Only in OZ #19 – Moon Rock-Throwing World Championships, Richmond, Queensland
I’ve yet to meet a Calcareous Concretion I didn’t like.
Although there’s some confusion about exactly where that magical Moon Rock meeting is likely to be. My first sighting in Outback Queensland’s Richmond was supposed to be ‘unique to the Richmond Shire’ according to the town guide.
BUT … I’d clocked up several hundred Moon Rock sightings before heading a few hundred kilometres south-west, where a data sheet from Boulia’s Stone House Museum outlines the geological forces that formed – yes, you guessed it – the BOULIA Calcareous Concretions!
Richmond’s dubious claims of Moon Rock uniqueness are weakened further by calcareous concretion presence in the Gogo formation of the Kimberley, Western Australia. Happily, my razor-sharp mind immediately resolved this discrepancy!
Calcareous Concretions are a feature of the Toolebuc formation, left when Australia’s vast inland sea dried up after covering much of what is now Outback Queensland – including both Richmond and Boulia!! QED …
Of course the most common form of calcareous concretion is the pearl – I therefore stand by my opening sentence – but other than formation method, the pearl and the Moon Rock are completely dissimilar …
However, although Moon Rocks can be seen in Boulia and the Kimberley, the fossil fossicking grounds of the Richmond shire, where FOSSILHUNTER once roamed (and shall roam again!), is their heartland.
Ranging in size from tiny to immoveable, you can’t throw a fossil-bearing rock without hitting some evidence of Richmond’s widespread exploitation of the Moon Rock’s decorative qualities.
The commemorative cairn, a grim or happy reminder (depending on your politics and point of view) of ex-Queensland premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen who opened the Flinders Highway that bisects the town, is made of various smaller sized Moon Rocks.
But there’s no evidence that they in any way resemble the pumpkin scones made famous by Sir Joh’s wife, Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen …*
A scattering of larger Moon Rocks lurk in the gardens below the Lakeview Caravan Park around the wonderful Fred Tritton Lake (above), a feature of Richmond’s ingenuity and an understandably popular local gathering spot.
But if you want to see Moon Rocks in their natural habitat, drive out to Cambridge Crossing on the Stawell River, 40 km from Richmond.
The riverbed, mostly dry on our June, 2011 visit gave no clue to the forces that pushed these Moon Rocks up against the crossing bed when the river flowed.
Luckily, the temptation to crack open a Moon Rock’s hard casing and cut through the limestone layer to discover the fossil or crytal that formed its nuclei was thwarted by the absence of a rock pick. Well, actually a jackhammer …
So here’s one someone prepared earlier!
A pile of Moon Rocks cleared from the riverbed and crossing didn’t look THAT big – until I stood next to them!
And remember I’m not a small person … although I’m still wondering how Pilchard’s photo of me and the Moon Rocks (below) was mysteriously photo-shopped to make me look fat …
While I salivate at the memory of top notch Bakery goods from the mysteriously named Moon Rock café at world class dinosaur fossil museum Kronosaurus Korner … they’ve really got nothing to do with the rest of this post Just put it down to Moon Rocks in my head …
Richmond residents clearly come by THEIR Moon-Rocks-on-the-brain obsession honestly because it’s here, during the biennial Richmond Fossil Festival that the World Champion Moon Rock-throwing competition is held!
SO … if you’ve got the $AUD5.00 entry fee, and can throw a 23 kg (50 lb) Moon Rock more than 5.04 metres, you just MIGHT topple 2011 World Champ David Ievers in May 2012 and grab yourself a world championship title!!
Me, I think I’ll take my chances with the pearls …
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* Forgive me the indulgence of this gratuitous history lesson – Although Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and his wife, Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen were Queensland’s first couple 1968-87, these controversial and colourful figures were well known throughout Australia. He for his policies that allowed controversial development unsullied by such considerations as standard approval processes, and allegations of corruption; she for the fabulous pumpkin scones for which she will always be remembered despite later becoming a senator in her own right.