Latitude -33.417653, Longitude 149.581031
Located in the Central West Region of NSW, in the town of Bathurst
In July 2004, the 1876 public school building in the heart of Bathurst became home to the internationally renowned Somerville Collection, the lifetime work of Warren Somerville AM who donated his priceless legacy to the people of Australia.
The Somerville Collection is approximately two thirds minerals and one third fossil specimens, most of which are museum-quality as well as being of scientific and heritage significance. The Mineral Collection has suites from particular locations and particular mineral groups. The Fossil Collection has animal and plant fossils from every major period in the history of life on earth.
The Collection houses hundreds of examples of mineral specimens from Broken Hill, one of the world's largest silver, lead and zinc deposits. This area has a complex geological history, creating perfect conditions for the formation of over 300 different types of minerals. There are also hundreds of other minerals from Australia, England, India and Africa. Of particular significance are the African minerals from Tsumeb in Namibia, known as the best mineral specimen site in the world. The Collection has a large number of spectacular specimens from this area, including the brilliant green Dioptase. Nearly 4,000 different types of minerals (called species) have been discovered.
The Somerville Collection contains examples of more than 1,000 different species, with mineral species of similar chemical compositions grouped together. The Collection contains specimens from all over the world that belong to each of the eight major mineral groups; Native Elements, Oxides, Hydroxides, Halides, Carbonates, Sulphates, Sulphides and Phosphates and to some of the minor mineral groups.
Fossils are the mineralised remains or traces of prehistoric living things and their age is worked out by the types of rocks they are found in and also by radioactive dating methods. Specimens in the Somerville Fossil Collection vary in size from single-celled organisms invisible to the naked eye, to a skeleton of one of the largest land predators ever, the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur.
There are additionally two other complete dinosaur skeletons in the Collection as well as fossils of dinosaur teeth, bones and eggs and some excellent examples of three-dimensional fossil trilobites. Also on display are skulls and teeth of many European and North American mammals, Australian giant wombat-like animals, kangaroos, possums and marsupial lions. Australia's best collection of animals and plants fossilized in amber are also on display.
The Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum is located at 224 Howick Street in Bathurst, next to the Post Office. It is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm and on Sunday 10am to 2pm. Admission fees apply.
For further details contact the Museum on (02) 6331 5511