Media Release, 17 July 2019

Time to shake off the lazy bones, put on your sneakers and celebrate the fossils at the Naracoorte World Heritage Festival and World Heritage Run. The township of Naracoorte and the Naracoorte Caves will come alive on Sunday 24 November 2019.

In 1857, guided by the flickering light of a candle deep in a cave at Naracoorte, Reverend Julian Tenison-Woods stumbled across thousands of tiny bones of rodents and small marsupials buried at the base of crystal columns.  Without knowing it, Woods had found a time machine of sorts – a record of biodiversity and environment spanning more than half a million years.

Fast forward to fifty years ago and one of the world’s 10 greatest fossil sites was discovered at the Naracoorte Caves when Professor Rod Wells and Grant Gartrell discovered the palaeontological equivalent of King Tutankhamen’s tomb.  Twenty five years later the significance of the fossils at the Naracoorte Caves was recognised on the World stage when the Naracoorte Caves were inscribed on the World Heritage list. 

To celebrate these two unique anniversaries of the Naracoorte Caves the Naracoorte World Heritage Festival and World Heritage Run will feature cultural and social activities that leverage the Caves World Heritage values and its scientific and global significance.  Participants will be able to indulge in regional food and wine after taking part in the run (or not), and enjoy the many social and cultural activities on offer.  

The World Heritage listed Naracoorte Caves are globally significant and provide a unique window into biodiversity and climate. 

The World Heritage listing recognises the diversity and the quality of preservation of its fossils and the scientific value of the fossil deposits.  The fossils found at the Naracoorte Caves allow you to step back in time, giving an insight into 500,000 years of history and a fascinating insight into Australia’s prehistoric past.  

Palaeontologists work to reveal the secrets of the caves by excavating fossils revealing the earth’s evolutionary history and telling the story of Australian’ mammals.  The Caves have revealed fossil remains of 99 vertebrate species that roamed the area during the Ice Age.  Some of the species found in the Fossil Chamber are giant browsing kangaroos, large echidnas, a wombat the size of a hippopotamus and a marsupial lion.

The Festival and Run has received funding of $20,000 from the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, helping to drive economic growth and create stronger regional communities into the future.  The Naracoorte Lucindale Council and the Naracoorte Lucindale Business and Tourism Association are also contributing $15,400 and $5,000 respectively.  

The University of Adelaide, Naracoorte Lucindale Council and the Naracoorte Caves will also be supporting the Festival and Run with in kind contributions.  

Media Contacts 

Media spokespeople
Mayor Erika Vickery OAM 8760 1100
Trevor Smart, CEO 8760 1100

General media inquiries
Sally Klose
Manager Governance and Community Development
Phone 8760 1100