Lancefield’s lost world

Australia’s ‘big animal’ history may be brought to life in Lancefield after Macedon Ranges Shire Council allocated funds to plan for a Megafauna Interpretation Centre.

Council’s Budget Report 2019/20 assigns funds to establish a master plan, business case and concept drawings for a centre that will educate visitors about the significant Lancefield Swamp site and Mt William Stone Axe Quarry.

These sites hold an array of fossilised bones of large but now extinct animals including the Zygomaturus, that resembled a hippopotamus and weighed more than 500 kilograms, and a Diprotodon that was similar to a rhinoceros and weighed up to three metric tons.

Lancefield has one of the richest deposits of megafauna fossils in Australia and the centre hopes to educate and attract tourists to the area.

Lancefield Neighbourhood House co-ordinator Vivien Philpotts holds an annual megafauna festival and is involved in the planning process for the centre.

“Megafauna is very unique. I grew up in Australia and didn’t know about it until I moved to Lancefield,” Ms Philpotts said.

“I’m amazed that it’s not really taught in the school curriculum. It’s important for us to understand the place we live in and our history.

“Our annual festival has shown that there is an interest in megafauna.”

She hopes the centre will educate the community on Australia’s hidden history.

“Hopefully students can come up and visit – it’ll be great for Lancefield,” she said.

The centre will focus on three key topics: megafauna and their extinction, the natural environment/climate change and Traditional Owners’ culture.

It is hoped the centre will provide primary, secondary and tertiary education, attract tourists to Lancefield and provide job opportunities for residents.

People can have their say on the proposal through consultation on the draft budget, which is now underway until May 28.

To provide feedback, visit mrsc.vic.gov.au/yoursay.