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In The Footsteps Of Giants: Dinosaurs in Qld

Journey to Queensland’s lost world of dinosaurs

In Part Two of our series on dinosaurs, Peter Woodland takes you through Charleville and Barcaldine before heading deeper into Queensland where you can find more prehistoric reptile fossils near Winton. Keep reading!

Where to from Lightning Ridge? North! We’re heading to Winton, but there are a few interesting stops on the way.

I’d head north from Lightning Ridge through Hebel, Dirranbandi and Ballon on the A2 highway.

The most direct and shortest route to Longreach and Winton is the A2 and it will take you through historic Barcaldine, home of the 1893 Shearers Strike and the birth of the Australian Labor Party.

However, let’s not rush. Just north of Boatman, I’d take a left turn to Charleville.

 

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Get up close and personal with the cosmos and bilbies

Trail of dinosaurs - the Bilby experience

Bilby. Photo: Creative Commons

I’d do that because there are a couple of attractions in Charleville that I think are worth a look and we’re not in a hurry, are we?

Charlieville boasts the Cosmos Centre. It is an open-air astronomical observatory that is a treat for young and old.

We nomads know the night sky is an unfathomable wonder, way out there, but the Cosmos Centre will take you even closer.

There are other observatories around Australia, but I don’t know of one with as consistently clear skies as Charleville.

The next morning, you can visit the Charleville Bilby Experience at the local railway station.

These little critters are adorable and surprisingly little known.

If, however, Australia is serious about guarding and preserving this wide brown land we are fortunate to be custodians of, we could start with the bilby.

Clear your mind of the Easter Bunny; take the legend of the Easter Bilby home to your families and grandchildren.

Destined for dinosaurs

Dinosaurs - australovenitor

Australovenitor at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs. Photo: Creative Commons

Heading north again, we return to the A2 and will eventually arrive in Barcaldine.

It’s only a short trip to Longreach and, then, Winton.

There are attractions in both of these centres worth dallying for, but we’re interested in dinosaurs and they are tantalisingly close.


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Stay at the home of Waltzing Matilda

In Winton, apart from the tourist parks, there are several hotels and motels from which to choose. Of note is the historic North Gregory Hotel.

Banjo Patterson wrote Waltzing Matilda while staying nearby at Dagworth Station and it is reliably reported that it was first recited at the North Gregory on April 6, 1895.

On the subject, the Waltzing Matilda Centre, in Winton’s main street, is a trove of detail about the era and the human faces behind this quintessential Australian piece.

Trail of dinosaurs - hotel in Winton

North Gregory Hotel. Photo: Creative Commons

 

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See world-class dinosaur attractions

Now as to the Dinosaurs, I hear you ask.

The area around Winton was, again, on the edge of that erstwhile sea, mentioned previously, during the early to mid-Cretaceous, 145mya to 110mya.

It abounds in dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptile fossils.

The district boasts the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History and Lark Quarry.

These attractions are spectacular, world-class facilities and both are an easy drive from the centre of Winton.

Dinosaurs - two models

Dinosaurs at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History near Winton. Photo: Jocelyn Watts

Dinosaurs - Lark Quarry

Lark Quarry, Winton. Photo: Jocelyn Watts

WINTON PHOTO GALLERY

 

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Explore further afield

If you wish to venture further afield while based in Winton, new discoveries and a comprehensive display of some of the denizens of the Eromanga Sea can be found in Boulia.

Alternatively, head to Eromanga and the Eromanga Natural History Museum to meet Cooper, the largest dinosaur found in Australia to date.

 

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