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Tuesday 6 December 2022

Two of the world’s leading palaeontologists along with scientific researchers and educators have gathered to discuss the importance of the Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail in Inverloch.

The Dinosaurs Trail symposium was organised by Bass Coast Shire Council and included representatives from Parks Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, representatives from regional tourism organisations and members of the Bass Coast Arts and Culture Advisory Committee.

Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor Michael Whelan said the focus of the symposium was to articulate how this Dinosaurs Trail project can showcase the significance of the region, drive the visitor economy and support liveability.

“There is a groundswell of excitement building around the Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail project and Council is excited to be driving this incredible initiative forward,’’ Cr Whelan said.”

“I am personally very excited. It is a true legacy project for Council to be at the forefront of creating a world class tourism experience that celebrates the work of scientists, volunteers and the international significance of polar dinosaurs to the Australian Continent.’’

“This project brings an incredible connection to our natural world; it talks to us about why the world is so precious and of course it provides some learning for us.’’

World-renowned palaeontologists, Pat Vickers-Rich and Tom Rich, researcher Lesley Kool and educator Mike Cleeland, who are the namesakes of Victoria’s fossil emblem Koolasuchus cleelandi, spoke to the 60 strong crowd about the significance of polar dinosaurs in the region.

The State Government this year backed the Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail with a $500,000 funding boost, through the Investment Fast Track Fund, to accelerate the project which will attract thousands of extra visitors and inject millions into the local economy. This unique experience will include six creative art sites from San Remo via Wonthaggi to Inverloch, and a Cultural Discovery Centre in Inverloch. Together, these separate, but interconnected experiences will link science, education and creative arts to provide a visitor experience of epic proportions.

Bass Coast Shire Council last year purchased land in Wonthaggi for $1.2 million to create an interactive sound and light ‘Gondwana Garden’. Once developed it will feature sculptural forms and prehistoric planting. The gardens will showcase unique vegetation from 125 million years ago and the landscape in which polar dinosaurs once inhabited.