Henbury Meteorite craters

I visited the Henbury meteorite craters in November 2015, about 140km southwest of Alice Springs.

According to Wikipedia, Henbury is one of five meteorite impact sites in Australia with remaining meteorite fragments and one of the world’s best preserved examples of a small crater field.

Henbury Meteorites Crater
Henbury Meteorites Crater in Central Australia.

At Henbury there are 13 to 14 craters ranging from 7 to 180 metres in diameter and up to 15 metres in depth that were formed when the meteor broke up before impact 4700 years ago. Several tonnes of iron-nickel fragments have been recovered from the site.

One can only imagine what local Aborigines must have thought at the time.

The meteor hurtled to earth at 40,000kmh and scattered fragments can be seen at the Museum of Central Australia.

There’s a walking trail of about 1.5km around the main crater. Camping is available at the site, although there are no facilities except a toilet and a barbecue plate.

The Henbury Meteorite craters are named for Henbury Station. Henbury occupies an area of 5273 square kilometres that extends from the tops of the MacDonnell Ranges, down the foothills and across the open red plains to the Finke River.

Wikipedia adds: “The Henbury meteorite crater field lies at the crossroads of several Aboriginal language groups, including Arrernte, Luritja, Pitjantjatjarra, and Yankunytjatjara. It is considered a sacred site to the Arrernte people and would have formed during human habitation of the area.”

It’s been said that older Aboriginal people would not camp within a couple of miles of the Henbury meteorite craters or drink rainwater that collected in the craters, fearing the “fire-devil” would fill them with a piece of iron.

The craters were listed on the Northern Territory Heritage Register on 13 August 2003. I recommend a visit if you’re passing that way.

Michael Gorey

A traveller through the universe. Not everyone who wanders is lost.

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