The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum

July 20, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Posted in Australia, heritage, History, Nature, Pre-history, The Red Centre | 14 Comments
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Today, we went to the Australian Age of Dinosaur Museum, part of the Dinosaur Trail. Many people do not realise that quite a number of dinosaur fossils have been found in several parts of Australia, with the major area being the plains of Central and Western Queensland. The museum is built on a mesa, about 15 km out of Winton. The driving force behind the establishment of the museum was David Elliott, a local pastoralist who became interested in and started collecting dinosaur fossils. He became the go-to man for any other local who discovered fossils on their property. This link will take you to a site with lots of information on the museum and its beginnings.

 

Banjo the dinosaur re-sized

‘Banjo’ the dinosaur, Australovenator wintonensis at the entry to the museum

 

The whole museum is great. Our $50 each gave entry us to three different experiences. The first was Preparation labs, where fossils are stored, and where volunteers help to release the fragile fossils from their matrix. Anyone can take a 10-day training course at the museum for a fee, and then join the volunteer team. There is a reproduction of the front leg of one of the dinosaurs they’ve found, a sauropod they call Matilda – a huge plant-eater, the largest dinosaur found in Australia. It stands next to the doorway and stands almost 3 metres high!

 

Matilda for size re-sized

‘Matilda’, next to a woman reporter for size

 

 

Dirk & fossil store re-sized

Hubby in the Prep area next to part of the racks of fossils that are waiting to be set free

 

Conservators re-sized

Some of the volunteer conservators working on fossils

 

The next experience was part video & part talk about three of the dinosaurs, and we were able to see the actual fossils that are displayed in a room at the main centre. I can’t show the actual fossils, as the room was quite dark & we couldn’t use flashes on our camera. One of them was ‘Alex’ Diamantinasaurus matildae, a large sauropod somewhat smaller than ‘Matilda’. They have quite a few marine fossils there too, but they came from places farther north where the marine layer is now eroded enough to find them.

The third experience was an electric trolley ride out to the Gorge Outpost, a couple of km from the main centre.

 

Shuttle trolley re-sized

The shuttle trolley we went on

 

There is a walkway next to the gorge with plaques with info on various dinosaurs, and a reproduction of a bog with dinosaur bones on the surface.

 

Billabong fossilsre-sized

Reproduction of a dried swamp with dinosaur bones

 

There were many opportunities to photograph the differences between the “Jump-up”, or mesa, on which the centre was built, and the surrounding flat plains which extend for many kilometres in every direction.

 

The plains re-sized

Looking across to the plains from the mesa

 

Gorge re-sized

Part of the gorge with ghost gums

 

There were also bronze pterosaurs sitting on a rock by their ‘nest’, and the various dinosaurs involved in the stampede that we saw the footprints of yesterday at Lark Quarry. It was all really well done. We were impressed.

 

Dinosaur chasing2 re-sized

The small therapods and ornithopodsdinosaurs flee from the carnivorous Australovenator wintonensis

Dinosaurs being chased re-sized

The gorge itself, whilst small, is beautiful. It clearly shows how the erosion of softer sandstone below gradually undermines the extremely hard ironstone cap on the surface of the mesa. The top eventually cracks and falls away, leaving boulders on the slopes.

 

Undercut re-sized

The hard cap of the mesa being gradually undermined by erosion of the softer stone beneath it

 

Rocks & plains re-sized

Ironstone boulders scattered on the slopes

 

If you love dinosaurs, the dinosaur museum is a great introduction to our Australian natives. In Winton, the Dinosaur Capital of Australia, you will find other sources of information. An especially evocative sight is at the Lark Quarry Dinosaur Stampede, which I will blog about when I get the chance.

 

(c) Linda Visman

Photos by Linda Visman

 

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14 Comments »

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  1. Thank you for taking me on an interesting excursion, one I’d never experience otherwise, Linda!

  2. Thanks for the tour.

  3. That looks like a fun day, Linda. I never thought about dinosaurs in Australia, but of course, it makes sense. 🙂

    • We are only just beginning to understand the number and range of dinosaurs that lived here – when we were part of Gondwanaland! 🙂

  4. We didn’t get there on our last visit to Winton although we did go to Lark Quarry which we loved. Looks like another trip to Winton is required. You have made it sound so interesting.

  5. Well worth a visit, Linda. We went to Lark Quarry the day before. Loved seeing the tracks of the dinosaurs! 🙂

  6. Hi Linda, What you have described is not the museum we saw in 1999. That one was right in the centre of Winton. It seems to me that we have a destination to visit in the next year or so. Another trip for Zack! Cheers, Jan.

    On Sat, 20 Jul 2019 at 17:17, Wangiwriter’s Blog wrote:

    > Linda Visman – wangiwriter posted: ” Today, we went to the Australian Age > of Dinosaur Museum, part of the Dinosaur Trail. Many people do not realise > that quite a number of dinosaur fossils have been found in several parts of > Australia, with the major area being the plains of Central ” >

    • I haven’t yet written about the Lark Quarry dinosaur tracks, Jan.That is also well worth visiting – doing a day tour of the stations, mesa, lookout points & the Quarry, with Red Dirt Tours. The driver-guide, Vicki, is brilliant & very knowledgeable about a great variety of relevant topics.

  7. The fashionable wisdom these days seems to be that they were feathered like birds, and of course the ties are there, but I could never hack that somehow – interesting place! Maybe one day…

  8. SO COOL! No, I didn’t know there were so many dinosaurs in Australia, and that you all have such a fabulous museum. GREAT photos, by the way. All another reason I’d love to visit your country.

    • Come any time! 🙂 You will be welcome.

      • On my wish list. I figure, if I put it ‘out there,’ perhaps it will happen. xo


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