Chambers Pillar is a pillar of sandstone which towers 50 metres
above the surrounding plain. It was formed by millions of years of
erosion. Sandstone deposits were laid down in the area 350 million
years ago. Since then, wind and rain have eroded away the softer
material, leaving this solitary sandstone column. Explorer John
MacDouall Stuart first recorded the pillar in April 1860 whilst
travelling north on his first attempt to cross Australia. He named it
after James Chambers, one of his South Australian sponsors.
Location: 160km south of Alice Springs
Until the coming of the railway in the 1920s, the Pillar was a
landmark in the desert on the long overland journey from Adelaide to
Alice Springs. Many of those early travellers have left a record of
their visit in the soft, white sandstone including John Ross and Alfred
Giles both in 1870. More recently, visitors have added their names or
graffitied the rock face. This is illegal and lessens the historical
significance of the Reserve.
Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve lies along the Old South Road on
a turnoff to the west of Maryvale Station. The road is unsealed and may
be closed after rain. After the Maryvale turnoff, a 4WD is required to
negotiate the deep sand drifts and steep jump ups.
Walking tracks explore the prominent features of Chambers Pillar and
the surrounding area. At sunrise and sunset, the Pillar glows like a
burning ember as the rays of the sun strike its walls. The viewing
platform at the base of the Pillar is to protect the fragile sandstone