In 2004 the remote community of Eromanga in Outback Queensland Australia was fighting the first few years of what was to be the worst drought on record. This drought devastated the sheep and cattle grazing community and the impact was to be felt right throughout the small towns and surrounding communities for many years.
Although the drought ravaged landscapes offered little hope to any animal that it once sustained…often out of devastation there comes opportunity. These denuded landscapes now devoid of any vegetation, presented an unexpected window into the past for a sharp-eyed young jackaroo. A young boy, Sandy Mackenzie was checking sheep and something caught his eye, he saw something that looked different and picked it up. What he thought was an unusual rock turned out to be the first piece of dinosaur bones ever found in this outback region of Australia.
This initial find marked the beginning of a series of new dinosaur site discoveries. Amongst all these remarkable discoveries, the first one that made world-wide news was the discovery of Australia’s largest dinosaur, nicknamed ‘Cooper’, a 30m x 6.5m, 95 million year old giant.
But there's a problem
The Eromanga community was passionate about ensuring that their fossil heritage remained in context so that it would not only bring economic and social benefits to help mitigate the effects of the drought for their community but also bring a more holistic scientific result for researchers and visitors. To do this they needed to raise money to continue to excavate the dinosaur sites and build a Natural History Museum to credibly house and display the dinosaur fossils.
With no help from any governments forthcoming for this internationally significant project, a locally based registered Australian charity, the Outback Gondwana Foundation Limited, was established to provide a credible body to manage this work.To date the Eromanga community has managed to raise money needed to excavate some of the Eromanga dinosaurs, prepare and conserve their bones but still has so much more to do.
Our problem is that with so many other costs involved with establishing and running the Natural History Museum, our small community cannot also raise the money needed to replicate the bones of 'Cooper' so that children and adults can fully understand the size and what this new dinosaur looked like.
We want children to learn about the Australian dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are an extremely important part of our children's education, they not only captivate and inspire them but also teach them how to research, inquire, imagine and interpret. All helping to build their understanding of our world today and also helping to develop an inquiring mind necessary for their educational years ahead.
Here's what we're doing about it
With the expertise of an Australian paleontologist Dr Scott Hocknull (Queensland Museum) and the very talented paleoartist Vlad Konstantinov we have the digital files to bring "Cooper" to life..
So here is our plan... to replicate the complete skeleton of 'Cooper' would not only be too big for the space we currently have to display it in, but also too costly.
What is more affordable and will also achieve the educational and interpretive benefits required for now, is to replicate one full front limb section and one full hind limb section of 'Cooper'.
This is going to change the world, starting with the Eromanga community's world. This replica will be a massive 'wow' factor for visitors to the museum, helping to bring more tourism and economic benefits for the community. Helping to build a resilient remote community. Just imagine the sense of pride for the Eromanga community to have these bones that they have worked hard to bring to the world for the last 10 years, finally on display as they were once in life, 95 million years ago.
Now lets think about how it is going to change our children's world, not only a brand new dinosaur name to learn about but Australia's largest and also one of the TOP TEN, largest dinosaurs in the world. Imagine their faces when they can actually see and stand beside these massive limb sections of 'Cooper'.
Finally you and I, how is this going to change our world???
If you are curious to see what Australia's largest dinosaur might look like and you do visit the Eromanga Natural History Museum, you will most likely not only be captivated by the sheer size of this prehistoric giant and also be immersed in a prehistoric story most of you will only know a little of. When you leave you will have a much greater understanding of the evolution and geology of Australia, the changes in climate that have lead to where we are today, our Australian dinosaurs, megafauna and modern day fauna and flora.
You can join us
The project costs $40,000 and this will pay for replication, setup and freight costs of Australia's largest dinosaur's front and hind limb sections.
WE ARE ASKING FOR YOUR HELP TO FUND THIS PROJECT - WE NEED $40,000 so we can finish this replication in time for the launch of the project in early 2017.
And for supporting us your name will go on the plaque that will sit next to the replication acknowledging all who helped us achieve our goal.