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Tropic of Capricorn

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Central Australia Images - Tropic of Capricorn
Located on the Stuart Highway just 30 km north of Alice Springs, setback some 15 metres back from the road, is the distinctive marker for the Tropic of Capricorn.

Started as a Bicentennial community project sponsored by Rotary Club of Stuart, Centralian Advocate, and Murray Neck Retravision, it began life on 21st November, 1986, as a competition for design sketches from the public. The closing date of the competition was the 23rd January, 1987, by which time there were 35 entries.

After public inspection of the entries and a vote, the final decision was made by an expert panel of judges by 13th April, 1987. They had chosen the design submitted by Chris Marcic, who at the time was a part time announcer for the ABC radio.
The design consisted of a stylised globe of the world on top of a slanted pole approximately 6.5 metres high. Much of the materials, services and funding were donated in part by local businesses involved in the construction and by the general public.

The official opening of the monument was on the 27th November, 1988.

The marker is a designated rest area, with picnic tables, barbecue facilities, shelter and permits overnight camping. At the time of writing this, there were no public toilet facilities.

Whilst the majority of the Territory lies to the north of the Tropic of Capricorn, Central Australia encompasses the middle of Australia, extending north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and west, south east across state borders.
Rainfall map - Tropic of Capricorn
The monsoonal tropics begin north of Newcastle Waters. This is reflected in the rainfall gradient.
Darwin has an average 1600mm a year, Newcastle Waters 600mm and the Tropic of Capricorn 200mm!

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter? To a tropical Top Ender these seasons are alien concepts.

Non-Aboriginal locals talk of ‘The Dry’, ‘The Build-up’, and ‘The Wet’. Our infamous Top End ‘Build-up’ heralds the lead up to The Wet. It’s a time of high heat and humidity when people are said to ‘go troppo’. This is however, the simplified version of the tropical seasons.

Aboriginal people recognise a cycle of seasons based on the rich and complex behaviour of animals and plants, and the characteristic sights, sounds and smells of the season. The pre-monsoonal storm season (equivalent to the whitefella ‘Build-up’), for example, is a time to hunt and collect yams, fruits, fish, flying foxes and saltwater crocodile eggs.

You’ll see none of these seasons at the Tropic of Capricorn though. The Tropic of Capricorn may be the official boundary between desert and tropics, but you need to travel on to the 17-8ºS latitude near Newcastle Waters (north of here) to see, smell and feel the wet/dry tropics.

Extract from the Tropic of Capricorn information board

Tropic of Capricorn Monument

Tropic of Capricorn Monument

Tropic of Capricorn Monument

Tropic of Capricorn Monument

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