Down under up over

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It's Australia Day today, so here's a map of the land down under, appropriately enough upside down. But the map itself is on a hillside in a land up over -- near Compton Chamberlayne in Wiltshire to be precise. It was carved from the chalk downs in 1916 or 1917 by Australian troops who were billeted nearby. A reminder of home, or a great big (60 metres across) 'we were here'? More the latter, I'd say, since it's not the only chalk figure carved in the area during the war, and the other ones (at nearby Fovant) are all regimental or other military badges. One of them is the Australian Army Badge, the 'Rising Sun' (zoom out to see the rest):

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The badges are maintained by the Fovant Badges Society but unfortunately it's not cheap and in 2001 the decision was made to allow the map of Australia, among others, to grass over. Despite that, it's still perfectly visible from the air, so I don't know whether the situation has changed or if it's just the advantage of an aerial perspective. Perhaps one day I'll pop over and have a look myself.

An article in British Archaeology provides some of the archaeological and heritage context for the Fovant badges. See also The Little Professor for more links on hill figures.

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