The Australian Outback is a place full of natural and – increasingly – unnatural wonders.
Grey nomads are used to seeing everything from bizarre rusted metal sculptures to ‘thong’ trees as they traverse the highways and byways of the bush. While the occasional quirky addition to the sparse landscape can bring a smile to a weary traveller’s face, the rapid proliferation of man-made ‘attractions’ can also upset some.
A case in point is the rapid rise of the ‘dressed ant mound’ phenomenon which is sweeping northern Australia. Grey nomads report ever growing numbers of mounds adorned in dresses, footy shirts and everything in between. Some even have faces painted on them.
The North West Star newspaper reports huge numbers of decorated mounds between Camooweal and Cloncurry in north-west Queensland.
Camooweal’s Post Office Hotel publican Chris Doyle said some people ‘get a kick out of it’ but others complained because the clothes become dirty and ragged after a while.
“I just reckon it takes away a bit of the natural beauty,” he told the North West Star. “It seems now everyone is going to keep doing it and it will end up everywhere.”
Indjalandji-Dhidhanu man Colin Saltmere was interested in the ant hills even though he nearly stopped for what he believed was a miner who had broken down.
“It obviously takes your eyes off the road but it’s interesting,” Mr Saltmere told the Star. “It was a novelty similar to that of the ‘bike tree’ near Dajarra. These ones are a funny, funny thing.”