The Gympie Pyramid;
a nice little mystery that Australian Academia likes to ignore
Probably one of the most interesting things about the Gympie Pyramid is that the entire Academic and Archaeological "Establishment" of Australia likes to pretend that it is not there and refuses to do any form of  serious investigation into it. More over they refuse to apply basic science to test the "myth". The quote above is an excellent example of this strange and unscientific attitude. A thorough, scientific survey and excavation of the site would solve the mystery one way or the other; but no the old head in the sand technique is preferred.
The fact is that the Gympie Pyramid is a serious, famous and unexplained archaeological anomaly that causes hackles to rise on the necks of our most learned historians and archaeologists, they gnash their teeth and tug their hair like Spanish Inquisitors confronted by an unrepentant heretic but they still refuse to go there.
Why is that?

I don't remember when I first heard about the "Gympie Pyramid", probably sometime in the 1980's when I moved up to Queensland. I heard all kinds of  intriguing stories about it from lots of different sources. When I began my degree at the University of Queensland, try as I might, I could not find any papers of a scientific nature on the "Pyramid". I thought that was a bit of a puzzle so when I was in the second year of my degree in Archaeology in 1990 I had the opportunity of doing a small "practice" research paper on a subject of my choice I asked my supervisor if I could do it on the Gympie Pyramid. My supervisor, the ever worthy Doctor Hall, was a bit dubious at first but as the paper was worth only half a subject ( a full subject being worth 10 points this was worth 5 points) he finally agreed.
To start me on my way he mentioned that the only paper he was aware of on the subject of the "pyramid" was by a Dr. Michael Morwood who claimed it was the work of Italian wine growers; but he did not have a copy.
So it was that I decided I would start from scratch.
I tracked down the location of this very famous structure and wrote my little paper on it which I now publish here below.
I will also publish the only other work by an Archaeologist on the "Gympie Pyramid",  by (now) Professor Michael Morwood (when I find a copy).
THe only other acedemic paper I can find written on the Gympie Pyramid was written by Dr. Elaine Brown, a retired history teacher who has a PhD in History.
Doctor Brown has refused me permission to publish her paper on this site because she took offence at the fact I had the hide to point out a few obvious errors in her work. She refuses to supply me with her referances sources for the same reason!!!
Fasinating stuff.

I stress that the paper reproduced below was a work I did as a second year student and it was never meant to be an exhaustive or in depth study of the subject. Since that paper was written I guess it was nearly ten years before I visited the site of the "Gympie Pyramid" again. In that time I had read the work of several "researchers" including Brett Green and Rex Gilroy.  As neither of these gentlemen appear to have any professional training I do not judge their work too harshly. Further, as they are very protective of their "sources"  I can not comment on a number of their conclusions. I will say that it appears that they have used some evidence (I assume unknowingly and unintentionally) to support their theories, which is clearly fake. I will deal with those issues later. Below is my paper which I think serves as a fair introduction to the subject. After that I will introduce more facts on the structure and analyse the work of other writers
The so-called "Gympie Pyramid" is located at the south east end of a rocky ridge at the point marked with a blue X  on this map.
You will see a small square off the bottom left leg of the X, this is the remains of a slaughter yard (about 400 metres from the edge of the "GP" site). The railway line now passes through this place going north west towards the number 06.

‘The Gympie Pyramid’ (written in 1990)

About 5 km to the north of the township of Gympie in south east Queensland is a structure (or series of structures) which has become known as the ‘Gympie Pyramid’.
There have been many differing claims as to its origins and function. Some of these claims have been quite controversial and gained considerable media attention beginning in 1956 through to the present. In preparing this paper I investigated the various claims and the local folk-lore which surrounds the ‘pyramid’ and attempted to place these in a context which is supported by empirical or historical fact. Documentation was scarce which has meant that the results of my investigation tend to highlight what the structure is not rather than what it is. I hope to remedy this situation by completing a more detailed survey of the site in early 1990.

