Places of Interest



Here are a few fossil-related destinations around Australia that might be worth a visit. If you know of any more, please email me with the details and I'll include them here. Below is a map showing roughly where each locality is. You can click on the map to bring up the information on each place, or simply scroll down the page.

Click for Australian Mesozoic Sediments
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Image map



Richmond Marine Fossil Museum
"Kronosaurus Korner"

Where: 91 Goldring Street,
Richmond, Queensland, 4822
(500 kilometres west of Townsville and 400km east of Mt Isa)
Website: www.kronosauruskorner.com.au
Opened in 1995, and extended in 1998, this excellent fossil display centre is operated by (amongst other volunteers) Robert Ievers. He and his brothers are responsible for finding the Richmond pliosaur and the second specimen of Minmi paravertebra, both of them on Marathon Station. Minmi was found just 300m from their house!

On display are the Richmond pliosaur, Minmi, Woolungosaurus, large ammonites and other invertebrates, to name just a few. There are around 200 separate exhibits in all.

On obtaining permission at "Kronosaurus Korner", it is possible to fossic for fossils in certain places about the shire.

Minmi display
The Minmi display

Map


Hughenden Visitor Information Centre & Dinosaur Display

Where: Gray Street,
(PO Box 274)
Hughenden, Queensland 4821
(386 kms south west of Townsville)
Website: www.sunzine.net/outback/hughenden/dinosaur-centre.html
On display is a mounted skeleton of Muttaburrasaurus, and various marine fossils. You will be greeted by "Hughie", a seven metre long life reconstruction of Muttaburrasaurus that stands outside the centre. A selection of fossils and historic artifacts is also displayed at "Hughie's Den".
Hughie
The skeletal mount of Muttaburrasaurus

Map


Queensland Museum

Where: Grey & Melbourne Streets, South Bank
(Box 3300)
South Brisbane, Queensland 4101
Website: www.qm.qld.gov.au
See the website for details

Map


Museum of Tropical Queensland

Where: 70-84 Flinders Street
Townsville, Queensland 4810
Website: www.mtq.qm.qld.gov.au
The Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville is a branch of the Queensland Museum. The displays include:

Fossils of an ichthyosaur, a plesiosaur, Kronosaurus, Minmi, the sauropods Austrosaurus and Rhoetosaurus, and the labyrinthodon Siderops.

Life-sized reconstructions of Muttaburrasaurus, a plesiosaur, an ichthyosaur and a pterosaur.

Dinosaur footprints, a fossilised tree trunk, fossil plants, and marine invertebrates.

As well as other non-fossil related exhibits.

Eric
An "I saw Eric" fridge magnet

Map


Lark Quarry

Where:Lark Quarry Environmental Park,
Winton, Queensland, 4735
One to two hours drive south of Winton
Contact: Waltzing Matilda Centre
Elderslie Street
Winton, Queensland 4735
Website: www.dinosaurtrackways.com.au
Lark Quarry is one of Australia's best known dinosaur footprint sites, with the centre built right over the actual footprints. It may well be the only evidence for a dinosaur stampede anywhere in the world, where it seems a large meat-eating dinosaur caused a panic amongst herds of smaller dinosaurs. The entire site has been enclosed with an elevated walkway. A short path from the centre leads to a lookout from where you can view the Lark Quarry Environmental Park. If you ever wanted to know what Mars looks like, this is the place to go!

The road is impassable and dangerous in wet weather, so it is advised to check road conditions at the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton before heading out. By purchasing a "Gold Shin Plaster" (attractions pass) you have access to Lark Quarry, The Waltzing Matilda Centre (in Winton), the Corfield and Fitzmaurice Building (fossil displays, including Elliot) and the Opal Walk and Open-air theatre museum.

