigenous farmer destroyed the lower section of the Kuyung stone arrangement. He stated that he was unaware of the significance of that section of the Kuyung site, apologised for the accident and was not charged. Under the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act, the penalty for damaging a heritage site is a fine of up to $297,396 for individuals and up to $1,652,000 for corporations.

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