Not only is Naracoorte famous for being the home of MiniJumbuk, but it is also the home of South Australia’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site the Naracoorte Caves. One of only 13 Natural World Heritage Sites in Australia, the caves are ranked in the top 10 of the world’s greatest fossil sites.
So what makes our Naracoorte Caves Park so special?
On the 21st November the Park is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Limestone Caves have roof holes which acted as traps and animals fell into the caves. The caves have been collecting animals for at least 500,000 years, preserving the most complete fossil record available for this period of time. The fossil record covers several ice ages and the arrival of humans in the area.
The Park is home to over 100 known fossil deposits, preserving the bones of megafauna that became extinct roughly 60,000 years ago.
Tens of thousands of specimens have been recovered, ranging in size from very small frogs to buffalo-sized marsupials. These include superbly preserved examples of the Australian Ice-Age megafauna (giant animals) such as Thylacoleo carnifex (Marsupial Lion), Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger), Zygomaturus (a giant marsupial similar to a modern pygmy hippo) and sthenurine short faced kangaroos. Also more modern species such as the Tasmanian devil, wallabies, possums, bettongs, mice, bats, snakes, parrots, turtles, lizards and frogs have also been found.
The Naracoorte system takes in about 26 caves, including Alexandra Cave, known for its spectacular limestone formations, and Bat Cave, which is home to about 40,000 endangered Southern Bentwing Bats.
20th Birthday Celebrations
Naracoorte will be holding a host of events on the 21st November in the Town Square and Town Hall including the singing palaeontologist “Professor Flint”. Professor Flint will perform and run a fun filled question and answer session with the expert panel at the Town Hall from 7pm. This will be followed by an opportunity to meet the experts and ask them more questions.
More info on the Naracoorte Caves - http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/naracoorte/World_Heritage