Part 5 of Top 10 Things to do at Bundaberg
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
I have always found lesser-known places of interest to be of more interest than anything. Typical areas of interest are often busy and their information readily and somewhat easily available. It is, however, the mysterious places – off the beaten track – that give flight to the imagination and fill you with wonder.
This is precisely what I experienced at Mystery Craters near Bundaberg, Queensland. That the craters are claimed to be 25 million years old is reason enough to be curious.
Story has it that there lived a farmer named Murrin who grew a zucchini vegetative patch in Bundaberg. One day as he took his backhoe to clear his spot, it struck a solid rock like matter. He tried clearing the area only to expose huge holes in the ground. As the farm was like any other, spanning eight acres of land, he was naturally nonplussed to find silt, sand and some fossilized aquatic deposits which weren’t normal. To Murrin and his family, it was an exciting sojourn to unearth one hole and then find a similar one next to it.
When the earth was carefully removed, they discovered 27 such big holes! They appeared like craters of the moon, taking on the name Moon Craters. The cavities were lined with sandstone, approximately 18 feet wide and 42 feet deep. There are a total of 35 craters, but 8 of these are, as they say, below bushland grass. The craters were once a bright yellow, but have now turned a ginger brown with the possible formation of algae.
When I came face to face with the so-termed “mystery craters”, I couldn’t help but imagine them to be the footprints of the Yeti, a giant one. It takes you on a time journey, to give you a feel of what it must have looked like way back in 1971 when the craters were discovered.
Oddly, some of the craters seemed to have no rock bottom! Isn’t that enough to garner an enigmatic wonder! If I go on to say that some of the craters are completely dry and others filled with water, even the ones side by side, you’d gape in amazement. I did feel puzzled at how one hole was filled with water, perhaps with rainwater and how the one next to it was as waterless! I mean if it rained, how could it possibly rain in one crater and not in the other? Scientists have used probes to check for its bottom but have been unsuccessful. Bottomless pits that they are.
Another unique feature is that the shape of the holes was identical. This phenomenon is distinctive but still remains unsolved. Also, that the holes are never known to run completely dry nor ever overflow is inexplicable. Though there is a mention that the water is potable, I understood otherwise from our tour guide. I noticed cane toads in its dark crevices; it’s surprising how the toads have come into the picture in this article as well. Not surprising of a country for whom animals and reptiles hold a special place.
There are two schools of thought on the subject of the mystery craters. Some geologists are unable to pin down how they were formed but have several views on the subject.
Some German geologists suggest it’s a meteorite or a moon crater which may have fallen with high impact. Other geologists of Australian origin are of the view that it is the “roof of a subterranean lake caused by oil pressure underground” or “the edge of the ocean, a result of sea action”.
That sixty-seven geologists researched on this project indicates how mysterious a phenomenon this must have been. Inexplicable really. It attracted filmmakers as the Leyland Brothers and documentary filmmakers too.
Murrin is known to have sold five acres of his property, and the rest of the land surrounding the craters have been converted into lawns for the benefit of visiting tourists taking care not to change its natural surroundings. They are so natural that I could visualise being on the surface of the moon, without its gravitational field of course.
There is more to see in a storage room with implements on display in the backyard. There is a mobile swing saw, a vacuum pump driven from a stationary engine to create suction required on miking machines among many other implements from the 1940s even.
You could take a brief glimpse of Fairymead House through a little preview window called Fairy Dell, at this site.
Before you think you could use your drones to gain footage, be warned of a magnetic field which could smash the drones. Well, to have captured the mysterious sight in the mind’s eye is the best footage I’d have asked for!