The Structure and Its Setting.
The Gympie pyramid is found at the eastern end of a sandstone ridge approximately 5 km from the center of Gympie on the Tin Can Bay road (Map reference: Series R733. Sheet 9445:N060:E690).
To call it a pyramid would be to ascribe the structure characteristics which it appears not to have, that is of a megalithic construction. For although there is a rough pyramidical shape this arises mostly from the natural shape of the ridge terminal which has been enhanced by a series of terraces on the south-eastern and south-western slopes. At this stage there appear to be six of these terraces the first of which begins at approximately 60 meters above sea level.
The first four terraces are approximately 10 metres wide, the fifth is about five metres wide and the sixth is 2 metres wide. The last terrace is about 100 metres above sea level. Above the last terrace is a mass of huge sandstone blocks which constitute the peak.
The last terrace is also the one which has either retained its original form most fully or which was constructed most effectively to resist weathering action. The fact that it would be subject to less run-off from the heavy rainfalls, due to it being close to the peak of the hill, is the most likely reason for its good condition. The Gympie area is subject to 50 plus inches of rain fall per annum. This rain tends to fall in a "wet" season characterised by occasional extremely heavy falls over short periods of time (such as were seen in May of 1989 when 10 inches fell in less than 24 hours). Bulldozing was also carried out on the lower section of the slope in the early 1960’s (personal communication T. Jones 1989). The another factor probably responsible for the gradual deterioration of the terraces from the highest to the lowest and the proportional decrease in visible and intact stone walling is the action of cattle which have grazed the area for some time. There is better feed on the lower terraces.
Walking on an ascending line from the bottom of the S.E. slope the first terrace appears to be formed from earth although the long grass and erosion may be obscuring stone wall remnants.
On the second terrace there are only two sections of stone wall clearly visible, each section being about 2m in length. The third terrace has two sections visible, one of about 6m which then either breaks down or is buried under leaves, earth and general erosion for about 10m until another length, about 3m, becomes visible.
The fourth terrace presents 32m of reasonably intact stone walls. The fifth terrace presents over 80m of continuous wall which ends in a 90 degree corner mound, the integrity of which has been disturbed by a Camphor Laurel tree of about 30 years age growing in the middle of the mound. The corner section of the wall is formed by much larger rocks than are evident in other parts of the wall. Some of these rocks would weigh around one ton or slightly more.
The wall above the last terrace appears to be an utilisation of the existing nature rock formation of the peak.
The total area terraced would be approximately one hectare. The stones of which the walls are made do not show any sign of being worked by tools, although depending of the age of the structure, tool markings would have been subject to weathering as the sandstone is relatively soft. Most of the blocks weigh between 10 and 20 kg’s with there being no obvious uniformity in size within this range. There are larger stones in the walls of some sections and stones as small as a kilo is used to wedge larger stones. Whilst there is no evidence of terracing on the northern slopes which are steep and covered by very small boulders, the south western slopes do have evidence of terracing and some other structures which are not terraces. One of these non-terrace structures is a semi-circular section of stone wall about 2m in diameter (see photo 1). There is evidence of recent digging in the centre of this structure to a depth of about 0.5m. Inspection of this excavation shows that the structure appears to have been filled with a gravely soil. I called this structure a “turret” because it reminded me of the remains of the Roman guard watch turrets I had seen around the base of Masada.
The remnants of a stone mound are situated about 5m behind the “turret” structure. Due to the thickness of lantana growth over this it was not closely inspected.
At the peak of the pyramid, on a kind of platform area, there is what appears to have been an Aboriginal rock shelter beneath the over hang of a large boulder. Found nearby were two large grinding stones, one intact and one broken ( see photo 2.). These are massive stones of several hundred kilograms in weight. The depth and smoothness of the bowl section indicated extensive use.

Previous work.
As noted above the ‘pyramid’ has, on different occasions, been the subject of controversy, speculation and an amount of media attention. As a result of this the Archaeological division of the Queensland government commissioned Dr Michael Morwood to do an archaeological survey of the site. Morwood appears to have done a reasonably brief survey of the site which missed several major features of the structure. Unfortunately there is a long running bias against archaeological anomalies which tend to blind academics forced to approach them. This strange “blindness” appears to have caused him to reach a conclusion that the structure has an agricultural function.
He states: "It would appear that the structure was of agricultural and horticultural function resulting from clearance of the southwest corner of the ridge. Terracing DID NOT (emphasis mine) extends onto the south-east slope which is not suitable for agriculture......" (Morwood 1976). My investigations have shown that there is clearly evidence of extensive terracing on the south east slopes, although I am in complete agreement with Morwood that these slopes are unsuitable for agriculture.
Another person who examined the ‘pyramid’ is a Mr Rex Gilroy who ascribes to a strong cultural diffusionist view and sees the structure of being of Egyptian origin. Gilroy also investigated a stone object which was ploughed up in the paddock of an adjacent property in the early 1960s by the person farming there. This is approximately 1m high. It appears to be a natural formation that has some resemblance to the upper section of a male human torso. This resemblance has been enhanced by the carving of a face into the head section. The face is highly stylised resembling, to a degree, artefacts found in Melanesia and also in the Andes. The fact that the statue was found within the proximity of the ‘pyramid’ may infer that there is a relation between the two.
A range of the other groups have expressed interest in the ‘pyramid’ some of these include the ‘Order of Ancient Astronauts’ which has a base in Brisbane and a Gympie occult group that includes several people who claim some degree of psychic ability. I interviewed one of these, a Ms Betty Dodd, who claimed to have seen a white garbed apparition at the ‘pyramid’. She also reported that a friend of hers was unable to approach the ‘pyramid’ without experiencing feelings of vertigo or other forms of distress.
Another local, Mr Trevor Jones, a timber worker, connected the location with what he has heard of local Aboriginal lore. That is to say that there were certain places that the Aborigines believed it was unsafe to go due the presence of bad spirits or other entities and that the ‘pyramid’ might fall within that category of places.

Possible Origins
At this stage, due to the limited amount of data available on this subject, it is difficult to present any firm inferences as to the structure’s origins however the possibilities that do exist fall roughly into three categories:
1. That the structure was created at some point in time after European settlement of the area and had some kind of agricultural function (Morwood 1976).
2. That the structure was created at some time prior to European settlement and was of Aboriginal construction.
3. That it was pre-European and of non-Aboriginal construction.
The main challenge from the first possibility, that it is of European origins, is to ascertain who constructed it and for what purpose. The notion that it was constructed for some kind of agricultural venture (such as the growing of grapes, table or wine by Italian migrants was suggested by a local rumour and referred to by Morwood in his paper) appears reasonable at first glance.
To test this theory I examined local records (electoral rolls, land deeds and cemetery records).
These showed clearly that there was no Italian community existing in Gympie as any time prior to W.W.II (the structure can safely be dated at least 40 years old by the tree growth on it). Also if it has been a vineyard it would have had a production capacity of in excess of 40,000 litres per annum using traditional Italian farming methods (Notarianni: 1989 personal communication) which would be a huge quantity of wine and would have required the construction of a range of associated equipment such as storage vats, storage cellars and so on within a reasonable proximity to the site and of which some remains or record should still exist. Further more one would expect to find some remnants of the posts used for trellising the vines. None have been found at this point in time.
Further points against agricultural usage are that only the southerly aspects of the slopes.  The local agricultural community almost inevitably favours northerly slopes which give the best sun shine and warmth in winter when frost can be a problem. The question also arises as to why the huge investment of time and energy required to terrace such a large area should be expended when much more suitable areas for agriculture (i.e. with better soils, slopes, access and aspect) which would not require terracing exist in abundance around that area. The soil of the area, as Morwood notes, is very poor, shallow "at best skeletal" (Morwood 1976). None of the backfill shows any evidence of including introduction of more fertile soils.
Terracing in agriculture is an activity which generally occurs only when land is in short supply as by its nature it is an exercise in exploiting or utilising intensely, a marginal zone. The Gympie region is a lush, fertile area with many undulating hills of deep soil types. This is the case today as it was 100 years ago. Rich alluvial flats and gentle slopes exist in abundance within 500 metres in all directions of the ‘pyramid’. The terraced area is unique in that it is probably the least suitable area for agriculture within a radius of at least several kilometres. If it was not constructed for agriculture then what for?

