Western Australian Naturalists Club

Encouraging the study and protection of the natural environment

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Fossil Plants of the Darling Range, with Professor Ken McNamara – at the DRB

8 March, 7:15 pm-9:30 pm

Speaker: Professor Ken McNamara on Friday 8th March.

Formerly Senior Curator of Palaeontology and Head of Earth & Planetary Sciences at the WA Museum for 30 years, Ken has spent the last 10 years as a lecturer at the University of Cambridge in the UK, where he was also Director of the world’s oldest geological museum, the Sedgwick Museum. He returned to WA last year and is now an Adjunct Professor at UWA. He has published about 150 scientific articles on fossils, rocks and evolution and published about 15 books. His latest book, Dragons’ Teeth and Thunderstones will tell the story of humans’ fascination with fossils for the last half a million years. He is the person attributed with discovering a banksia fossil fruit in the Kennedy Ranges in WA. The fruit (see picture) has some follicles missing, presumed to have been chomped by cockatoos or a cockatoo-like bird.
He will bring fossils to pass around and is used to talking to and inspiring both children and adults, scientists and amateurs.
Talk: Fossil Plants of the Darling Range
“Although much of the rocks of the Darling Range are extremely old and formed before plants evolved, there are a number of rather unusual fossil plant sites on the range that tell the story of the evolution of the flora of the south-west over the last 40 million years. In the talk I will describe the different types of rocks that have preserved the fossil plants and explain what they tell us about environmental conditions at the time. I will show the wide variety of fossil leaves, fruits and even a possible flower that have been preserved and explain what they tell us about changing climate conditions over the last 40 million years. As well as a cornucopia of photos I will have some specimens of fossil plants available for people to see.”
If you’d like to read of some of his recent research, here is a sample concerning the discovery of a 275 million-year-old starfish fossil in Western Australia: http://www.news.uwa.edu.au/2018051810623/research/fossil-discovery-paints-new-picture-history-our-ocean
Target audience: Ideal for both children and adults. Bring the whole family – our members range in age from 6yrs – 90yrs are all welcome, we are an energetic, enthusiastic and inter-generational club. Children need to be aged 6 yrs or above.
    1. Kids’ talk – One of our younger members, Charles Porter (aged 11), will be giving the 5 minutes kids’ talk on “The nesting habits of Rainbow Bee-eaters”. This will be Charles first talk; he is a studious bird watcher.
    2. Apps for Nats: One of our young adult members, Kendra Campbell, will be presenting an App “Xmas Beetle ID Guide”
    3. Monthly nature competition for children. When a child (under 16) comes along to a meeting they are invited to bring a drawing, craft work, story, study or video on the topic to the next meeting. Small prizes are given each month. Thus, any child who was at our February talk on Bats can enter the competition this month.
    4. Raffle: We are raising money for our DRB elders strategy and will have a raffle – please bring all your spare change! Some of our raffle prizes feature fossils. We have the following three key prizes. Bill Fitzgerald is donating a fossil plus a description by Professor McNamara explaining what it is. It is millions of years old. Kay Greenacre and her son Noah are donating an original art work, drawn especially for this raffle. It is a Trilobite: Ellipsocephalus hoffi,from Jince – Vystrokov, Czech Republic. Noah is in the special art program at John Curtin College of the Arts. Lynda Tomlinson, from the Darling Range Branch of the WA Wildflower Society is donating a tree: Agonis flexuosa (Peppermint tree). It is in a pot!
Time: Please come early at 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start as it will be a very popular night and we start promptly. We are open from 7pm. We finish formal proceedings at 9.30pm. Doors are open at 7pm.
Venue: “Home of the DRB”, Jorgensen Park Pavilion, Crescent Road, off Mundaring Weir Road, Kalamunda, Western Australia.
Level: This will be suitable for anyone: scientists to amateurs, children from aged 6 upwards to elderly adults! … Bring the whole family – aged 6yrs onwards.
Donation: We invite a donation of $3 per person for adult members ($0 for child members), and $5 per adult visitor and $1 per visiting child. Includes tea and coffee and home-made cake and biscuits (including gluten free). Please bring the right cash to help us avoid long queues. Thanks. EFTPOS is not available.
Door prizes: You could also be the lucky winner of a door prize. We make sure there are prizes for both members and visitors.
Bookings: Bookings are not required. Come early to get a seat at the front though.


8 March
7:15 pm-9:30 pm
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Jorgensen Park Pavilion…
Jorgensen Park Pavilion, end of Crescent Rd, Off Mundaring Weir Road,
Kalamunda, WA 6076 Australia
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