Saturday, September 28, 2013

The long way home

Once we'd finished drilling, I had to drive the core samples back to Brisbane. Oh, and did I mention that I'd bought a 1927 Dodge vintage car up there? I had to get that home somehow, too! Of course, I didn't come home via the most direct route.

South of our field area was the town of Winton. For a geologist, Winton's famous for two things, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs centre (, and Lark Quarry ( At the Age of Dinosaurs Centre, palaeontologists patiently extract dinosaurs from locally sourced boulders. I'd found some marine reptile fossils while drilling, so showed them to the resident palaeontologist for identification (probably a plesiosaur). Visitors can take a course on fossil recognition and extraction, and are then able to work in the extraction room for a few days.

Lark Quarry, about 70km south of Winton, has probably the world's best collection of dinosaur footprints. In one beautifully-preserved slab, you can see how chicken-sized dinosaurs were chased across mud flats by a much larger dinosaur. Having been so recently stalked by a cassowary, I think I know how they felt!

The countryside surrounding Lark Quarry is colourful but very, very remote. Old time opal miners discovered the footprints, and originally though they had been made by birds.

Little feet..

Followed by BIG feet...

The preserved quarry is now kept dry and cool inside a large shed. The visitor's centre is fantastic, and with coffee would be perfect! 

From Lark Quarry, I kept driving south, stopping for the night to camp on the bank of the Barcoo River. The road was entirely dirt, linking farms on the edge of the Tanami Desert. At one point I stopped to climb this ridge and look back. Just as well that I did, as I found that one of the Hilux's rear tyres was half flat (the bottom half). With 13 boxes of core, half a vintage car and 400-odd km of dirt roads, that was hardly surprising.

Unnamed ridge, somewhere between Winton and Quilpie, and the highest spot for ages!

Did I mention that I bought a vintage car while we were drilling? This should keep me busy for a while...

 1927 Dodge-osaurus

When I stopped in Quilpie, I was approached by a guy wondering what sort of car I had strapped to the back of my Hilux, as he collects Model T Fords. Lots of them... Iron really doesn't rust out west, it just turns brown!


Blogger rustbuckit said...

Jeeze! Yep, that should keep ya busy alright!

9:26 pm  
Blogger rustbuckit said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:26 pm  
Blogger rustbuckit said...

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9:27 pm  

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