Sandstone Tower, Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve, Northern Territory, Australia

Chambers Pillar is a sandstone formation some 160 km south of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. Erosion by wind and rain has left an isolated pillar of 350 million year old sandstone, rising 50 metres above the surrounding plain. The rock formation and the surrounding area of 340 hectares, or 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi), are officially named the Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve.

John McDouall Stuart was the first European to see Chambers Pillar, reaching the site in April 1860, and naming it after James Chambers, one of his South Australian sponsors.During the subsequent years numerous visitors have added graffiti by carving names in the soft sandstone at the base of the pillar.

Chambers Pillar is reached via the unsealed Old South Road from Alice Springs to Maryvale Station. A 4WD vehicle is required after the Maryvale turnoff to Chambers Pillar. Drivers will encounter deep sand drifts and steep jump ups, as well as rolling sandy hills with limited sight lines and the deeply corrugated surfaces typical of Australian outback roads.

Northern Territory (abbreviated as NT) is a federal Australian territory in the centre and central northern regions. It shares borders with Western Australia to the west (129th meridian east), South Australia to the south (26th parallel south), and Queensland to the east (138th meridian east).

To the north, the territory is bordered by the Timor Sea, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Despite its large area—over 1,349,129 square kilometres (520,902 sq mi), making it the third largest Australian federal division—it is sparsely populated. With a population of 233,300 it is the least populous of Australia’s eight major states and territories, having fewer than half as many people as Tasmania.

The archaeological history of the Northern Territory begins over 40,000 years ago when Indigenous Australians settled the region. Makassan traders began trading with the indigenous people of the Northern Territory for trepang from at least the 18th century onwards, and very likely for 300 years prior to that.

The coast of the territory was first seen by Europeans in the 17th century. The British were the first Europeans to attempt to settle the coastal regions in the 19th century; however no attempt was successful until the establishment of a settlement at Port Darwin in 1869. Today the economy is based on tourism, especially Kakadu National Park in the Top End and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (Ayers Rock) in central Australia, and mining.

The capital city is Darwin. The population is not concentrated in coastal regions but rather along the Stuart Highway. The other major settlements are (in order of size) Palmerston, Alice Springs, Katherine, Nhulunbuy, and Tennant Creek.

Residents of the Northern Territory are often known simply as ‘Territorians’ and fully as ‘Northern Territorians’, or more informally as ‘Top Enders’ and ‘Centralians’.

Sandstone Tower, Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve, Northern Territory, Australia

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