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|27 June 2011 - Richmond - Kronosaurus Korner|
|Life-size statue of Kronosaurus outside Kronosaurus Korner marine fossil centre in Richmond.|
Kronosaurus Korner was established to display the large number of marine fossils discovered around Richmond.
About 100 million years ago a large inland sea covered much of Queensland. The sea fluctuated in response to sea level changes and local earth movement reaching its maximum extent 112 million years ago. But the inland sea eventually filled and ceased to exist 98 million years ago. It has not reformed.
Richmond is in the centre of the former inland sea and fossils found around Richmond are those of animals which lived in the marine environment or lived around the sea and were washed into the sea after they died on shore.
|Display room in Kronosaurus Korner. The large, long-necked animal suspended from the ceiling is an Elasmosaur. This was a marine reptile reaching 8 metres in length; it had a small head and very long neck. It was an agile swimmer and snapped up small fish in its sharp teeth. Fossil remains of an Elasmosuar were found 30 kilometres north of Richmond. Below the Elasmosaur are display pits with fossils arranged on beds of sand for easy viewing in railed enclosures.|
|Travelling Australia - Kronosaurus Korner - page 2|
Dinosaur fossils have been found around the Richmond area for many years but one extraordinary fossil found in 1989 appears to have triggered moves to establish the marine fossil display centre which became Kronosaurus Korner.
In May 1989 Rob and Ian Ievers found a fossilised pliosaur while working cattle on their property near Richmond. When fully excavated this was found to be nearly the entire skeleton, complete with four flippers, of a 4.5 metre long, air-breathing, marine reptile. The fossil was later found to be 102 million years old.
|Replica of the head and neck of the Richmond Pliosaur on display at Kronosaurus Korner.|
|Statue of Minmi, the second near complete fossil found in 1989 and which generated interest in establishing a marine fossil centre in Richmond.|
Three months later the skeleton of a small armoured dinosaur known as Minmi was found a few kilometres from the Pliosaur find. Both of these fossils were recognised as exceptional and the best of their kind in the world
Queensland Museum staff were involved in assessing and excavating the pliosaur and Minmi and, as usually happened with fossils found around Richmond, these finds went to Brisbane for safe-keeping. The feeling grew in Richmond that such important locally discovered fossils should be retained locally for public display.
With considerable public support the Richmond Shire Council made available the old Strand Theatre to house fossils and the centre opened for business in 1995 operated by a volunteer organisation called Friends of the Museum. This initial step was expanded with expenditure of $500,000 ($300,000 from the Council and $200,000 from the State Government). On 1 May 1999 the complex was renamed Kronosaurus Korner and the council assumed responsibility for control and management. The complex is run by an incorporated body with a board of directors made up of the mayor, councillors and one local resident; the council's chief executive officer is secretary/treasurer.
The title of Kronosaurus came from a large fossil Kronosaurus found near Richmond in the 1930s and taken back to the United States of America by the finders.
The Queensland Museum prepared fossils for display at Kronosaurus Korner; removing sedementary rock from the Pliosaur took two people two years of full time work and replicas of fossils found near Richmond were returned for display.
|Travelling Australia - Kronosaurus Korner - page 3|
The Richmond Pliosaur (not yet assigned a scientific name) and Minmi (Minmi paravertebra) are both displayed with other local fossils. The centre runs fossil searching days for interested visitors and has a public fossicking area 12 kilometres north of Richmond where visitors are encouraged to search for fossils.
Kronosaurus Korner includes Richmond's Information Centre as well as a cafe. The building is on a corner where the Flinders Highway between Townsville and Mt Isa passes through Richmond; a large Kronosaurus statue outside attracts attention.
¶ "Marathon Run, The story behind the discovery of the Richmond pliosaur" by John Hughes, in Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Issue 1, 2003, pp31-4.
¶ Kronosaurus Korner at www.kronosauruskorner.com.au/about-us