In our minds, Bathurst is famed for two things: V8 Supercars and the gold that sparked Australia’s first gold rush. So even though it’s officially race season, we’re going to tempt you away from the racetrack with a look at subterranean Australia.
The Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum is right in the centre of Bathurst, on Howick St. The museum building is an old Victorian public school and the beautiful high roof line you see from outside gives a hint of the drama you’ll find inside.
The Museum’s collection represents a lifetime’s work in collecting and researching on the part of Professor Warren Somerville AM. Just over a quarter of the world class collection is on display so the Museum hosts and develops regular exhibitions to ensure there’s always something new to see!
If you are thinking this is a very grown-up type of entertainment that’s because you haven’t yet seen the dinosaur!
The first galleries are devoted to the display of visually stunning minerals and you are lead through this sparkling world by different themes. In one gallery, you see the minerals found beneath Bathurst, and then in ever expanding circles, beneath NSW, Australia and then the world. In another space you’re taken through the different ways that minerals are formed –did you know that emeralds are actually a type of beryl? Or that malachite and azurite are often found together?
If you are thinking this is a very grown-up type of entertainment that’s because you haven’t yet seen the dinosaur! As we were wending our way through the scientific displays, a small boy in full flight raced past us determined to get to … T-Rex!
It’s in this final gallery space you’ll find Professor Somerville’s fossil collection at the centre of which, and towering over everything else, is a full T-Rex skeleton; the only one in Australia. Here the beautiful building truly comes into its own, with a mezzanine level so that you can get face-to-face with sexy Rexy.
Our favourite in this gallery is the incredible amber collection where, with magnifying glass in hand you can study the myriad of little insects that once inhabited coniferous trees feeding on the resin before being preserved for time immemorial .
The Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum is a world class museum and a highlight of any trip to the Central West of NSW. Next time you are near Bathurst, regardless whether it’s for a car race or not, run (or drive!) to the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum. You won’t be disappointed!