SUSTAINABILITY – ORGANISATIONS WITH PAID STAFF
Australian Age of Dinosaurs
Turning out the lights: Australia's first International Dark-Sky Sanctuary
Following the accidental discovery of a large dinosaur femur in 1999, local graziers David and Judy Elliott started a not-for-profit museum, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs. During the first seven years of its operation, the Museum acquired the beginnings of a very large collection of dinosaur bones. In 2009 it relocated to The Jump-Up, a 1400-hectare unique mesa environment near Winton that is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna.
The lack of population, low humidity and light pollution make the geographical location of the Museum site, atop The Jump-Up, a magical spot to stargaze. The rise in artificial light around the world and its potential to negatively affect the environment, including wildlife, led Museum staff and volunteers to begin a sustainable program to protect the extraordinarily dark-skies above The Jump-Up.
This level of conservation has been achieved through the compilation and adoption of a formalised Lighting Management Plan. Educational programs and guided tours focused on understanding the benefits of truly dark skies were also established to ensure continued public engagement to this very remote Museum and region.
In April 2019 this sustainability plan culminated in The Jump-Up being designated Australia’s first International Dark-Sky Sanctuary, the classification within the International Dark Sky Places program reserved for sites that are remotest and often darkest in the world whose conservation state is most fragile.
Banner image: 2019 GAMAA trophies created by Queensland artist Lucy Quinn. Photo: Andrea Higgins, courtesy of M&G QLD.