We invite you to visit and join us on this journey of conservation and education, as world-leading researchers continue to explore the ancient sea floor that lies within the Ediacara Hills, and as we develop the programs to make these discoveries accessible for generations to come.
NILPENA BLACKSMITH’S SHOP TO BECOME WORLD CLASS FOSSIL EXHIBIT
Thousands of visitors have been captivated by Nilpena’s treasures. But not everyone can see them on the ground, as it is difficult terrain and often unfavourable weather.
The historic Blacksmith’s Shop at Nilpena is being restored and repurposed as an immersive interpretive experience. It will become an iconic new visitor destination for the Flinders Ranges to house one of the world’s great fossil beds – known as Alice’s Restaurant Bed – showcasing the rise of animal life.
An immersive audio visual experience will enable the child in each of us to be transported back 550 million years and see this fossil bed come to life.
The building will also become an outreach facility for schools to inspire children in science and learning. As the South Australian Premier says; “The Ediacara fossils of Nilpena in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia are a truly unique and mysterious part of our planet’s history and can inspire children to learn about science and our natural world.”
The development of the Blacksmith’s Shop during 2021 is being delivered and funded by the National Parks & Wildlife Service, and also with funding from the Australian Government’s Heritage Grants Program. The Foundation has raised $250,000 towards this exciting project and we look forward to the next phase, which will be the development of a management plan for the Blacksmith’s Shop by the State Government.
We look forward to sharing news of this exciting project and announcements about its opening.
Update July 2021 – Construction works at both the fossil fields and pastoral heritage precinct are now well underway. We will provide regular progress updates, ahead of the formal opening of the park to visitors in early – mid 2022.
TAKE A TOUR OF THIS LIFE-CHANGING SITE
The Nilpena fossils are 30 minutes north of Parachilna and 40 minutes south of Leigh Creek. They are located on the new Nilpena Ediacara National Park managed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service.
Protecting the fossils is paramount in managing the site. While infrastructure works are underway in establishing the National Park in 2021, public access to the fossils will only be through a guided tour delivered via the Prairie Hotel.
A percentage of your tour will be donated to the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation to support ongoing work at the fossil site. Due to the extreme heat at Nilpena over summer, tours are generally not available from December to early March each summer.
Unfortunately tours of the fossil site are currently not possible whilst major works are being undertaken.
TIPS OR STATS ABOUT VISITING
- Guided access only
- South Australia’s newest National Park
- Two-wheel drive accessible
- Containing more than 40 fossil beds
- Nilpena is part of the Flinders Ranges World Heritage bid
- Marking the advent of complex animal life on the planet
EDIACARA EDUCATION PROGRAM IN ADELAIDE
If you want to learn more about the Ediacara Fossils now and can’t get to the Flinders Ranges, you can do so from Adelaide.
Children, parents and school groups can visit the impressive Ediacaran Fossil gallery at the South Australian Museum to explore fossil specimens, view animations and fossil models to gain an understanding of how these creatures may have moved and lived up to 550 million years ago.
The Department for Education is developing an eBook, PowerPoint and PDF on the Ediacara Fossils in the Flinders Ranges in partnership with the South Australian Museum to provide an interactive digital resource that can be used in classrooms, or at home.