The total length of the Stuart Highway is just over 2,800km from Port Augusta to Darwin and roughly follows John McDouall Sturt’s route when he travelled across the continent in 1860s. Because of its epic length, a diversion from the highway to check out something cool is always welcome.
Aileron is about 150km north of Alice Springs and includes a roadhouse, accommodation and an art gallery, but these features are completely overshadowed by two massive statues. The Anmatjere Woman And Child is the first statue you’ll see – towering in the yard behind the art gallery.
Look up and you’ll see the second statue – the Anmatjere Man, or Big Aboriginal (in Big Things terms), up on Aileron Hill. The statue stands 17 meters tall and weighs about 8 tonnes. We did the short climb up the hill and were absolutely astounded at how big this Anmatjere Man is. These statues were erected in 2005 to increase traffic through Aileron and we think it’s working.
That night, we camped at Ryans Well Historical Reserve, which is named after a guy called Ned Ryan. He was a stonemason and bushman who was an expert at making wells. Ryans Well was dug by hand in 1889 to encourage settlement in the NT.