Once a sea, now a small Outback town
It is hard to believe that the small outback town of Richmond in Queensland was once a part of Australia’s vast Inland Sea. Apart from Lake Fred Tritton, there isn’t much water to be found and certainly no great inland bodies of water. It is when you dig below the surface that you discover some of the treasures Richmond has to show.
Situated on the Overlander’s Way halfway between Townsville and Mount Isa, the town is located on the bank of Queensland’s longest river, the Flinders. Richmond’s wide main street (Goldring Street) is enhanced by its median strip gardens of bougainvilleas, native trees and shrubs.
A part of the Dinosaur Trail that takes in neighbouring Winton and Hughenden, Richmond is best known for its marine fossil discoveries. However, dig a little deeper into this town and you will unearth a lot more than dinosaur bones.
A wander through Kronosaurus Korner with its fossil finds will transport you back to the time of the cretaceous-era inland sea, which existed from about 97.5 to 120 million years ago. It was a time when half of Australia was underwater and carnivorous creatures dominated life below the surface. Take a self-paced tour through the award-winning major attraction that is the only museum in Australia primarily dedicated to displaying marine reptiles. Here you will find Minmi, who is considered to be Australia’s best-preserved dinosaur skeleton. The collection in Kronosaurus Korner includes other iconic finds like the skeleton of a 100-million-year-old Pliosaur discovered in 1989; the famous Kronosaurus queenslandicus discovered at Army Downs north of Richmond in 1929 and the Richmond Pliosaur (known as Iever’s crocodile), measuring 4.25 metres, with a long slender snout and interlocking teeth.
Fossick for bones
After ‘fossil fever’ kicks in visiting Kronosaurus Korner, you can head out and do some fossicking for bones and fossils yourself. Pick up a permit for a small cost at the Kronosaurus Korner reception and a map to guide you through the region’s designated fossicking sites. Then arm yourself with some digging equipment, a hat and plenty of water and head out to fossick. The fossicking sites are located around 12 kilometres out of town and are accessible to all vehicles via fully sealed roads. Finds have included everything from fossilised fish, squid, shark teeth to bivalve or giant marine reptiles.
Step back in time
If history is more your scene, step back in time on a stroll along the ‘Heritage Walk’ to see some of Richmond’s historic buildings. It offers a glimpse into yesteryear as you learn of the pioneers that shaped this country at the Pioneer Cemetery, relax in the Lions Park, visit the Cambridge Ruins and walk along the Flinders River. The walk takes you five blocks along Goldring Street and identifies 21 historic places of interest. Some sights are still intact while others are little more than memories. It starts just beyond the Lions Park and continues past the Cambridge Downs ruins to the Yong Gee Store and then back up the main street to Dead Man Island.
Cool off at the lake
Lake Fred Tritton is a perfect spot for the whole family. Located on the eastern entry to the town, the lake is a welcomed sight from the sparse plains of the Overlander’s Way. A scenic spot to cool off, the lake is a playground for canoeing, water skiing, sailing and swimming. It is full of barramundi and other species of fish, so dropping a line in should be fruitful. Enjoy a picnic by the water edge or utilise the free bbq’s and enjoy a picturesque outback sunset.
Moon Rocks Monument
At the southern end of Goldring Street is Lions Park and a rather unique monument made of different shaped limestone rocks positioned on top of each other. The rocks are a local wonder known as ‘moon rocks’ which can weigh many tonnes and which often have fossilised remnants of fish and shells inside. More than just a strange display to photograph, the monument marks the bitumen sealing of the Flinders Highway in 1976.
Cambridge Downs Heritage Display Centre
Also located in Goldring Street, the Cambridge Downs Heritage Display Centre is a local flagstone replica of the Cambridge Downs Homestead which was built in the 1880s. Open from 9.00 am – 4.00 pm daily, it is an ideal place to learn about the history of the area over the past 150 years through an interesting collection of artefacts and records.
Stay at Richmond Lakeview Caravan Park
A stay at the Richmond Lakeview Caravan Park comes with a ‘million dollar view’. This friendly outback park overlooks Lake Fred Tritton and caters for tourists travelling the Overlanders Way. They have a range of accommodation to suit all budgets, including powered sites, powered grass campsites, unpowered camp areas, bunkhouse rooms with a communal shower and toilet and separate kitchen, self-contained ensuite cabins and villas big enough for the whole family. Pets are allowed in caravan and camping sites (conditions do apply). It is the perfect place to base yourself to explore the Richmond area.
How to visit Richmond?
If you want to visit Richmond in Queensland, Rex airlines fly there on their Northern 2 line (green).
See the map below and click here to book your flights;
If you enjoyed this story on Richmond in Outback Queensland, click here for more amazing spots in the heart of the sunshine state.