Wave Rock

26 Mar

There are many well-known natural formations all over the world; The Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls and Mt Everest, to name a few. In Australia, there is a particularly spectacular formation that many of our readers may not be aware of, due to its fairly remote location. I am referring to what is known as ‘Wave Rock’; an enormous rock formation in south-eastern Western Australia, which is the largest state in Australia.

Located 3km (or about 2 miles) from the small town of Hyden, this natural geological formation attracts approximately 140,000 tourists a year. The rock itself is a large granite formation that has been dated to 2.63 billion years old, and was created through complex geological processes. As you can see from the picture below, it closely resembles an ocean wave, hence the name, and is nearly 50 feet (14m) high and 350 feet (110m)  across.

Wave Rock. It stands 14m high and close to 110m long.

Wave Rock. It stands 14m high and close to 110m long.

While there are no creepy mysteries relating to Wave Rock itself, the local indigenous people stayed clear of the area for fear of the spirit ‘Mulka’.

Here is the story of Mulka sourced from the Wave Rock website

Legend of Mulka’s Cave

“The name Mulka comes from an Aboriginal legend associated with the cave. Mulka was the illegal son of a woman who fell in love with a man with whom marriage was forbidden according to their law.

It was believed that as a result of breaking these rules she bore a son with crossed eyes. Even though he grew to be an outstandingly strong man of colossal height, his crossed eyes prevented him from aiming a spear accurately and becoming a successful hunter.

Out of frustration it is said Mulka turned to catching and eating human children, and he became the terror of the district. He lived in Mulka’s cave, where the imprints of his hands can still be seen, much larger and higher than that of an ordinary man.

Apparently, his mother became increasingly concerned about him. When she scolded him for his anti-social behaviour he turned on his own mother and killed her. This disgraced him even further and he fled his cave, heading south.

The Aboriginal people of the area, outraged by Mulka’s behaviour, then tracked down this man who had flouted all the rules. They caught him near Dumbleyung, 156km south west of Hyden, where they speared him to death. Because he did not deserve a proper ritual burial, they left his body to the ants: a grim warning to those who break the law.”

So, how did this formation come to be? As previously stated, the geological processes that led to the formation of Wave Rock are quite complex, but I will attempt to break it down to a simple, easier to understand explanation for our readers. Basically, Wave Rock is a part of a much larger rock known as Hyden Rock, and the shape was created by continuous erosion of the softer rock beneath the upper edge, in the process of weathering. This occurred over many millions of years. Eventually, this resulted in an ‘undercut’ base with a rounded overhanging shape, and ended up in the wave shape that we see today.

Having lived in Western Australia most of my life, I have visited wave rock numerous times. If you ever decide to visit Western Australia, I highly suggest making the effort to go and see the rock and some of the Australian countryside whilst you are there.

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