Charles Knife Gorge: Cape Range N.P. (Exmouth)

Gorge. Not Canyon. (see my comment below)
Land slips — each gash perhaps 4m – 6 m high
More land slips… the blue in the distance is the sea
Couldn’t find out the origin of the name… who was Charles Knife?
Sea and sky … that’s not a road, but a river bed
Note our car, top right
My sister sketched; I wrote
Yep, that’s the sea in the distance
Looking towards Learmouth
Near here 1st significant oil flow found in Australia: Rough Range

 One irritating thing I have begun to notice about terminology — Australian tourist brochures calling gorges “canyons”.  Canyon has its origins in American Spanish. It is an American term for American landforms. 

I would not apply the word arroyo to an Australian gorge; why use the word “canyon”? (I don’t call the boot of my car the trunk, either.) Gorge has European ancestry, and as such it has always been the choice of the first non-indigenous Australians. If we want to change it, then the logical thing would be to find out if there is an appropriate indigenous term, not decide to use an American one.


Charles Knife Gorge: Cape Range N.P. (Exmouth) — 5 Comments

  1. It's dry, yes. The slips ironically would have been precipitated by torrential rain. This is the land of ferocious cyclones and floods…

  2. I found my way here from Karen Miller's blog and have spent entirely too much time today reading back through your posts.

    Beyond being an out-of-place American term, this doesn't even look like a canyon to me. It seems to me that canyons are gorges but most gorges aren't canyons.

  3. I think I know what you mean — canyons are more clean cut, aren't they? That's because they haven't been around as long…

    This land is ancient compared to most other parts of the world, in the sense that it has not been uplifted or dotted with volcanoes "recently". So our gorges are more eaten away and worn down.

  4. Charles Knife was a US oil explorer in the post war years. Americans stationed at the base believed that the local terrain was likely to yield oil deposits. Not much was discovered on land, though of course a lot of oil and gas was later discovered offshore. (Info from John Lewis).

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