Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
Our second day of camping in Ben Boyd National Park was particularly special for us because we were joined by 3 colleagues who travelled a long way to see us and take us to a very important fossil site within the park. We started with a swim at the beach together in Bittangabee Bay then a convivial picnic lunch at our tent site before heading off on our adventure.
We started at Boyd’s Tower which is the start of the Light-to-Light walk that extends 30km to Green Cape Lighthouse and passes through our campsite. The tower is located at Red Point, on the southern headland of Twofold Bay and is made of sandstone shipped to the site from Sydney. Ben Boyd intended The Tower to be used as a lighthouse to guide home his fleet of ships, but permission to light it was refused by the government of the day. Boyd was a one of the largest landholders and graziers of the Colony of New South Wales before suffering financial difficulties and becoming bankrupt.
The walk south was very pleasant with lovely views over the rocky coastline, differing forest and fun times for our family with my colleagues.
When my colleague had mentioned showing us some fossils we expected to have difficulty maintaining the interest of our children. However the fun attitude of my colleagues, the super abundance of fossils on the rock platform and the amazing size and quality of the fossils meant that we all greatly enjoyed the time. The red mudstones are of Devonian age (~416-360 million years ago). The Devonian is commonly known as the ‘Age of Fishes’. The first ray-finned and lobe-finned bony fish appeared, while the placoderms began dominating the waters. During that period the first forests evolved, and our fish-like vertebrate ancestors moved onto the land.
The red mudstones contain placoderms, and very large predatory lobe-finned fish. This is the biggest bony lobe-finned fish ever found in Devonian rocks anywhere in the world. With fangs nearly 50 millimetres long, the fish was up to four metres long and would have been the top predator in the big river system that deposited the red mudstones forming the coastal cliffs between Eden and Merimbula.
As the shadows lengthened we walked a little further to the next bay for some fun and exploration before heading back to the cars. Our children walked the whole way without difficulty and with plenty of energy and enthusiasm. All 7 of us had a marvellous time and this is definitely the most exciting fossil site that I have visited, despite having studied paleontology at university.
Other posts about Ben Boyd National Park