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The small town of Richmond holds plenty of BIG surprises!
26th March 2020
Smack bang in the middle of the Overlanders Way big-sky country, lies the unexpected wonder that is Richmond. Located 498 km west of Townsville and 406 km east of Mount Isa, Richmond’s small size belies the extraordinarily big surprises awaiting you; particularly if you are one to be gripped by the wonder of prehistoric creatures and fossilised mysteries!
Formed under the Eromanga sea
The paleontology finds around the shire of Richmond, all 1,150 in fact, are nothing short of astounding. How did this come to be? Think for a moment if you will, that some 115 million years ago this wide brown land lay under 40 metres of waters, forming part of a vast and formidable inland sea that was literally teeming with large, hungry, reptiles. We’re talking ‘beasties’ of the late Jurassic and Cretaceous kind!
One pretty penny found in an old paddock!
A chance discovery of fossiled vertebrae in the area first occurred in the early 1930s, with more findings over the decades ultimately culminating in the heady unearthing of the extraordinary Penny the Pleisoaur by Mr Ian Ievers on nearby Marathon Station. Penny is a rock star in the world of palaeontologists, representing one of the best preserved Cretaceous marine reptile fossils in the world!
Discovery of old bones springs new life…
Soon after, Mr Ievers went on to discover the extraordinary Kunbarrasaurus ieversi, considered the best-preserved ankylosaur skeleton in the southern hemisphere! The unearthing of these two spectacular specimens triggered the construction of the state of the art facility now located in the heart of Richmond, the Kronosaurus Korner,
Monument to ancient wonders
The centre’s hero of course, is the museum’s namesake, the Kronosaurus queenslandicus. A full-size replica greets you at the entrance to the museum providing a humbling show of size and intimidating row of teeth! Far from taking up a mere ‘corner’ however, this world premier attraction grips you from the start with life-size replicas of ancient marine reptiles, myriad displays of fossilised ammonites, squids and fishes, along with offering a compelling theatre experience illustrating what life was like under the sea some 115 million years ago!
Come back for more!
Ongoing fossil finds even to this day cements Richmond as one of Australia’s most prolific fossil localities, spurring an unprecedented amount of fossicking in the region. Only some 20% of the entire fossil collections are on display at any one time, due to the ongoing nature of scientific inquiry and research being conducted behind the scenes. A return visit is sure to reveal a fossil you haven’t encountered before.
Strange ‘itch’ afflictions are common…
We should warn you that if, while wandering around Kronosaurus Korner, you begin to feel plagued by a strange itch, don’t be alarmed; you’ve caught the Fossicking Itch, and you’re not the first to be afflicted! The only remedy, we’re afraid, is to get your hands dirty. So don’t hold back; enquire about the many Fossil Hunting site packages available and get out there to satisfy your newly invigorated paleontology spirit! You never know, you may yet make the honourary roll for discovering the next world famous marine fossil!
Modern lakes replace ancient seas
Despite the entire landscape once being concealed under an ancient sea, in modern western Queensland, lakes and bodies of water are an unusual sight. Yet even on this front, Richmond surprises again. Thanks to the vision of forward-thinking Mayor John Wharton and his formidable team, beautiful Lake Fred Tritton was developed, appearing as a gleaming drawcard of cooling waters on a hot summer’s day. Here, you are welcome to safely fish, ski, swim or paddleboard (with not a plesiosaur in sight!). Or get your daily walk in around the edges of the lake or wandering through the Bush Tucker Garden. On the eastern fringe, you’ll even find a fantastic water park for the kid’s to enjoy, while you fire up one of the free barbeques to prepare a lake-side picnic.