Australia IS the oldest Continent on Earth, FACT!!
Dinosaurs DID exist on this Great Southern Land many a million of years ago, FACT!!!
And I had the pleasure to discover this last one out for myself when I was accepted for the Tour Guide/ Programs Assistant position at the Australian Age Of Dinosaurs museum (AAOD) in Winton, Queensland, Outback Australia.
WORK AND PLAY 🙂
I’ve never done any “official” guiding but always seem to find myself leading fellow travellers, friends and family out and about to explore as many opportunities as we can. So, I was definitely keen for the guiding part of the job. And it had been a good while since the last time that I was back in the office, so I was excited to return to the world of desks, computers, and pressing deadlines.
A lovely Grey Nomad introduced me to a great Australian Documentary called “The Time Traveller”, detailing the life of Australia over the last couple of billions of years. Before I had heard all these tales of our distant history, well, Dinosaurs in Australia was just something that I’d never really even thought about. Through this film I chanced to stumble upon AAOD and all their Dinosaur glory!!
This non-for-profit organisation had been building up strongly since around the time that I started my own travelling adventures, all the way back in 1999. A humble grazier by the name of David Elliot took the big bones he found in the paddock and with the help of his family, plus a growing number of passionate individuals, not to mention the backing and support of the local community of Winton, has managed to create a World Class Dinosaur Tourist Destination. And one with the opportunity for paying participants to get involved in actually working on cleaning the real bones out of the rocks, or joining in on a bona fide Dinosaur dig to make those blessed first discoveries.
They’ve even made it into the “Top 100 places to visit in Australia”.
Really, need I say more!!
There was accommodation organised for the first 3 weeks of the job up on the impressive Jump Up, 75 metres above the plains and over 5 km in length with views that just seemed to stretch out forever. Well worth the mission of driving on the 11km dirt road, over the plains before it winds its way up to the top of the magnificent Mesa.
AND SO IT BEGINS…
The first week was an intense intake of all the information about the dinosaurs, the tours, the cafe, the events, the Everything!! But the training was so well organised that it felt perfectly natural to be taking on our own tours by just the third day. Albeit a little daunting, but exciting nonetheless.
I’ve been told that I’m a bit of an enthusiastic type but in this place, how can you not be when you see all the work that has been accomplished and is constantly going on around here. Starting with all these beautiful bones that have been so careful removed out of the solid ground, laboured over for many hours to bring them out of the rock, then lovingly prepared for future display in the Collection Room.
And all the work that goes on behind the scenes is just as phenomenal. The organising of the daily events; along with managing the future fundraising events, the digs, the dinners; then there’s the constant upkeep of journals, retail merchandise, finances; the running of the cafe, tours, lab work; it takes an army of many and falls on the shoulders of but a few. This small team of 15 do a mighty job with a passion that happily gets rubbed off on our guests.
For me its a privilege to be leading these groups around and sharing the knowledge that I’ve learnt here; to have this opportunity to work so closely with these beautiful pieces of ancient creatures that roamed the land outside my door over 100 million years ago and to be a part of the continuing growth of the inspirational AAOD.
MAKING THE MOST OF AN ADVENTURE..
I could go on about the Dinosaurs for hours. The joy of working with the tools to get through the million of years of rock that has cradled them deep in the ground; the fun of telling the stories of how AAOD began, has grown and continues to develop with plans well into the future; the pride in seeing an event go off without a hitch and truly enjoyed by our lucky guest’s and the staff. But perhaps i’ll save that for a future post or two.