Lark Quarry
The structure built over the trackways

Map


Mount Morgan Mine Tour

Where: TMC Tours
45 East Street Extd
Mount Morgan 4714
Central Queensland
Website: www.tmctours.com.au
At Mount Morgan, near Rockhampton, you can tour the largest man-made caves in Australia, where you'll see a large colony of bent-wing bats, and dinosaur tracks on the ceiling of the caves. Included is a tour of the local mines, as well as various historic features around the township. These include the richest single mountain of gold on earth, a heritage listed suspension bridge across the Dee River built in the 1890s, a 1km wide open cut mine that has since been filled with water, and the world famous "loo with a view".

In 1952, dinosaur footprints from the Middle Jurassic (about 170 million years ago) were found on the ceiling of the large man-made caverns which transverse a prominent hill, 800 metres north of the Mount Morgan mine. Tours depart daily.

MtMorgan Caves Dino Tracks
MtMorgan Caves, Dinosaur tracks on ceiling

Map


Riversleigh Fossil Centre

Where: 19 Marian Street
Mount Isa, QLD, Australia, 4825
Website: www.outbackatisa.com.au/Attractions/Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre.aspx
The Riversleigh Fossil Centre at Mount Isa documents the Miocene and Pliocene Australian animals found from Riversleigh, dating from 25-30 million years ago. These animals include giant flightless birds, carnivorous kangaroos and marsupial lions (just to name just a few).

The Centre features reconstructed dioramas with life-like models of the animals, a video documentary in a themed theatrette, and displays of actual fossil material (including the Fossil Treatment Lab). The foyer has an 11 metre (36 foot) copper mural depicting the animals and environment of Riversleigh.

Diprotodon display
The Diprotodon diorama display

Map


Stonehouse Museum

Where: Pituri Street, Boulia, Queensland 4829
Website: www.boulia.qld.gov.au/tourism/StonehouseMuseum.shtml
The Stone House itself was built in 1888, and is now a museum catering for local history. As well as historical and archaeological displays, the museum has an extensive collection of fossils from the surrounding area, including marine reptiles, sharks, fish, and invertebrates.
Stonehouse

Map


Australian Museum

Where:6 College St,
Sydney, New South Wales 2010
(opposite Hyde Park)
Website: australianmuseum.net.au
The fossil collections consist of over 90,000 specimens of fossil invertebrates, vertebrates and plants, mainly Australian but with a wide selection of overseas material.

See website for details.

Map


National Opal Collection

Where:176 Pitt Street Mall,
Sydney, New South Wales
Website: www.nationalopal.com
See actual fossils of Eric the pliosaur, the dinosaurs Fulgurotherium and Muttaburrasaurus, and various marine invertebrates. The displays are accompanied by life-like diarama models of the animals.
Opalised dino bone
A brilliantly opalised dinosaur bone

Map


National Dinosaur Museum

Where:Barton Highway,
Gold Creek Village
(10 km from the city of Canberra)
Gungahlin, Australian Capital Territory 2912
Website: www.nationaldinosaurmuseum.com.au

The National Dinosaur Museum is Australia's largest permanent dinosaur display. The Museum has more than 395 exhibits featuring 10 full-sized replica dinosaur skeletons, bones, skulls, rare and unusual fossils and life-sized reconstructions of Australian dinosaurs including Muttaburrasaurus, Minmi and Leaellynasaura.

Fourteen full-sized cast skeletons contribute to the unique exhibits at the Museum as most are not displayed anywhere else in Australia. A large number of original fossils such as a saber-tooth cat skeleton, dinosaur eggs, and hands-on exhibits including a 150 million-year-old "Touch Bone" are also on display.

The website includes various features, such as games and downloadable PDF files full of dinosaur information.

Chasmosaurus Tyrannosaurus skull

Map


Museum of Victoria, Melbourne

Where: Carlton Gardens
Rathdowne Street
Carlton, Victoria, 3053
Website: museumvictoria.com.au
This new museum, built right next to the Royal Exhibition Buildings (where the ceremony to declare Australia's federation took place in 1901) and an Imax cinema (with the largest movie screen in the southern hemisphere), has a lot more than just fossils. There are even living displays that feature live animals and plants.

