The Age of Fishes Museum
Welcome to the Age of Fishes Museum
Imagine a world ruled by fish! Long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth, the mighty rivers of the Central West teemed with bizarre ancient fishes - armoured fishes, fishes with lungs, and some huge predators with jaws like crocodiles. Thousands of their fossils were found at Canowindra and give us a unique glimpse into life during the Devonian Period - the 'Age of Fishes'.
A chance discovery in 1955 revealed an extensive fossil bed dating from the Devonian Period. This 360-370 million year old fossil deposit contains the remains of thousands of freshwater fish. Many were new to science. The best of the fossils so far recovered are now on public display at Canowindra, at the Age of Fishes Museum.
The Age of Fishes Museum aims to stimulate and develop a students interest in fossils and broaden their understanding of how fossils tell us about the different kinds of organisms that lived on the earth and how they have replaced one another over geological time.
The Friends of Fossils program was established in 1995 to encourage people with an interest in the development of the Museum and the Canowindra fossils to support this world famous project.
360 MILLION YEARS AGO
The Devonian Inland rivers and lakes teemed with fish. The invasion of dry land had begun but the majority of life was still under water. Life looked very different and this is the time when our fossils were alive.
A BIT LESS THAN 360 MILLION YEARS AGO
A pond on the super-continent of Gondwana finally dries up and thousands of fish die in a single place only to be covered with silt and buried for millions of years.
150 MILLION YEARS AGO
Dinosaurs roam the earth and our treasures remain buried deep within the ground they walk upon already 200 million years old and waiting.
200,000 YEARS AGO
The first modern Homo sapiens walk the earth in the Paleolithic Era.
65,000 - 40,000 YEARS AGO
Indigenous Australians first walk this land.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 1955
On a country road a bulldozer operator turns over a rock that has been buried for 360 million years. Shortly after Bill Simpson, a Local Canowindra resident recognizes its significance and informs the Australian Museum.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 1956
The first slab now known as the 1956 Slab is moved to the Australian Museum where it remains under glass for many years.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 1973
The Canowindra Grossi is described and reconstructed by Dr Keith Thompson of Yale University.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 1993
Dr Alex Ritchie and the Canowindra residents organise a rediscovery of the site and excavate a further 4,000 fish specimens across eight fish species.
A truly world class find.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 1999
Building of the current Age of Fishes Museum commenced.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2006
The famous 1956 slab returns to its home to be permanently displayed at the Age of Fishes Museum in Canowindra.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2009
The addition of the timeline to the Museum experience is completed.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2014
David Attenborough visited the Museum and described the Fossils as "World Class".
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2019
All the slabs previously stored under the grandstand at the Canowindra Showgrounds were transported to our newly constructed Storage Facility next to the Museum.
Canowindra continues to showcase this unique Devonian fossil collection one of only two Devonian fish fossil Museums in the World. Come and discover what lies beneath your backyard.
Open 7 days
10am - 4pm
Closed Christmas Day and Anzac Morning
No booking required.