Ulladulla Fossil and Wildflower Walks

Sunday 9 October 2016

Photos by Mike and Joan

On Sunday October 9th our scheduled walk was a bit different to the usual club activity.  Fourteen participants travelled to Ulladulla, where we were met in Brodie Park by Phil Smart, a volunteer guide with the Gondwana Coast Fossil Walk Project

Phil began with a brief outline of the Geological history of our part of the world, with clear diagrams and pictures as aids.

We then moved down to the foreshore rock platform on the north side of Ulladulla harbour, where Phil was able to point out and explain geological phenomena such as evidence that the rocks we were walking on were once shallow ocean water sediments on the continental shelf of the ancient super-continent Gondwana around 270 million years ago.

We saw “drop stones”- rock material carried in glaciers to the edge of the land, carried out to sea in icebergs, and then dropped to the sea bed when the icebergs melted in the warmer sea water.

We saw fossils in abundance in the black and grey rocks of the Wandrawandian Siltstone  formation. There were two common types of shells- Bivalves and Brachiopods, as well as Crinoids (sea lilies) which were not plants but were animals related to sea urchins and star fish, and Bryozoa (sea fans) with their delicate network structure.

With a rising tide we had to abandon the beach, and Phil then took us to the Brodie Park Time Walk – here the volunteer group, with help from grant money, have created a 255 metre Time Walk where 1 metre of path represents 2 million years of time. Starting at 510 million years ago the walk takes the visitor through geological time to the present, with examples of significant rock types, and explanatory notices along the way.

It was all a fascinating experience, greatly enhanced by the enthusiasm of our very knowledgeable guide Phil Smart.

After lunch we drove to the South Pacific Heathland Reserve where the paths traverse various vegetative communities  including flannel flowers, grevilleas, wattles, banksias, orchids.  With the help of Nicki (a member of the Reserve Committee who was out for a walk with a friend) we even managed to locate some waratahs which were in bloom.  Rennies Beach and South Pacific Lookouts provided panoramic views of the coastline areas from Rennies Head, Warden Head and lighthouse in the north to Bawley Point and Durras Mountain in the South.  Pigeon House Mountain was also visible as we followed the path back.

Thanks go to Ainslie and Joone for organising Sunday’s walks which were both informative and scenic.