Queensland Museum helps Mackay to Unearth fossils

21 July 2021

Get ready to celebrate science Mackay when Unearthed takes over the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre in a free event on Sunday 1 August. 

This free Community Day, presented by Queensland Museum and BHP as part of their Project DIG partnership, will bring an action packed program of STEAM inspired activities, demonstrations and performances for the whole family, including an exhibition of fossil discoveries made in the region unique to tropical Australia. 

The event kicks off from 9am with a range of fun activities from robots to virtual reality, Minecraft competitions, holograms, origami and even the opportunity to pet a virtual dinosaur. 

Leading researchers and scientists in the field of palaeontology will showcase a range of real and replica megafauna fossils that were found locally at South Walker Creek, near Nebo. Megafauna are extinct supersized species of mammals, reptiles and marsupials and they have been uncovered at South Walker Creek by Queensland Museum and BHP scientists during annual digs over the past decade. 

Unearthed visitors will be able to explore new digital technologies that are revolutionising the way our researchers store, explore and share our data with communities worldwide. Interactive demonstrations by Queensland Museum palaeontologists will cover the digitisation of local megafauna discoveries and prehistoric sea creatures using innovative technology including 3D modelling software. 

Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson said it was important to showcase regional discoveries to the community and to demonstrate the importance of digitising our collections and research for communities across the globe. 

“This is the fourth time we have brought Unearthed to Mackay and the surrounding communities, welcoming more than 3,500 people who are eager to learn more about the region’s important geological history and the role that digitisation is playing in preserving that history for generations to come, Dr Thompson said. 

“Queensland Museum is proud to be able to share our love of science and discoveries with our regional communities and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the FREE community day on 1 August.”  

Kalutwa Chizema, General Manager South Walker Creek mine, said BHP was proud to continue working with the Queensland Museum on Project DIG. 

“Technology and innovation continue to play a huge role in reshaping our collective futures,” he said. 

“In partnership with the Queensland Museum, technology is importantly contributing to the preservation of history and culture of regional Queensland, and will further contribute to digitisation of the Queensland Museum’s collection to share our exciting local history with the world.” Kalutwa said. 

Queensland Museum palaeontologist, Dr Scott Hocknull has been leading the South Walker Creek expeditions with a team of staff and volunteers including geologists from BHP for more than a decade. 

“The South Walker Creek site is one of a number of sites around the state that is being studied by Queensland Museum palaeontologists to learn more about this history of the Fitzroy River Catchment, one of the largest river systems in Australia that has flowed for millions of years and how it has changed the species over millennia,” Dr Hocknull said. 

“My team and I are very excited to be bringing our fossil collection to Mackay and to demonstrate how new digital technologies such as photogrammetry, 3D scanning and 3D modelling are revolutionising the way we conduct our research, allowing us to reveal new data that can be shared with visitors and researchers worldwide.” 

The FREE Community Day will be held on Sunday 1 August, 9am to 3.30pm at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre 

For more information visit https://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Events+and+Exhibitions/Events/2021/07/Unearthed


For further information, images or interviews please contact:


Kylie Hay M: 0434 565 852 P: (07) 3153 4450
Christine Robertson M: 0417 741 710 P: (07) 3153 4451

Unearthed FREE event

Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre (MECC)

Sunday 1 August, 9am to 3.30pm

FREE, no bookings required. Capacity limited.

About Queensland Museum Network

Queensland Museum Network is the keeping place for the State Collection of more than 1.2 million objects and specimens, valued at more than $546 million, and approximately 14 million research collection items. For more than 150 years Queensland Museum has grown alongside Queensland to inspire, enrich and empower communities.’

About BHP

BHP is a world-leading resources company determined to make a positive difference through their performance, shaping change for the better through innovation, productivity and technology.

About Project DIG

Project DIG is a ground-breaking five-year collaboration between BHP and Queensland Museum Network that will transform how we store, explore and share our collection and research with communities, students and scientists no matter where they are.