I have managed to find out a bit more about , thanks to my own enquiries and the assistance of some Dubbo locals. It seems the Dubbo Military Museum had some science-based attractions, and among them was a “Jurassic-themed maze“, relocated from Darling Harbour. The Museum’s collection of vehicles and memorabilia – all belonging to private funder, Barry Ryan – was offered for auction in 2006, and the museum then reportedly closed. The web site is very out of date and my inquiring emails bounced back from dead email addresses.
Presumably the Pterodactyl was part of the “Jurassic” maze, but mysteries still remain. Why is it still there, all alone, in the field? Why isn’t it signposted? And what happened to the rest of the dinosaurs – and the maze itself?
If you want to find the Big Pterodactyl for yourself, modern technology makes it easy. The recently launched Google Street View includes pictures of the Newell highway, so you can see the Pterodactyl and find it on the map.
If you’ve found any odd science-related bits and pieces on your travels around Australia, let me know!
There are times when you’re struck with something so bizarre that nothing makes sense; reason is turned upside down and wonder and confusion take the reigns of your destiny. So it was when, on the way back from Dubbo with my beloved, I spotted this statue of a pterosaur in a field.
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There was no sign proclaiming Dubbo to be the home of “the Big Pterodactyl” (which would no doubt be its name if it had one, though like most popular representations of pterosaurs, this one has the classic Pteranadon head crest), nor were there any other nearby monsters. There was just this guy, who more resembles Rodan (the Godzilla monster, not the much smaller Port Adelaide footballer) than any actual prehistoric flying reptile.
There’s something very charming about this statue – it’s very old school, almost Crystal Palace-like in its chunky, heavy design – but at the same time it seems somehow…sinister. So far I’ve not been able to find any information about its origins or fate. Was there once a dinosaur park in Dubbo? Was there a tourist attraction here? Perhaps its the last remnants of some obscure cult, and obscene sacrifices were made in its name?
This might not be science, but there are few things the Man in the Lab Coat enjoys more than finding answers. I’ll let you know how I get on!