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Age of Fishes museum, Canowindra

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Age of Fishes museum
It was bitterly cold in the morning; we had to pour a couple of kettles of hot water onto the car windows to remove all the ice. But it wasn't too bad in the sun.

Our first stop out of Cowra was in Canowindra (pronounced "canoundra"), where we stopped for coffee and a snack. This wasn't so successful - coffee in country towns isn't up to Sydney standards - but in the process we stumbled over a decent secondhand bookshop and an "Age of Fishes" fossil museum.

Affiliated with the Australian Museum, the Age of Fishes houses thousands of fossils from a local site, produced by a mass fish die-off sometime in the Devonian - probably a billabong that flooded and then dried out, and then had sediment dumped on it in another flood soon afterwards. Some of the exhibits are aimed at children, but there's plenty of serious science. And you get to touch the fossils and inspect them with a magnifying glass - even the holotype for a species!

The Age of Fishes website has details of opening hours, etc. It also describes the story of the fossil find - a key slab was found in 1955, but the site wasn't rediscovered until 1993 - and gives some background on the fish themselves.

Canowindra is also, apparently, the "Ballooning Capital of Australia"...

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