Kanku–Breakaways Conservation Park ~ Snapshots from South Australia

Known simply as “The Breakaways”, the breath-taking former Breakaway Reserve is now known as Kanku–Breakaways Conservation Park.

This spectacular conservation park is the traditional land of the Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara people, having always been a place of profound spiritual significance to the traditional owners.

The Aboriginal people have lived in this area for thousands of years, and this area holds a very important place in their stories and dreamtime. Prior to white settlement, the area was known as “Umoona”, named after the tree that grows in the area and meaning “long life”. With the arrival of the white man searching for opals, the Aboriginal people named the area “Kupaku Piti”, meaning “white man’s hole”.

The phrase “The Breakaways” gets its name from the massive rocks and plateaus that from a distance looks like they have “broken away” from the main range known as the Stuart Ranges. This ancient Australian landscape, dates back over 115 million years ago, and features many flat-topped mesas, that would once have been islands in a vast inland sea.

The following two hills are about “Two Dogs (Papa)”, know as “salt and pepper” or the “castle” to non-aboriginal people. To the Aboriginal people, they are known as the two dogs sitting down, one brown dog and one white dog. The difference in colouring of the two hills, although joined, has been caused by various stages of weathering and erosion, with the white hill being weathered faster than the brown hill.

To the south west of Two Dogs is a peaked hill, known as Man (Wati) who is the owner of the dogs. Other Aboriginal stories include the Emu (Kalayu) and Bearded Dragon (Ungkata).

At The Breakaways, visitors to the region can also see the “Dog Fence”, the longest fence and also the longest man made structure in the world. Stretches from the Great Australian Bight in far-western South Australia to the Queensland coast, this 5,300 km “Dog Fence” was built to protect the sheep-growing areas in the south from the dingoes in Central Australia. Erected in the 1950s, the “Dog Fence” is still maintained today by small teams of dog trappers, fence patrollers, pastoralists and repairers. The “Dog Fence” is sometimes referred to as the “Dingo Fence”.

Check out our page on Kanku–Breakaways Conservation Park.