What is it about stones? How many people reading this could deny ever picking up a stone, examining its colour and shape, feeling its texture and appreciating its solid, enduring firmness in the hand? How many have a collection of favourite stones that evoke memories of times and places enjoyed in the past?

Indeed stones have provoked a unique fascination for humans for thousands of years. They have provided a readily available source of weapons, tools and building materials. As humans advanced beyond the need for mere survival, stones were used with increasing creativity to build protective barriers, shelters and structures with spiritual and artistic significance. Archaeological and anthropological investigations demonstrate that this link between humans and stones appears to have no geographical or cultural boundaries and the fascination with stones continues as a medium for practical constructions and artistic expression.

The Dry Stone Story

The craft of dry stone walling, (which means building in stone without mortar or cement) must be very old indeed. How old? No one really seems to know for certain. Yet here we have a native art that has survived centuries in other lands, and even today, in this age of technology, continues to evoke a sense of passion and connection for Australians from all walks of life.

Dry stone walling in Australia emerged in the mid 1800's in areas where a proliferation of stone in the geological landscape necessitated a clearing of the land. Although built as the most economic form of fencing, specific historical associations can also be made with particular landowners as so often the style of wall also reflects the status of its builder. Constructed by both Anglo Celtic and European Migrants the walls are historically and culturally significant, standing as testimony to a time when artisan skills portrayed the patterns of our early settlement. Albeit agrarian and connected with grazing as the chief rural industry, their aesthetic qualities and strong sculptural forms create visual definitions and picturesque qualities that allude to romantic traces of ruins to the landscape.


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