Extras: Unboxing the Past

The Australian Opal Centre has an amazing collection of opalised fossils (among many, many other things). In Unboxing the Past, Dr. Elizabeth Smith uncrates a collection of pieces donated to the Centre and demonstrates the amazing diversity of prehistoric life that existed in the area surrounding Lightning Ridge 110 million years ago.

Here are a few extra photos from behind the scenes:

Dr. Smith prepares to discuss the contents of the plastic crate.

Dr. Smith prepares to discuss the contents of the plastic crate.

Demonstrating the catalogue listing the items in the box.

Demonstrating the catalogue listing the items in the box.

Examining the spectacularly beautiful turtle fossils.

Examining the spectacularly beautiful turtle fossils.

And the incredible lungfish toothplate.

And the incredible lungfish toothplate.

Dino tooth.

Dino tooth.

Incredible lungfish toothplate.

Incredible lungfish toothplate.

The most spectacular turtle fossils on the planet.

The most spectacular turtle fossils on the planet.

More incredible turtle pieces.

More incredible turtle pieces.

Extras: Collarenebri - The Railway that Never Was

Collarenebri, a tiny town in northern New South Wales, was destined to have a railway station...until a local government decision put a stop to it, leaving the railway line stranded nine miles from the town. Here are some extra photographs relating to Collarenebri and Pokataroo railway station:

The remains of the buffer at the end of the Pokataroo/Collarenebri railway line.

The remains of the buffer at the end of the Pokataroo/Collarenebri railway line.

The earthworks beneath the old railway line is now home to rabbits.

The earthworks beneath the old railway line is now home to rabbits.

The base of the jib crane.

The base of the jib crane.

The jib crane base and old farmhouses in Pokataroo.

The jib crane base and old farmhouses in Pokataroo.

A tree grows up through the disused railway line. (2002.)

A tree grows up through the disused railway line. (2002.)

Some of the old lines have been plowed up, resulting in a tangled mess of steel. (2002.)

Some of the old lines have been plowed up, resulting in a tangled mess of steel. (2002.)

The remains of the buffer. This photograph is from 2002, before the wooden structure had rotted away and collapsed.

The remains of the buffer. This photograph is from 2002, before the wooden structure had rotted away and collapsed.

Track joint.

Track joint.

A nearby rail bridge.

A nearby rail bridge.

Pokataroo by night.

Pokataroo by night.

Extras: Fossils and False Fossils

I met up with Dr. Elizabeth Smith from the Australian Opal Centre to discuss items commonly misinterpreted as fossils. Often, miners will present weird and wonderful items that can be fascinating geological formations in their own right, but are not fossilised material.

Here are a few extra photos from the Fossils or Not Fossils filming:

An automatic hoist, ordinarily used to lift opal dirt from below ground to a truck on the surface, has been repurposed as a projector stand for the 2016 presentation of Spark, a multimedia video presentation about the Lightning Ridge experience, culture and lifestyle.

An automatic hoist, ordinarily used to lift opal dirt from below ground to a truck on the surface, has been repurposed as a projector stand for the 2016 presentation of Spark, a multimedia video presentation about the Lightning Ridge experience, culture and lifestyle.

The projector (and hoist!) in use for the Spark experience.

The projector (and hoist!) in use for the Spark experience.

Filming with Dr. Smith. Here, we're discussing weird little stone formations, where it appears the silica deposits have been "squashed" as they've formed, creating something that looks like crushed candy.

Filming with Dr. Smith. Here, we're discussing weird little stone formations, where it appears the silica deposits have been "squashed" as they've formed, creating something that looks like crushed candy.

Elizabeth is explaining the characteristics of a dinosaur bone: smooth surface, some porous regions, certain specific shapes.

Elizabeth is explaining the characteristics of a dinosaur bone: smooth surface, some porous regions, certain specific shapes.

It rained relentlessly during the shoot. We were indoors, so getting wet wasn't a problem. We were inside a gigantic shed, though, so getting good sound was.

It rained relentlessly during the shoot. We were indoors, so getting wet wasn't a problem. We were inside a gigantic shed, though, so getting good sound was.

The front of an old Morris, repurposed in typical Lightning Ridge style as a piece of mining machinery.

The front of an old Morris, repurposed in typical Lightning Ridge style as a piece of mining machinery.

Selfie with the rear of the vehicle. The perforated drum is designed like a clothes washing machine, to spin the opal dirt around and pulverise the sandstone away. Some of these machines, called "puddlers" worked with water (wet puddling), others operated without (dry puddling).

Selfie with the rear of the vehicle. The perforated drum is designed like a clothes washing machine, to spin the opal dirt around and pulverise the sandstone away. Some of these machines, called "puddlers" worked with water (wet puddling), others operated without (dry puddling).

The rear of another puddler vehicle. Like the Morris, this one is a two-in-one machine. You can see the two driveshaft extensions, allowing the miner to "disconnect" the truck's wheels and "connect" the puddler attachment, then when it's time to move again, swap the connections over and drive the vehicle again.

The rear of another puddler vehicle. Like the Morris, this one is a two-in-one machine. You can see the two driveshaft extensions, allowing the miner to "disconnect" the truck's wheels and "connect" the puddler attachment, then when it's time to move again, swap the connections over and drive the vehicle again.