Murphy’s Haystacks

About 40km south of Streaky Bay, on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, lie the inselbergs known as Murphy’s Haystacks.

Local legend has it that coach driver Charlie Mudge named Murphy’s Haystacks following a remark by a Scottish agricultural advisor who saw the landmark in the distance while travelling on the mail coach. Shimmering like haystacks in the hot afternoon sun, he was very impressed with the sight before him and remarked, “That man must harrow, look at all the hay he has saved.” (

The pink Hiltaba Granite, which is 1500 million years old, has been weathered in such a way as to produce these landforms, which are believed to be 100 000 years old in their current form.

Initial erosion by water and wind would have formed upright stacks or inselbergs and plains. Over thousands of years, sand was deposited on, and around, the granite hills of the region, burying the prolific structures. Further erosion has revealed the forms on Murphy’s land.

The different formations indicate time periods and methods of erosion, and lichen now thrives on the exposed granite, adding more colour. It is a great place to photograph and only costs a small donation to walk around an area the size of a paddock.

Safe travels. Take water, hat and sunscreen.


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