Marree Man: The World’s Largest Geoglyph

In the heart of Australia’s desolate outback, a colossal geoglyph known as “Marree Man” stands as a testament to human ingenuity and mystery. This breathtaking figure depicts an Aboriginal man hunting birds or wallabies with a throwing stick, carved into the arid landscape only 22 years ago. Unlike ancient geoglyphs crafted by civilizations long gone, Marree Man’s creation remains shrouded in secrecy, leaving us with a perplexing puzzle that defies explanation.

The Marvelous Marree Man

Marree Man
The barren pathway leading to Marree, in proximity to the renowned geoglyph referred to as the “Marree Man,” which was unearthed. ( Source )

Located on a remote plateau, approximately 60 kilometers west of the minuscule town of Marree, South Australia, this geoglyph is a staggering 4.2 kilometers tall, with a sprawling perimeter spanning 15 by 28 kilometers. Its intricate design, etched 30 centimeters deep and up to 35 meters wide, hints at weeks of meticulous work. Astonishingly, no one has come forward to claim responsibility for its creation, and no witnesses exist to attest to the carving process. Even a thorough police investigation conducted at the time yielded no leads, deepening the enigma.

Puzzling Clues

Marree Man
Marree Man, located in South Australia, on June 28, 1998. ( Source )

Soon after its discovery, cryptic press releases surfaced from an anonymous source, adding another layer of intrigue. These releases used measurements in miles, yards, and inches, unlike the metric system typically employed in Australia. Phrases like “Queensland Barrier Reef” and “local Indigenous Territories” seemed foreign to Australian terminology. Moreover, an assortment of peculiar items was unearthed in a pit at the site, including a satellite photo of the figure, a jar containing a small U.S. flag, and a note referencing the Branch Davidians, a cult based in Texas. In January 1999, officials discovered a small plaque near the figure’s nose, featuring an American flag with Olympic rings and a quote from “The Red Centre” by H. H. Finlayson. This perplexing collection of clues left investigators baffled, with some speculating they might have been planted as diversions.

Marree Man Theories

Marree Man
A visual representation depicting the Marree Man’s contour, crafted by Lisa Thurston in 2005. ( Source )

Rumors swiftly circulated in the small town of Marree. Some believed the geoglyph was a publicity stunt by a local scenic flight operator, capitalizing on the tourism boom. Charter planes found themselves overwhelmed by demand for flights over the awe-inspiring figure. Other theories suggested extraterrestrial involvement or a political statement aimed at politician Pauline Hanson, known for controversial remarks about Australian Aborigines.

A more plausible theory implicated Bardius Goldberg, an Australian artist interested in creating art visible from space. However, Goldberg neither confirmed nor denied his involvement before passing away, leaving this theory unverified.

The Fate of Marree Man

The Marree Man swiftly became an icon of South Australia, drawing tourists from far and wide. Yet, this famous figure faced an ominous fate – erosion. Situated on Native title lands, the site was never open to the public, and its slow deterioration threatened to erase its secrets forever. In 2013, NASA reported that the geoglyph’s outline had nearly vanished from satellite images. Local efforts ensued, involving a 5-day project using GPS coordinates and a construction grader to create wind grooves. The hope is that these grooves will foster vegetation growth, potentially preserving the iconic for future generations.


Marree Man, the world’s largest geoglyph, continues to baffle and captivate us. Its creation remains a mystery, with various theories and clues only deepening the enigma. While time and erosion threaten to erase this iconic figure from the Australian landscape, efforts to preserve it persist. The enigmatic Marree Man will continue to spark curiosity and wonder for years to come.

Who created Marree Man?

The creator of Marree Man remains unknown. Various theories suggest different possibilities, but the true artist has never come forward.

What are some theories about the purpose of Marree Man?

Theories range from it being a tourism stunt to extraterrestrial involvement, or even a political statement. One plausible theory implicates Australian artist Bardius Goldberg.

Can Marree Man still be seen today?

Marree Man’s outline has faded significantly due to erosion. However, local efforts to preserve it may allow future generations to catch a glimpse of this enigmatic geoglyph.

What were the peculiar items found at the site?

Among the peculiar items found were a satellite photo of Marree Man, a U.S. flag, and a note referencing the Branch Davidians, a cult group from Texas.

Why is Marree Man significant?

Marree Man is the world’s largest geoglyph, known for its sheer size and the mystery surrounding its creation. It has become an iconic symbol of South Australia.

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