Are the Terraces Pre-European?
A further argument against the structure being of historical origin is found in the Queensland Government Lands Department records. The structure is actually intersected by three separate land deeds or titles, Homestead Mining Leases. The first of these was granted on the 30.6.1892 as mining homestead lease (No.1484) to an R.H.James who held the lease for 11 years; the lease was then transferred to Edwards in 1903. This lease was for five acres of land and takes in roughly 50% of the total terraced area (see appendix). In 1929 and 1931 the leases which adjoined to either side of the first lease were taken up by Drummond and Parke as joint tenants, in 1932 Drummond acquired the 5 acres of lease 1484. This was the first time that the ‘pyramid’s’ ownership was formally united. The presence of old fence posts and the remnants of barbed wire on those posts which run across and through the terraced areas indicates that the area was probably used for grazing cattle during Drummond’s ownership although this inference has yet to be firmly verified. Drummond and Parke held the three leases until 1961 at which point they were acquired by Ward who held them until 1973 when they were acquired by Blackmore who then split the leases back into individual blocks by selling them in 1981 and 1982 to separate groups.
From this history of ownership we see that the Leases on which the ‘pyramid’ structure is found were owned by the same persons from 1929 to 1961. As the first controversy on its origins appeared in the local press in 1956 (Hall: 1989 personal communication) it follows that the then owners would have known if it had been constructed by themselves or during the period of their ownership. If the terracing was done prior to 1929 why would any group or individual carry out such extensive and expensive works on land over which they did not hold title, particularly given the ease of acquisition and low cost of these leases at that time?
The problem with the possibility of pre-European origins is that whilst Aborigines have been known to construct significant earthworks in the form of Bora-rings there is no known tradition of hill terracing amongst Australian Aboriginal populations (the same applies to Australian European populations). It may be possible that if the structure is pre-European there is a relationship between the stone wall technology used on the terraces and the stone wall construction used in the Toorbul Point fish trap which is a continuous wall enclosing an area of about 70m by 35 m (Walters 1985). Even if there was a relationship in construction technique it would be extremely difficult to find any functional justification for the terraces which could not have the same subsistence value as the fish traps.
Non-functional use of the stone structures has been noted in Central Australia by Mountford amongst the Pitiandadjara tribe. In this case unusual rectangular slabs of stone of approximately 1m height were erected in geometric patterns (Mountford 1958).

The possibility of non-aboriginal, Non European Origins.
To date there has been no substantiated evidence for a pre-European non-Aboriginal presence on the East coast of Australia. This is perhaps unusual given the relative closeness of Australia to the Islands of Melanesia and Polynesia with their populations of seafaring nations. Australia is close to the early centres of Oceanic expansion such as New Caledonia, the New Hebrides and Fiji. In the case of the first two it is considerably closer than New Zealand which was extensively colonised by several waves of colonists, most likely from Fiji (Bellwood 1978).
On this basis it is possible that the structure is of Polynesian origins. The Polynesians certainly has a tradition of terracing hills in the construction of forts and for religious purposes (Bellwood 1978) and many examples of these are found through out Polynesia. The god mounds of Tonga and the village fortresses of Rapaiti being just two examples. The stone wall structures on Rapaiti (Heyadahl 1958) bear quite a strong resemblance to the Gympie terraces.
Access to the area from the ocean would have been relatively easy via the Mary River although it is difficult to see why a people would travel so far up river, particularly if they were of seafaring tradition.
The site is well located for a fortress commanding extensive and uninterrupted views of the surrounding flat terrain. The slopes are steep and easily defended. The unusually shapes boulders on the summit could easily be adapted to make excellent parapets. A permanent source of fresh water is available from a spring on the south west slope and fertile flat land watered by a substantial permanent creek exists in abundance at the base of the ‘pyramid’ to the east and south.
The discovery of an Oceanic styled statue in a field nearby may lend support to this hypothesis.

This investigation, being only of a preliminary nature, tends to indicate that there are still a range of questions concerning this site the most important of which is establishing the structure’s age. The indications are that it is at least 60 years old and that further information of its age will only be acquired by:
1. Contacting a living individual or historical source that has information on its origin.
2. Using dendrochronology on dead and living trees which have grown since the terracing was done.
3. Doing a stratigraphic analysis of selected locations.
4. Obtaining material suitable for Radio-carbon dating.
If there is any credence to the idea of the structure being of pre-European and non-Aboriginal origins it would be expected that a more thorough survey of the site would turn up evidence in the form of artefacts which are out of context with the Aboriginal material culture. If the structure was a fortress of some kind, possibly including residences, it would be expected that the remains of shelter structures would be found. I would also anticipate that evidence of some kind of barrier such as a pole, fence of a trenching would be found on the ridge behind the ‘pyramid’s summit.  (end).

What do we have here?
It was claimed to be a 19th century glass plate photograph of a strange carving found somewhere in the vicinity of the "Gympie Pyramid".
I'll deal with this and other images in detail later please read my first paper (below) so you have an informed starting place to begin our little journey from.
I know its a bit of a long read but if you're serious about this subject your should do it.

Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Queensland Dr Prangnell demonstrates the classic head in the sand approach of Queensland's Archaeological "establishment" to the questions surrounding the origins of the Gympie Pyramid by stating in an interview with the editor of the Gympie Times 9th September 2006;.... " the University has no intention of trying to test the myth as any digging on the site (of the Gympie Pyramid) would just give credibility to something that was impossible."
The above paper was marked and lay in the files of Dr Jay Hall for about 10 years until an enquiry to him from Tristan (the Web master of,)  for any information on the Gympie Pyramid brought the paper back into the light of day.
Tristan contacted me to get permission to publish the paper on his site and as a result I made acquaintance with Tristan and a number of other Gympie locals interested in investigating the Gympie Pyramid puzzle. One of these was Brett Green who has written several books on the subject and whose work represents the largest body of work in the G.P. mystery.
As a result of these meetings I was invited to inspect the site on several occasions during which time I was able to expand on my original observations and compare notes with other investigators.
Brett Green generously allowed me to inspect his work and findings which were extensive.
Here I should comment briefly on Brett's work, which has come in for some rather venomous criticism from various  "Establishment" sources.
Brett's work is typical of the work generated around the world by enthusiastic amateur historians who have no professional or academic training but great enthusiasm for their subject. With all the best intentions these good folk run around accumulating vast amounts of information about their beloved subject and pile it all together into an interesting commentary which other enthusiastic amateurs find fascinating and informative but which does not hold up well to scrutiny by critical professionally trained academics. This in no way detracts from the value of this type of  work which has the beneficial effect of stimulating argument about a subject which might otherwise have passed unnoticed and undocumented. Gavin Menzies' work "1462 The Year China Discovered the World" is an excellent example of this type of work. It achieved world wide public readership and was an international best seller but as a historical document it was a very poor thing indeed!

To Brett's credit he has willingly accepted constructive criticism and made amendments to his website and written work as a result.
That said discussion of Brett Green's work brings me to an interesting incident which demonstrates the venomous and unscientific attitudes of members of the historical and archaeological "establishment" are prepared to embrace when it comes to the subject of the Gympie Pyramid.  These are encapsulated in an article that appeared in the Gympie Times on the 9th of September 2006 which I have quoted from at the top of this page. Apart from Dr Prangnell the Gympie Times also quoted from a Paper written by supposed highly qualified local historian Doctor E. Brown.  This paper by Dr Brown was sent to me for comment by the Editor of the Gympie Times with a promise that Dr Brown would supply her reference sources. Suffice to say the references never came and I found that Brown's paper had more holes and flaws in it than had the Titanic.

There have been a lot of very strange things turn up around Gympie and Brett Green has become a bit of a magnet for them as the local people people know of his interest in such things.
This very unusual bronze kettle was found out in mountainous bush near Gympie and brought in to Brett. Because such things are usually found by the public and are there for removed from of their archaeological context they are not of enormous historic value; yet they are still part of a broader picture of anomalies which seem to occur in significant numbers around the Gympie area. The refusal of any University to investigate these anomalies is both profoundly unscientific and a serious dereliction of duty by those who control our History.
At the present point in time there are several people who have bought into the Gympie Pyramid Argument. On one side is Michael Roser from the Gympie Times, Dr. Brown and Dr Prangnell.

On the other side is Brett Green and his associates from the  Dhamurian Society. On the distant fringes is a rowdy amateur archeologist named Rex Gilroy.
The "against" argument is represented by two papers; one by Dr Michael Morwood, which was the result of about a 20 minute walk over the site which I have described in my paper above. The other, more recent work is by Dr. Brown.  Dr Brown's work seems to be more of an attack on Brett Green and Rex Gilroy, than a serious scientific  investigation into the "pyramid" question.
About a month ago I was sent a copy of Dr Brown's paper by the Editor of the Gympie Times Michael Roser, who asked me too to comment on it. I agreed. Strangely, after he received my response, he ceased answering my emails.
Below is a copy of my last email to Mr. Roser which includes my response to Dr Brown's paper. Despite my requests Dr Brown has never  offered to explain the apparent errors in her paper or supply her sources or references. Likewise Dr Prangnell, who was sent copies of all the correspondence refused to contact me. I guess not wanting to encourage research into "something that is impossible".

HI Michael
I have been postponing doing further archival research into Dr. Brown's paper until I received the references she offered to send me. At time of writing I have not received anything from her so I conclude she is not intending to send them. With this in mind I will make a further preliminary comment on her paper using only the material I already have in my possession and look forward to her response which I hope will include her references. Once I have her reference I will attempt further archival work.

1. Cauper/ vineyards
Land and Titles office records show that Cauper never owned any of the three blocks which cut through the area on which the "pyramid" terracing exists. In fact no single person owned all these blocks until the 1930's.
If Cauper was the great horticulturist as claimed he would never have devoted the time and energy required to terrace this hillside as it has no redeeming features for growing anything. It faces south east ( a slope never used in horticulture due to poor sunlight; some terraces being in almost permanent shadow from over hanging rocks), it has terrible soil, it is rocky and steep.The Queensland Government site on wine growing states that grapes grow best on " rich, fertile soils.... rolling hills" the opposite of this site
The  best and most "worked" terracing is nearest the top of the steep slope where the soil is thinnest and will be almost permanently dry, even lantana struggles to grow there.
There is no evidence at all to indicate that Cauper ever read the Government leaflet on grape terracing and also no evidence to suggest that anyone ever made stone terraces for that purpose in the Gympie region.
Dr. Brown claims Cauper only "terraced the lower slopes of Rocky Ridge" but the highest slopes are the ones most effectively terraced.
Dr Brown makes a subtle effort to discredit the terracing by inferring that the terraces are somehow actually the result of the hoof work of "cattle, sheep and horses" but contradicts herself by saying that the hoofs dislodge the stone terracing. How a terrace can be "accentuated" by the destruction of its walls is a bit beyond me?
If the terraces were constructed for agricultural purposes then the normal practice would be to backfill the space behind the stone walls with fertile soil such is available close by from the nearby more fertile slopes. The fact is that there is no added soil and the backfill is done by scraping the very poor sandy soil and gravel of the terrace forward to level and support the stone thus leaving a section with almost no soil cover at all.

