New road paved to dinosaur feet

The Winton Shire Council has committed to fully paving over the road to Lark Quarry, to further cement it as a highly coveted tourist destination. PHOTO: Supplied.

Roads to a historic attraction south of Winton is currently being paved.

Lark Quarry is the site of what is considered the only known record of a dinosaur stampede, but until now, it has been difficult for tourists to access the site.

However, a new initiative from the Winton Shire Council to pave the Lark Quarry Access Road to Winton Jundah Road will mean safer travels to the exhibit.

Lark Quarry is situated approximately 110 km southwest of Winton, and now 65km of bitumen has been laid, according to Works Supervisor Dale Elliott.

“5km of Bitumen Road from the Lark Quarry to Jundah Road intersection has just been completed and another 3.300km is under construction (with a side-track in place) at the moment along the Jundah Road approximately 10 km from Lark quarry towards Winton,” he said.

“This is forecast to be finished in August.”

Mr Elliott said the Winton Shire Council has just completed the maintenance grade along 40km of unsealed road.

“The road is suitable for high clearance vehicles, but all vehicles should drive to prevailing road conditions,” he said.

“There is a plan to have 40km of the currently unsealed road up to Lark Quarry sealed but this is a long-term project.”

The exhibit is owned by the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and Collection Manager, Trish Sloan who said the new road will connect visitors to the Dinosaur Trackways but also the conservation park.

She said the Lark Quarry conservation park was established for two reasons.

“The first one is to protect what is now called the Opalton Rusty Grasswren, I call them ‘the rusties’ — I’m an old school birder,” she said.

“We also have Emu Wrens that are being protected.

“The other reason is the attraction called the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument, that particular building is protecting a 95-to-98-million-year-old trace fossil.”

She said the fossil depicts footprints of a couple of seconds of time or a couple of minutes of time where dinosaurs are running for their lives after being chased by a big therapod.

For travellers who may be interested in visiting Lark Quarry, Ms Sloan said the dirt road may have intimidated them.

“A lot of travellers who come out here are not prepared to travel on the dirt road, and therefore we’re losing that visitation,” she said.

“If a bitumen road was sealed all the way to this attraction, then it will welcome people and vehicles like small sedans and Winnebago’s.

“It will provide better access to something that is quite significant on our fossil record.”

The road has not been sealed entirely from Winton, but if it were Ms Sloan said she would expect visitation to rise.

“Particularly from the less adventure-y types from there,” she said.