Australian Age of Dinosaurs
A not-for-profit natural history museum and Dark-Sky Sanctuary
Australian Age of Dinosaurs
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History is a not-for-profit organisation located in Winton, Queensland, and founded by David and Judy Elliott in 2002. The Museum is located on a towering mesa, known as The Jump-Up, and the home to Australia’s first International Dark-Sky Sanctuary.
Over the last two decades the Museum has accumulated the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils in the world and holds the holotype specimens of Diamantinasaurus matildae (Matilda), Savannasaurus elliottorum (Wade), Australovenator wintonensis (Banjo – Australia’s most complete theropod skeleton) and Ferrodraco lentoni (Butch – the first pterosaur to be named from the Winton Formation).
Today visitors can take guided tours of the Fossil Preparation Laboratory, Reception Centre and the March of the Titanosaurs exhibition (a 54-metre-long sauropod tracksite) at Dinosaur Canyon. Future plans include the construction of Australia’s premier natural history museum.
The Museum offers world-class, interactive guided tours for the whole family to enjoy. Tours are split between three sites:
- The Fossil Preparation Laboratory, where you can learn how the Museum’s fossils are found, excavated, and prepared.
- The Reception Centre, where you can meet the most important locally found fossils in the Collection Room.
- The March of the Titanosaurs exhibition showcasing locally found dinosaur trackways.
The Museum offers two hands-on experiences. The Prep-A-Dino experience is available throughout the year and teaches visitors to mechanically prepare, restore, repair and consolidate fossils for display in the Fossil Preparation Laboratory. The Dig-A-Dino experience takes place once a year and involves differentiating rocks and fossils, digging for fossils and plastering exposed fossils for relocation to the Museum. Fossil material includes large sauropod bones, teeth, smaller bones from crocodiles and flying reptiles, plant fossils and more.
The Jump Up
The Museum is located on 1,800 hectares of rugged mesa plateau or jump-up. The Jump-Up is approximately 270m above sea level, stands 75m above the surrounding land and forms part of a mesa formation called the Vindex Range. Like much of the Winton Shire, The Jump-Up is part of the Winton Formation, which is dated around 95–98 million years old. The Jump-Up is Australia’s first International Dark-Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association and has a Nature Tourism certification through Ecotourism Australia.
Karen Corkill, Savannah Guide.
I love working for AAOD, it’s my dinosaur family in outback Winton. Not only do I work as a tour guide but I also get to use my lapidary skills for the museum, polishing rocks and fossils for the displays, tumbling petrified wood and making guitar picks and pendants for the shop.
The museum supports and encourages me to keep on learning, not just about dinosaurs and fossils but all things natural history. I embraced that by becoming a ‘bird nerd’ specializing in bird photography and developed a keen interest in plant identification.