The Slaughter yards, the "Old Vineyards" and McPherson's Paddock
The slaughter yards never included the area of the "pyramid" and were on the other side of the creek (and now the rail line). This is clear on any old topographic map.
McPherson's Paddock never included the terraced area.

The Cauper land described as "The Old Vineyard" never included the terraced area and the sixty acre block taken up by Richard Edwards for pigs and poultry was not the "pyramid" block.

There are no houses built on the "pyramid" site now and there never have been, if ( as Brown states) houses have been built on the "old Vineyards and Slaughter Yards" sites then they are clearly not the same site as the "pyramid"

Having read Dr. Brown's paper a couple of times I think it is more of a work of vitriol against Rex Gilroy and Brett Green rather than a serious paper about the so-called "Gympie Pyramid". Unfortunately it appears to me that Dr. Brown has let emotions get in the way of good scholarship and her work has too many inaccuracies to be considered a definitive work on the "pyramid".
Good scholarship is ever about testing a hypothesis with evidence and then revising the hypothesis as the evidence dictates. Unfortunately in all the works; of Gilroy of Green and of Brown these writers try to make the evidence fit their theories rather than the other way round.
Whilst her work disparaging Gilroy and Green is useful and interesting it appears to me that Dr Brown missed a good chance to do an important work on the subject of the "pyramid" by being too influenced by her obvious dislike for Gilroy and Green.
I still hope she will send me her reference sources but at this point I find nothing in her work which would make me revise my opinion that the origins of the terracing known as the "Gympie Pyramid" is still unexplained.
Greg Jefferys

----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Roser
To: greg
Sent: Monday, September 25, 2006 9:26 AM
Subject: RE: Article on Gympie Pyramid

Thanks Greg.
Dr Brown has offered to send her references to you. If you don't mind, I'll ask her to do that.

From: greg []
Sent: Saturday, 23 September 2006 7:46 PM
To: Michael Roser
Subject: Re: Article on Gympie Pyramid

HI Michael
Thanks I will do a through examination of Dr Brown's paper and you may be certain if it is accurate I will acknowledge it. I personally have no time for Rex Gilroy at all and I have examined a number of photographs sent to me by Brett Green and found several which are clearly modern fakes which he claims are from the early 20th century. I have pointed them out to Brett, I don't know if he has stopped using them, he said that they were given to him in good faith and as I have no proof he is not telling the truth I assume he was honestly mistaken.

One thing I would point out from my first reading of Dr Brown's paper is this obvious flaw in her reasoning.

She claims that the terraces are the work of Cauper and that he built them around the late 1870's or early 80's  In her argument she says that in 1889 a geologist inspected the area and did not comment on the terraces, using the absence of a comment as proof that the terraces did not exist. But in another paragraph she claims that the terraces did already exist in 1889, she can't have it both ways. Either they existed in 1889 or they didn't.
Anyway that's just an internal thing.
I will check out all her claims in detail and, as I said before, if she's right I'll publish the fact that the "Gympie Pyramid" mystery is solved on the website I'm building at the moment. If I find her work to be flawed I will publish that fact.
By the way if you want to have a look at my site its

Its just a few pages and I'm just learning but I hope to make it an interesting and serious scientifically controversial site in a few months
I'll write again in about two weeks when I've done the work

----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Roser
To: greg
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 7:43 AM
Subject: RE: Article on Gympie Pyramid

Thanks Greg.
I was thinking of doing an article based on your research, but I will now wait.
In my mind, Dr Brown has put the mystery to bed.

From: greg []
Sent: Thursday, 21 September 2006 10:00 PM
To: Michael Roser
Subject: Re: Article on Gympie Pyramid

Hi Michael
Well I have to say that IS a very thorough paper and on the face of it seems to be the best bit of research I have seen on the subject to date. Of course I will have to cross check  her sources and facts but if they stand up then I will happily take my hat off to her, apologise for the mean things I said and acknowledge the "mystery" can be laid to rest. I say that assuming her facts stack up and I will check the details out and let you know. I guess that will take me a couple of weeks at least and quite a few hours staring at the micro film at the state library.
----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Roser
To: greg
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 5:18 PM
Subject: FW: Article on Gympie Pyramid


Reader Please Note: Doctor Elaine Brown has refused to allow me to publish her paper in its entire form and threatened me with breech of Copyright Laws should I do so: Below is an abridged version with my comments included in Bold Italics. It should also be noted that Brett Green tells me that what she has written about his family history is incorrect
Greg Jefferys

Sent: Thursday, 21 September 2006 5:14 PM
To: Michael Roser
Subject: Article on Gympie Pyramid


Dr Elaine Brown

This might be a concern if there really was a ‘Gympie Pyramid’. But the ‘pyramid’ is an elaborate hoax, an illusion based on nothing more than fantasy, fiction and a great deal of wishful thinking.

Gilroy’s ‘pyramidal structure’, the so-called ‘Gympie Pyramid’, is one of these stony ridges, an outcrop of ancient sandstone beside the road that leads from Gympie to Tin Can Bay. In 1868 the geologist D’Oyley Aplin described it as ‘a stratified quartz pebble drift of older date than the existing valleys … in a large pocket of the creek known as Macpherson’s Paddock’. In 1889 W.H. Rands, who methodically mapped Gympie’s geology and mines, described it as ‘a drift of large, waterworn pebbles … consisting of quartz and of hardened, jasperised sandstone’ with ‘layers of ferruginous grit and conglomerate’. Neither geologist reported any evidence of a pyramid or other unusual remains at Rocky Ridge.

