Hundreds of millions of years before the dinosaurs, long before giant wombats and kangaroos walked the continent, the world was ruled by fish. This was the late-Devonian era and it is a key stage in the story of evolution, but there is a lot more to learn buried under our feet.
In 1993, palaeontologist Dr Alex Ritchie was given just 10 days for an exploratory dig near Canowindra. He found thousands of fish fossils, helping to fill gaps in our knowledge in the process – but with limited time and resources he could only scratch the surface. At the end of their time, Dr Ritchie lay a plastic sheet over one of the most complete fish fossils ever found then reburied it under hay and soil for a future date that never came. The Age of Fishes Museum was built to display what was found, but Dr Ritchie always dreamed of opening up the original dig site again. “What we should have done is given it to the nation, roofed it, put a gate in it and then charge entry for people to come see this thing undercover, protected forever,” said Dr Ritchie.
For more on this story, check out episode 11 of the Voice of Real Australia Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.