Donald Trump and Mount Rushmore: Rock in Australia’s Kimberley resembles Trump’s head
Donald Trump may or may not have been joking when he reportedly said it was a good idea to add his visage to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
But the 18-metre likenesses of presidential greats George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln jutting out of the mountainside as a depiction of ‘the American character’, have been doing fine without him. Since its 1941 completion, the memorial in the Black Hills region of South Dakota has been regarded as one of the modern wonders of the world.
And anyway, there’s no need to go to all the trouble, expense and controversy of fashioning adjacent granite into the current POTUS’s profile.
Mount Trumpmore already exists – in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, where, it has to be said, the rock is a far more appropriate shade for his distinctive complexion.
I spotted him in 2019, while onboard the luxury small ship Le Laperouse during an Abercrombie & Kent cruise of the Kimberley coast.
His likeness hangs over Talbot Bay, the home of Horizontal Falls, which fittingly, Sir David Attenborough declared to be another of the great wonders of the world.
The POTUS can thank my lifelong tendency towards “pareidolia” – the human tendency to see faces in inanimate objects such as tree trunks, clouds and rocks – for the discovery of this naturally occurring monument (just look at the photo. Once seen, it can’t be unseen, am I right?)
Follow the #iseefaces hashtag (and its ilk) on Instagram, and you’ll see the incidences of pareidolia are usually the perception of an anonymous approximation of facial features – your basic two eyes, a nose and a mouth comprised of windows, a door and stoop, or perhaps an electric plug’s protrusions and inversions, or the nobbles and creases in a tree.
Only on rare occasions is it Jesus on a piece of toast, The Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich, Ringo Starr on a lotus leaf or Elvis on a potato chip (all real, documented cases) – or in this case, Trump in a cliff face, which is why I was thrilled to join the exclusive club of celebrity pareidolia spotting.
With three million people visiting Mount Rushmore a year, and the entire 423,517-square-kilometre Kimberley region averaging about 400,000 a year, will my discovery create a tourist boom for Australia’s great, sparsely-populated northern frontier?
Unlikely, given most tourism there is domestic and in these strange new times, it will be a while before any critical mass of Trump supporters will be able to leave the US for any international destination, let alone a fairly hard-to-reach outback wilderness decidedly lacking in modern conveniences.
But if you haven’t been to the Kimberley, may I suggest you go? Not for Mount Trumpmore, but for the entirety of its magnificent, tectonic-contorted sandstone bluffs that create electrifying vistas and unique formations around every bend and which harbour ancient Indigenous sacred sites and rock art.
And in Talbot Bay, don’t bother looking for Trump (I couldn’t pinpoint exactly where he was anyway, unless the metadata on my camera can help). Just head straight to the Attenborough-acclaimed wonder of Horizontal Falls, where the tidal flow through two narrow gorges of the McLarty Range can see a jaw-dropping 10-metre difference in sea level on either side of each gorge.
Now, that’s a wonder to behold.
Julietta Jameson travelled as a guest of Abercrombie & Kent.
Abercrombie & Kent has a Kimberley Cruise: Australia’s Last Frontier sailing scheduled for winter 2021. See abercrombiekent.com.au
See also: Australia’s weirdest natural wonder, according to Attenborough
See also: The 10 best ways to see the Kimberley