The history of this area is on the public record. In the earliest days of the Gympie goldfield, John and Russell McPherson used the open forest land enclosed by the creek at the foot of Rocky Ridge as a holding paddock for horses, and the locality became known as McPherson’s Paddock.

Four Goldfields Homestead Leases at McPherson’s Paddock were taken up between 1875 and 1877 by a Swiss nurseryman, John William Cauper, who established a vineyard and supplied grafted planting material to local growers and householders. A letter Cauper wrote to the Gympie Times in 1884 about how to deal with phylloxera in grape-vines indicates that he was well-educated and skilled in horticulture.

The Gympie Pyramid Terraces are not in "McPherson's Paddock" and a search of land titles of the area shows that Cauper never owned the land on which the Terraces occur

In order to provide accessible, well-drained sites for some of his vines, Cauper terraced the lower slopes of Rocky Ridge, supporting the terraces with dry stone walls. He conducted his business on the property until at least 1890. Then, falling victim to several very wet summers, massive floods and the severe 1893 economic depression, he abandoned the land and left Gympie. He had no family in Australia, and he died at the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum in 1931, aged 96.

There is NO documentary evidence at all to prove that Cauper to suggest that Cauper ever constructed dry stone wall terracing, nor is there any existing examples of such terracing being applied to grape growing anywhere in Queensland.

Described in 1905 as ‘The Old Vineyard’, Cauper’s land was resumed and re-selected early in the twentieth century. Richard Edwards, a wood-cutter, took up sixty acres and kept pigs and poultry. His neighbour, George Preston, a Widgee Shire Councillor, established a five-acre poultry farm on the creek below Rocky Ridge. In the 1920s, ownership of these blocks passed to a succession of Gympie butchers, who used them as holding paddocks for their nearby slaughteryard. The hoofs of cattle, sheep and horses accentuated Cauper’s terraces and dislodged stones and soil, and when I first noticed Rocky Ridge in 1971, its slopes were eaten bare.

Again: Cauper's land never included the "pyramid" site.
Like wise old maps show clearly that the "Slaughter Yards" were a considerable distance from the terraced site

After the slaughteryard closed in 1973, wattles, gum trees, prickly pear and lantana began to cover the ridge, and a fringe of trees grew up along the creek. Houses have been built on the old vineyard and slaughteryard sites. The residents, whatever their opinions about the ‘Pyramid’, have all demanded that their privacy be respected and have firmly resisted the temptation to turn Rocky Ridge into a ‘Pyramid’ tourist destination.

***There are NO houses on the terraced area and only one that is in any proximity to it.

In 1980, Rex Gilroy began to follow the trail of the mythical Yowie and turned his attention to the search for a Gympie ‘Yeti’. He did not return to the subject of the ‘Pyramid’ until 1983, when his patch was suddenly invaded by a Sydney pyramid researcher, Marilyn Pye. Her startling claim that the ‘Gympie Pyramid’ was probably built by extra-terrestrials 6000 years ago shows how imagination could blow Gilroy’s ideas into even more fantastic shapes.

(It appears that Doctor Brown doesn't like Yowies either)

In the Gympie Times, Pye discounted the theory that the ‘Pyramid’ had been an ‘Aboriginal vineyard’ on the grounds that Aborigines never built in stone and grapes were not introduced until after white settlement. She then added an entirely new dimension by claiming that the dry stone wall around Gympie’s Surface Hill Uniting Church was built from stones from the ‘Pyramid’, and she compared this wall with the ruins of Machu Pichu in South America.

Not relevant to arguement

The notion that blocks from the ‘Gympie Pyramid’ had been taken away to build other structures grew from the need to explain the lack of evidence at the pyramid site and the rugged, ragged state of Rocky Ridge. But where did such blocks go? The freestone used in some old Gympie buildings is known to have come from the South Side quarries. The sandstone at Rocky Ridge is crumbly, with large and small grains, and does not make a good building material.

There are  actually massive boulders of excellent fine grained sandstone abounding on the "pyramid" site. This statement seems to show that Dr. Brown has never inspected the site.

Gilroy introduced his own version of ‘ancient Aboriginal traditions from the Gympie area’ with the tale of a group of mysterious ‘culture-heroes’, who ‘sailed into Gympie to erect the pyramidal structure (among other structures) and also to dig in the mountains (i.e. open cut mining operations) even to interbreed with the tribespeople, eventually abandoning the colony and sailing away out to sea promising to return.’ He did not state the source of this legend, and he was still basing his assertions on the mistaken belief that the ‘pyramid’ was erected near one of the backwaters of a large harbour, which then extended from Tin Can Bay to Gympie.

After this controversy, two members of the Gympie and District Historical Society, bemused by the unrealistic speculation that was being focused on a simple sandstone outcrop, put pen to paper in the Society’s Journal.

Dick Gould’s article, ‘The Gympie Pyramid – Fact or Fiction?’ described the rival theories concerning the ‘pyramid’, pointed out  the fallacy of an ancient harbour, and quoted local knowledge and written evidence that the terraces on Rocky Ridge had been prepared for grapevines. He also dealt with the ‘Gympie Ape’, which an examination by the Queensland Museum had shown was of no great age and had been carved with metal tools.

As far as I am aware there is NO written evidence to support the continued assertion that the terracing was for grapes. As for the "Gympie Ape" , I don't know anything about it but saying it was "of no great age" and made by metal tools does not tell any one anything and certainly is not a scientific statement.

