Glen Helen (including Ormiston Gorge and Pound National Park). One of the most beautiful gorges in Central Australia. Glen Helen is located 133 km west of Alice Springs at the end of the sealed section of road known as Namatjira Drive. No one knows who named the region but it was one of the first pastoral leases in Central Australia. The first owner, Alan Braeden, overlanded stock over 2000 km and built a house, Munga Munga, on the bank of Ormiston Creek. It is now nothing more than a pile of rubble.
Today the term Glen Helen is applied to the lodge, the gorge near the lodge and the surrounding 368 hectare Nature Park controlled by the Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory. The Glen Helen Gorge is formed from quartzite. Sandstone was deposited in the area some 500 million years ago when it was a huge inland sea. It was subsequently tilted and uplifted. As this uplift was occurring the Finke River slowly eroded its way through the mountain range. Glen Helen is known to local Aborigines as Yapalpe and the Finke River is Larapinta which means 'serpent'. It was a favourite meeting place for the Aboriginal people from the West and Central MacDonnell Ranges. The rocky slopes around the gorge are home to a colony of black-footed rock wallabies which sometimes appear in the late afternoon and early evening to feed on grass, herbs, leaves and fruits.
The Finke River, which was named by John McDouall Stuart after the Adelaide financier William Finke, rises in the MacDonnell Ranges and flows over 1000 km until it disappears into Lake Eyre. Over the years the Finke has acquired its own mythology. Rumours about it abound. It is claimed, even in the Conservation Commission literature, that the Finke is the oldest river in the world - no one quite explains what such a claim actually means. It certainly isn't recorded as such in the Guinness Book of Records. It is said that the Finke only ever runs for the entire length of its course about twice every century. Glen Helen is one of only six permanent waterholes on the Finke River. A tributary of the Finke, the Ormiston Creek, runs through Ormiston Gorge and Pound National Park. The park consists of the spectacular Pound and the narrow gorge which is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful gorges in Central Australia. The subject of a number of paintings by Albert Namatjira the gorge rises to over 300 metres at points and is characterised by the beautiful river red gums and the euros and rock wallabies which abound in the park.
The area was explored by Peter Egerton Warburton on his epic 1873-74 journey from Alice Springs to the Western Australian coast which traversed the Great Sandy Desert. He named the Ormiston Creek which runs through the area and joins the Finke River.
Thank you Dear Heather for this lovely card and the wonderful stamps on it.