Woolshed Creek Fossil Site

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Posted 2023-07-09 by Heidi Ceefollow
The traffic hurtling along Fairbairn Avenue in Canberra provides an unexpectedly modern backdrop for a geological site that is home to a hardy gang of Silurian period fossils. Nestled under the nearby overpass, Woolshed Creek in the very heart of Canberra is the final resting place of a smorgasbord of brachiopods, trilobites, pelecypods, corals and bryozoan fossils.

The site itself is a small and slightly unkempt patch of grass and rocks but if you come with keen eyes, it’s secrets will reveal themselves to you soon enough. The information boards give some background on the history of the site as well as some detail about what exactly you should look out for. Take a wander and you’ll quickly start to notice the fossils. The search becomes quite addictive and while you can’t take these home, you can absolutely touch them and get up close making it a great adventure for any budding palaeontologists. If you set aside time to read the signage, check out the display case then hunt for fossils, you should allow for around half an hour to explore the site, longer if you really want to search for each of the fossil types as some are a little harder to find than others.

Signage at the Woolshed Creek Fossil Site

The fossils at Woolshed Creek

As you explore the sight, you may very well wonder how this little slice of prehistory was uncovered. Back in the mid-1800s, Reverend B Clarke, owner of a tremendous beard and an amazing sense of adventure, had left England on what became an antipodean fossil hunt. Along the way, he discovered the Woolshed Creek site, and in the process, uncovered the first Silurian age fossils in Australia. Amazingly, this discovery eventually helped to prove the age of Earth.

If you're keen to step back in time, you can access the site by using the pedestrian path that follows Woolshed Creek from the Duntroon cricket oval. It’s a level walk but can get muddy and slippery in places and would be difficult to access with prams or wheelchairs. Parking is available on Hopkins Drive near the playing fields.


222389 - 2023-07-09 10:52:35


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