Bill Mulholland, editor of the Journal, published two inquiries the Society had received, together with his reply: ‘I inspected [the pyramid] in detail before it became overgrown, and it contains certain interesting stones which could, in my opinion, be waterworn to their present condition. In one place, two large slabs of stone of almost identical appearance stand about twelve inches apart and are claimed to be an altar of some kind. On close examination, the slight bulges in one fit exactly into the indentations on the other, and they are apparently a stone split in half by the elements. There are terraces capable of being traced, and there is a tradition of grapes being grown in the vicinity.’

And there the matter rested until 1995, when the fiction phase of the Gympie Pyramid hoax began.


Enter Brett Green, a man so fascinated by the ‘Pyramid’ that between 1995 and 1999 he self-published five small books in a series entitled Tales of a Warrior, and in 2000 a sixth book, devoted entirely to The Gympie Pyramid Story.

These books were purportedly based on diaries written by Green’s direct ancestor, John Green (1819-1889), a pioneer of the Illawarra District in New South Wales, who is supposed to have ridden on horseback through south-east Queensland on various occasions between 1850 and the 1880s. The thread of mysterious ruins and legends runs through the stories.

I'm still waiting on details from Brett Green on these claims about his ancestor. Brett assures me the Dr. Green is completely wrong about this and her claims are false. He tells he that he is suing her as a result.

From the time the first book, The Legend of Gympie, was published, many readers suspected that something was wrong with Green’s claims. The content of the Green ‘diaries’ contradicted surviving records in three important areas: local history, the history of the Green family, and Aboriginal history. Nearly every page contained errors of historical fact, and the list of references at the end included many books that had nothing to do with the topics covered. The book was illustrated with unsourced photos of Aborigines from different parts of Australia, and with ‘enhanced reproductions’ (digitally altered photos) of ‘mystery stone sculptures’ of ‘Dhamuri’.

These questionable characteristics continued in the books that followed, and it became clear that, whoever wrote the Green ‘diaries’, they were not authentic and the Tales of a Warrior series was pure fiction. 

The first problem for Brett Green is that the original ‘diaries’ are not available for examination. He claims they were destroyed in a fire at his family home on Red Hill, Gympie. There was such a fire on 19 October 1984, but records show that the Fire Brigade arrived promptly and that only the lounge room was affected.

The second problem is that other members of the Green family deny that their ancestor John Green ever came to Queensland. They say that he could not have written the ‘diaries’ because he was illiterate, and he could not have jumped into a flooded creek to rescue an Aboriginal boy because he could not swim. In addition, the signature published by Brett Green as that of John Green is quite different from the signature shown on official documents, such as John Green’s will.

Green family historians Grayeme and Lynne Bone have produced a well-researched family history, The Green Book, which tells the stories of John Green, his two wives, his sixteen surviving children, and their many thousands of descendants through six or more generations.

According to the Green family, John Green was a farm labourer from Lincolnshire, England, who migrated to Sydney in 1844 with his wife Mary Vickers and eventually settled on a farm at Tongarra, near Dapto. Mary died in 1854, leaving four children, and John then married Mary Iles, who had twelve children. John Green lived at Tongarra until his death in 1889 and is buried in the cemetery of All Saints Church of England, Albion Park. The family man and Aussie battler revealed in The Green Book is a very different person from the emotional, opinionated writer of the Green ‘diaries’.

Brett Green’s third problem concerns the Aboriginal vocabularies and legends he has published. Aboriginal words with variant spellings and remarkable pronunciations have been concocted from existing, authentic vocabularies. Aboriginal legends that reveal a cosmology quite different from that of traditional stories – involving, for example, Sun Gods and Moon Goddesses – have been created. The language of the diaries is quaint in both construction and vocabulary. Why, for example, would John Green call mangroves ‘sea trees’, and talk about Aboriginal ‘sacred sites’ a century before this term became part of the Australian way of thinking?

Then there are the ‘eye-witness’ accounts of Aboriginal customs. John Green’s accounts of supposed Aboriginal sexual practices, orgies, disembowelments and massacres may titillate some readers, but others find them distasteful, even pornographic. The sensational passages in which they occur are similar to late 20th century writing and are at odds with writings from more inhibited Victorian times.

A good read to get acquainted with the practices of south east Queensland's Aboriginal population pre-European contact can be had by reading the accounts of Pamphlet and Flanigan, two shipwrecked sailors who lived amongst them in the 1820's. I guess that Dr. Brown subscribes to the "politically correct" views of Aborigines and Aboriginal now so popular amongst our Academics. It may be that Green's stories are closer to the truth than she would like.

The maps produced by the author to show Aboriginal ‘territories’ in the Gympie District are another problem. The first general surveys of the Upper Mary River and coastal country were not carried out until the mid-1860s, and detailed maps came later. How could a roving white horseman of the mid-nineteenth century define Aboriginal boundaries on uncharted land?

Aboriginal people find it difficult enough to prove their association with particular lands using authentic, surviving records and traditions. Any claims they might make could only be confused by the fictions that appear in the Tales of a Warrior series.

Like Rex Gilroy, Brett Green believes there are government and academic conspiracies afoot, preventing his ‘truths’ from becoming accepted, and people who are inclined to believe conspiracy theories are inclined to believe him.

Well then we better only believe Dr. Brown, John Howard and George Bush then.  There are no conspiracies, we didn't go to war in Iraq  for the oil and John Howard loves to support the Ozzie battler.

Gilroy and Green have followers who are interested in their theories. Some are people who will swallow anything, especially if it is said with confidence and earnestness, but there are also many who do not have the means to check out what is asserted.

What can I say to that?? I must be such a dummy!

