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New beginnings at the Canowindra fish fossil dig site


An update from David McGrath. David and his wife Aleysha are the new owners of the property adjacent to the original Canowindra fossil dig site.


Like most of Australia, we are frustrated by the Covid lockdown. We have not been active on the farm, but there is a silver lining to the cloud as time has provided its own opportunity to develop ideas for the fossil site.


We anticipate building a shed to display fossils and rocks of interest to local students and more qualified geologists, and we can couple this with ecological ideas for the area. We have had discussions with Mid Lachlan Landcare about the local ecology. We need to preserve white box woodland for the unique plant and animal life. Since taking possession of the farm, we have been impressed by the birdlife, with the wonderful babblers and sightings of superb parrot.


The hovering raptors are a delight to see from the house and several species have been identified. We are yet to identify the night life, hopeful of bat and further bird species. There are at least four species of marsupials. Hares and foxes come with European colonisation. We have our share of introduced weeds, but overall, a healthy ecosystem.


We were delighted to have Patrick Smith, a Geologist from the Australian Museum, survey the farm and create a stratigraphy map of the rocks. All good news. The rock is mostly sedimentary shale, sandstone and quartzite from the Devonian Period. Much of it is shallow marine strata, suitable for fine preservation of marine coastal life. Patrick identified fossil fish fragments 1.7 kms from the original fossil locality. We are hopeful of many more important finds over time. Maybe more early trees and the rare first amphibians. Access should be relatively easy, given the dip and strike of the rocks. Some carefully constructed cuts across the strike, might reveal the extent of fossil bearing horizons.


"Aleysha and I remain enthusiastic to develop the palaeontology project with continuing local involvement and partnership with the Age of Fishes Museum, Australian Museum, Flinders University and NSW Geological Survey".