A special visit at the Age of Fishes Museum

Dr Rebecca Johnson, Cabonne GM Stephen Harding, Dr Alex Ritchie, Philip Donato MP, Ms Kim McKay and Warren Keedle.
Dr Rebecca Johnson, Cabonne GM Stephen Harding, Dr Alex Ritchie, Philip Donato MP, Ms Kim McKay and Warren Keedle.

The Age of Fishes Museum welcomed State Member for Orange Philip Donato, as well as representatives from the Australian Museum and Cabonne Council, last Thursday to discuss the status of the new storage facility that will house more of the museum’s fossils.

Cabonne Council received a $300,000 NSW Government grant last November, matching the amount council allocated in last year’s budget, to help construct the purpose built facility.

At the moment more than 200 fossils, part of a 360-year-old collection, are stored off-site.

Museum manager Warren Keedle says there’s no timeline set in stone for the construction of the new storage facility, but is encouraged to see the wheels are in motion.

“It wasn’t really an official meeting it was more of a get together to discuss where we’re up to and bit of a get to know for Phil Donato,” Mr Keedle said.

“It was great to see Phil and show him around and have a look at what we do here.

“I can’t say this is when things will be starting but it’s great it’s happening.”

The new building will guarantee the fossils’ preservation, something Australian Museum Executive Director Ms Kim McKay spoke about.

“We’re talking with council now about securing the fish fossils’ future. It’ll be great to get some more public displays,” she said.

Ms Kim McKay also spoke about the importance of tourism in small country towns and the idea of a fossil trail finishing at Canowindra’s Age of Fishes Museum.

Ms McKay described Canowindra as the ultimate destination due to the museum’s significant collection. 

“We thought given the collection here, this is the ultimate destination. Along the way you can go to Jenolan Caves, Wellington Caves, Bathurst, Orange and across. There’s so many points to see.” 

Ms McKay says there’s been some early discussions with the government, which has shown interest, and a proposal will be submitted following a period of community consultation.

“Tourism is such an important element of the economy out here,” she added.

“We’re seeing international tourism in Sydney rise significantly. Destination NSW is very focused on getting the international tourists to stay longer and come out into the region’s of NSW more.”