A series of boulders will take people on a South Coast time walk dating back 510 million years.
Despite the devastation of last week’s harbour fire and the damage it caused to the priceless fossil collection, work has commenced on the Gondwana Coast Time Walk, which will feature 20 large samples of rock collected from across the Shoalhaven and South Coast region.
The first truck load of boulders was delivered to Brodie Park, on the northern side of Ulladulla Harbour, last week.
Geologist Phil Smart is the brainchild behind the historical walk, which will be one of only three similar attractions in the country.
It has taken him more than two years to source and collect the boulders which will tell the story of the geological history of our region.
A grant from Shoalhaven City Council will help pay for signage and brochures to compliment the walk which will begin at the stone monument just north of Rotary Park and extend to the northern headland of the harbour.
Mr Smart said the time walk will be “510 child footsteps long”, with each step representing a million years in time.
The rocks, including Milton Monzonite, Sydney Sandstone, Moruya Granite, local basalt, siltstone, silicrete (used to collect silica) and Bawley Gabbro, will be laid in chronological order, with the oldest from the Cambrian period dating back more than 500 million years ago.
Mr Smart said Gondwana Coast Fossil Walk volunteers have begun laying the boulders and will construct native gardens around them.
“We hope people will walk along and learn more about the geological evolution of our region,” he said.
“Kids can climb on the boulders and feel them.
“They can compare the different rocks types, some of which have fossils in them.”
He said similar time walks could only found in the Geoscience Australia headquarters in Canberra and at Conowindra in western NSW.
“This is something very different that will bring tourists and school groups to our area.
“Already we have university geology professors from Sydney and Canberra as well as school teachers very interested in the project.
“It’s only in the early stages, but this is very exciting.”
The project commencement came only days after Mr Smart’s fossil and rock collection was destroyed when the Gondwana Coast Fossil Walk premises was destroyed by fire.
“We are focussing on the positives now, which include the time walk and also continuing our fossil walk program,” he added.
The walk is expected to be completed by Easter 2014.