A permanent open-air dinosaur exhibit has been built over boulders and a gorge in outback Queensland.
Dinosaur Canyon is the latest addition to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum in Winton, central-west Queensland.
It includes a 300-metre floating concrete walkway that took three years to build and cost $1.3 million funded by donations, and State and Federal Government grants.
The walkway guides people past five galleries displaying bronze true-to-scale replicas of dinosaurs found in the region dating back to the cretaceous period, 100 million years ago.
Dinosaur Canyon is the brainchild of founder and chairman David Elliott who said it was unlike any dinosaur display it in the world.
“I’ve seen lots of plastic dinosaurs out in paddocks and you know they’re in golf courses, but we’re not doing that — we are not building a theme park,” he said.
The local grazier first discovered a dinosaur bone on his sheep station in 1999 while mustering, and for the last decade has dedicated himself to developing the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum.
“I think it’s important — particularly for our young people to understand Australian natural history and dinosaurs are a part of that,” he said.
“It’s a great way of basically introducing natural history and a love for your land,” Mr Elliott said.
Dreams of creating a natural history museum
For the field palaeontologist, the most exciting part of the opening is that it marks the first step toward creating an international-standard natural history museum.
“We have to be different and what no-one else can do as well, is build in a spectacular area,” Mr Elliott said.
“It was so important for us to build it in Winton, in the middle of nowhere [and] not in the city.”
While the walkway is a step in the right direction, Mr Elliott said to turn his vision of creating a natural history museum into a reality, the not-for-profit attraction needs to secure $40 million dollars — something he said he was determined to do.
“I just get so much enjoyment out of working for the Australian Age of Dinosaurs seeing something come out of it,” he said.
“I love knowing that what we are doing is working for not just Winton but broader regional Queensland.”
The new exhibition is scheduled to open on Saturday, April 15.