Devils Marble (Karlu Karlu)
The Devils Marbles are made of large granitic boulders which were formed millions of years ago as a result of the hardening of magma within the Earth’s crust.The natural processes of weathering and erosion have created the various shapes of the boulders. Some of the boulders are naturally but they are part of the top layer of a formation which goes through the ground from below such as little geological islands in the desert. They are surrounded by large amounts of sandstone which is on top of the granite exerted extreme downward pressure on the granite. After some time, tectonic forces caused folding of the Earth’s crust in the area, which lifted the granite and fractured the sandstone, allowing the granite to come closer to the surface. Due to the pressure reduced, the granite expanded causing cracks to form, and then the larger formations began to separate into big, square blocks. Thus, we can say that underground granite formation is done at that place.
Devil Marbles Conservation Reserve is situated 105 km south of Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, Australia and 393 km north of Alice Springs. The nearest city from the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve is Wauchope which is located 9 km to the south. Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve was established in October 1961 which is also known as Karlu Karlu.
The Devil Marbles are of great cultural and religious implication to the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land. The Reserve protects one of the oldest spiritual sites in the world as well as the natural rock formations found there. The Aboriginal term translates as round boulders and refers to the large boulders found mainly in the western side of the reserve. The actual and original name of the reserve was Devil Marbles Reserve. But after 18 years period in September 1979, the name of the reserve was changed under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act. So, since September 1979, the reserve has already been known as Devil’s Marbles Conservation Reserve. The entire reserve was recorded as a sacred site by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority. Ownership of the Karlu Karlu was passed with an authorization from the Parks and Wildlife Service of the Northern Territory and back to the Traditional Owners at a ceremony which was held on the reserve in October 2008. The reserve is now leased back to the Park Service under 99 year lease and the site is jointly managed by rangers and traditional owners. On 6 July 2011, the name Karlu Karlu was assigned corresponding with the joint management structure.
Karlu Karlu are culturally and morally important objects of the local Aboriginal people. Most of the conservation reserve is a Registered Sacred Site which is protected under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act. Though Karlu Karlu is within country
originally belonging to the Alyawarre, Kaytetye, Warumungu and Warlpiri people, all of the other local Aboriginal groups and also have spiritual relations and responsibilities for the area.
Let’s we talk about some decoded history and some real fact things. Accounts of local Aboriginal people believing the boulders to be eggs of the fabulous Rainbow Serpent are incorrect. In reality, a number of traditional Dreaming stories means that none of which are about serpents have Karlu Karlu as their setting, hence its great importance as a sacred site. These stories are well and energetic which are passed on from generation to generation of Traditional Owners. Only a handful of stories are considered suitable to tell to uninitiated visitors.
One of the main Dreaming stories for the area which can be told to the public relates to how Karlu Karlu was made. This tradition tells of Arrange, the Devil Man, who came from a hill nearby and travelled through the area. At the same time as walking along, Arrange made a hair-string which is worn only by initiated men. Here, hair-string means that one type of conventional decoration. As he was winding the hair to make strings, he dropped clusters of hair on the ground. The clusters turned into the big red boulders at Karlu Karlu that have become so famous today. On his way back to his hill, Arrange spat on the ground. His spit turned into the granite boulders in the central part of the reserve. Arrange finally returned to his place of origin, a hill called Ayleparrarntenhe where he remains today.