Lake Macquarie History

Kurra Kurrin Petrified Forest

The Kurra Kurrin petrified forest is a site located in Fennell Bay, Blackalls Park, New South Wales. The location is well defined, situated in a bay at the north-west extremity of Lake Macquarie.

The site holds high cultural significance to the traditional custodians of the area. According to mythology, recorded by Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld in the 1830s, this was a place where people were turned to stone for wrongdoings. The associated community resource (see Related Media on the right-hand side of this page) outlines the project to return the Kurra Kurrin Petrified Forest artifacts to their original place.

The site is also geologically significant due to the fossilization of an ancient pine forest from the fallout of volcanic ash 250 million years ago. The following extract is taken from Percival (1985): The remains of the fossil forest commence on the foreshores of Fennell Bay and extend eastwards into the lake for approximately 150m. Access is gained from Narara Street. When Reverend Clark observed the forest, he estimated that the petrified forest contained at least 500 trees. Many attained a height between 0.6 and 1.2 metres, whilst one stump in the lake stood in excess of 1.2m above the surface of the water. This specimen had a diameter of 1.5-1.9m but most stumps were between 0.3 and .05m across. Most bore distinct growth rings. Occasionally, bark was preserved around the woody stump. The Fennell Bay fossil forest was the first site of geological significance to be accorded official recognition and protection in New South Wales, being gazetted on September 17, 1904 as a public reserve for the protection of fossil trees, with Lake Macquarie Council as trustee.

Reference

Percival, I.G. (1985). The geological heritage of New South Wales (Vol.1). Sydney, N.S.W.: N.S.W National Parks and Wildlife Service