That said, the fossil collection is the largest of the museum's natural science collections, with an estimated four million specimens spanning 600 million years of prehistory. Most of the collection is of Victorian material, but there are also fossils from elsewhere in Australia and around the world.

The InfoZone is located on the Lower Ground Floor, and allows free access for the public to thousands of on-site specimens, as well as a print and multimedia reference library. If you've found or seen something that you want to identify, this is the place to go.

The Museum of Victoria has the largest and scientifically most important collection of fossil graptolites in Australia. There are over 1000 specimens of Victoria's Cretaceous dinosaur fossils, 12,000 types of invertebrates, 50,000 fossil plant specimens, as well as Pleistocene mammals and birds.

Map


Monash Science Centre

Where: Monash University,
Clayton, Victoria
(just off Normanby Road)
Website: sciencecentre.monash.edu
Opened to the public in July 2002, the new $4.3 million Monash Science Centre offers people the chance to interact with scientists and science students to gain hands-on experience with all things scientific. Students can visit the new facility with their families or schools and carry out their own experiments in chemistry, weather observation or study the physics of movement. There are also mounted skeletons of some of Australia's fossil animals, such as the giant monitor lizard Megalania and the giant flightless bird Genyornis.

The opening exhibt was "Highlights From Wildlife of Gondwana: The History of Life in Australia - The Last 3.8 Billion Years". It included fossils and mounted skeletons of dinosaurs and ancient sea reptiles from Australia and around the world, including original dinosaur and ancient mammal fossils found in Victoria. There are also mounted skeletons from the "Great Russian Dinosaurs" travelling exhibit on show.

The Science Centre is the only place in Melbourne where you can watch fossils being prepared out of the rock, courtesy of a 1.2 tonne slab donated by the Carnegie Museum.

Map


Naracoorte Caves National Park

Where:Naracoorte, South Australia
Website: www.naracoortecaves.sa.gov.au
The Naracoorte Caves National Park includes tours of five of the twenty six caves in the park, and the Wonambi Fossil Centre. The Victoria Fossil Cave contains six known fossil deposits, which are discussed in detail during a one hour tour.

The Wonambi Fossil Centre features life-sized animated models of the extinct megafauna known from the cave deposits. These include the giant 3-4 metre goanna lizard Megalania, the Thylacine or "Tasmanian Tiger", the two-tonne Diprotodon, Thylacaleo or the "marsupial lion", and the giant snake Wonambi, amongst many others.

Victoria Cave
The Victoria Fossil Cave

Map


South Australian Museum

Where: North Terrace
Adelaide, South Australia 5000
Website: www.samuseum.sa.gov.au
It is said that the S.A. Museum has the highest visitation of any of the cultural institutions in the City of Adelaide. Either it is a great museum, or a boring city (I'm guessing 60:40).

The museum has over 38,000 registered fossil specimens, specialising in Ediacaran (Precambrian) fauna; South Australian Cambrian fauna-trilobites, archaeocyaths; Triassic plants; Early Cretaceous molluscs; Tertiary invertebrates; Tertiary and Pleistocene vertebrates.

One of the main attractions is the "Origin Energy" fossil gallery, which includes a collection of opalised fossils. You can even watch an opalised plesiosaur skeleton being prepared. The Addyman plesiosaur (named after its discoverers) is over 4 metres (15 feet) long, and is estimated to be 70 - 80% complete. Other opalised fossils include the skull of a baby ichthyosaur and the partial skeleton of a baby plesiosaur.

Plesiosaur bones
Opalised plesiosaur bones

Map


Western Australian Museum

Where:Francis Street,
Perth, Western Australia 6000
Contact:Phone: (08) 9427 2700, Fax: (08) 8 9427 2882
Website: www.museum.wa.gov.au
Includes natural science, history, anthropology, library, photography, publications, bookshop and cafe.

See website for details.




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