In my work as a local and family historian, I find that most people are keen to reach the truth, and are prepared to devote themselves to genuine research – a process that finds facts, challenges fictions and debunks hoaxes.

And some people have a rigid view of the world and its history and would do anything to prevent that world view from being upset or challenged

The image to the left was supplied to me by Brett Green and it was claimed to be an old photo that shows the summit of the Gympie Pyramid site prior to a previous land owner running a bulldozer over it.
The dry wall construction shown here is  the same as the construction of the GP terraces.
The type of rock and size of boulders appears consistent with what one finds on the "G.P." site.
If the photo was taken in the southern hemisphere then the view is to the north (from shadows). Due to trees on the summit I cannot confirm the truth or otherwise of this view.
The terraces at the "G.P." summit do tend to form a "road" as is implied in this photo however the obvious question is why is the photograph cropped? Brett recently informed me that he has removed this image from his website after further research and information from various sources proved it could not be the Gympie Pyramid.
This shows how important it is  that all information be thoroughly examined and scientifically tested before any claims be made about it.

The three images above were supplied to me by Brett Green. He told me that they were given to him and that he had been told that they were taken from glass plate photographs reputed to have been taken in the 19th Century on or near the Gympie Pyramid.
To me there appear to be several problems with these statues and the images of them. Firstly I should state that, amongst other things, I have been a professional sculptor, carving stone, for over 15 years.
Firstly all three statues appear to be made of clay or some other soft moldable material. The head of (1) appears to be hollow and "glued" to a stack of three or more stone slabs around which grass has been arranged to hide the joint. Note that the grass at base has been moved to a different position for each photo. If the head had been solid stone it would have been unbalanced and toppled over long ago. The shadow in the eye socket from both angles also supports the head being hollow. Such a form could not be carved from stone. Likewise the construction of the lower jaw on both heads would have been extremely difficult and unlikely given the otherwise "primitive" nature of the "carvings". To carve the teeth and lower jaw out of stone without snapping would be difficult even with modern power tools. Only wood could be carved like this (though not hollow headed).
The  image  (2)  is clearly modern as it had been taken at very close range with a camera that was using a flash. The camera being close to ground level pointing upwards. This is all obvious because of the relationship of the grass shadows and light.

The other images (1a) and (1b) are different angles of the same object. These have also been photographed using a flash but because the camera is elevated the use of an old fashioned flash or flash powder can not be eliminated. However the fact that  both images were from the same source as (2) must cast some doubt on their integrity.

I could go on pointing out problems with these things as images or as statues but the point I want to make here is that when I pointed these things out Brett immediately acknowledged the images as fake and withdrew them.
However when I pointed out the obvious errors in Dr Brown's paper to Dr Brown her only response was to get offended and refuse to correspond with me!!!!

1. a.
The "Guard Turret"; the Real Thing
This image (photo by Mick Dale) shows the remains of a stone structure on the south west extremity of one of the terraces.
In 1989, when I first visited the site, this structure was overgrown with lantana and scrub. It is a circular dry wall construction about 160cm (5 feet) in diameter built on an earth mound with an internal depression enclosed by a stone wall. The scatter of rock (rocks 5 to 20 kilos) surrounding the remains of the wall indicate that the wall was originally about one meter high. This combined with the "dug-out" within creates a stone "fox hole" and means that a man standing inside would be surrounded by a stone wall to about shoulder high.
The structure's remains reminded me of the remains of Roman guard turrets I had seen in Israel and Scotland so I called it a "turret" though its actual function is not known. We hope to reconstruct this 'turret' in 2007!
Section of "pyramid" wall.
This section of terrace wall is part of about 60 metres of wall with the "turret" at the west end and is typical of the terraces closer to the top of the slope.  The stones seen in this image range in weight from 5 to 50 kilograms.
The wall "face" here is around 700mm in height. It is getting close to the summit but there are several more terraces above it.
You can also get an idea of the almost complete absence of soil suitable for agriculture. Mostly the soil of the terraces is "skeletal"  at best (Prof Michael Moorwood's word's).
In the foreground you can see rocks which were part of the wall that have been displaced over time. If all these rocks were replaced to their original positions and the wall reconstructed the terraces would have walls at least 30cm to 50cm above the "soil" behind the wall giving a total wall height of over one metre, a completely unheard of design for agricultural terraces but normal for defensive or decorative purposes.
In the top left corner you can just see the next, taller, terrace in shadow.
Below is a section of a paper written by Dr Elaine Brown. She claims the "pyramid" was built by a Swedish grape grower named Cauper in the 1880's. However, whilst she claims her paper is a serious historical work, she offers no bibliography, no list of sources and no references to support her claims.
AS a result of the refusal to supply referances many of the "facts" she uses to support her claims might appear to be either manipulations of the facts to support the bias of her arguments or the erroneous results of poor research.
Dr Brown has consistently refused to supply her reference sources to me so I could check her work. This leads me to the unfortunate conclusion (which I hope is incorrect) that she is deliberately trying to hide her errors.
Strange Images of Strange statues on or near the Gympie Pyramid site.

A large number of archaeological anomalies keep turning up around the Gympie area and, fortunately, many of them make their way to local historian Brett Green. I say fortunately because if they ended up at the museum or the University they would most likely be put in a box and then in a shed and never see the like of day again.
This solid bronze statue is probably of Tibetan or Burmese origin. It is a four armed female deity, possibly the goddess Tara.
It was found not too distant from the Gympie Pyramid site by a fisherman embedded in the clay bed of a creek which had recently been eroded by heavy rains.
As is obvious from the extensive corrosion of the bronze that it is very old. Because there is no archaeological or geological context we can not be certain of its exact age.
Should you ever find an unusual object and cannot leave it in situ it is important to note its exact location so that the site can be studied for important archaeological clues.
(image kindly supplied by Mick Dale)