The Breakaways • South Australia • Australia
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The Breakaways is a site of siginificance to the Antakirinja Matuntjara Yankunytjatjara people. They are a striking example of arid scenery from the flat-topped mesas to the stony gibber desert. The area is rich in Aboriginal and European history. The Breakaways are one of the hottest places in Australia, with summer temperatures reaching up to 65 degrees celsius.Seventy million years ago, this area was covered by an inland sea. Fossils of the original sea creatures can be found throughout the area.
Ancient Aboriginal artefacts can be found throughout the reserve. Abandoned jasper and silcrete stone tools and flakes are the most commonly found. The levels of workmanship of the stone implements varies greatly, from rough stone fragments to highly worked, finely edged cutting tools.
Before European settlement, Aboriginal people called the area "umoona", meaning "long life". It was named after the umoona tree, which is found in the Breakaways. The full Aboriginal legend about the Breakaways is secret men's business, but some of the story can be told.
In this photo, Ungkata is featured (the small mesa). Ungkata means "bearded dragon lizard" and this particular animal is the token for the Antakirinja people.
The Breakaways is the main source of red ochre used in body decoration for ceremonies. Other ochre colours are also found here.
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