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Talk: Saving Cliefden Caves

Held at 8 pm at St Andrews Uniting Church, corner of Chisholm Street and Vernon Street, Turramurra. There's no need to book – just come along!

Ian is a paleontologist with the Geological Survey of NSW and his talk is entitled Dammed if you Do and Dammed if you Don’t: Saving Cliefden Caves and Fossil Hill from Submergence.

The Belubula River Valley, located between Orange and Cowra in central-western NSW, is a largely unspoiled rural region that has been modified for productive agricultural usage. Nearby Limestone Creek was the site of the first discovery of limestone in the colony of NSW in 1815. Within the limestone is developed a karst landscape with over 100 caves, of which about 20 form the main Cliefden Caves that have restricted entry. The limestone is of Late Ordovician age and contains some of the most spectacular and diverse fossil assemblages of that period known in Australia, with some exposures of global significance.

For more than 80 years there have been proposals to flood the valley at the Needles Gap, to store water as security in times of drought and to mitigate flooding occasionally affecting Canowindra. But these proposals would also submerge many of the caves and prevent access to the important fossil sites, as well as flooding valuable agricultural land.

So how do requirements for water storage and other uses stack up against preserving natural heritage? This talk will address some of the issues involved in the campaign by cavers and geologists to protect Cliefden Caves and Fossil Hill. This campaign was successful in dissuading the Government from constructing the dam, but not everyone was happy, especially local farmers.

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Event Properties

Event Date 25-02-2020 8:00 pm
Location St Andrews, cnr Vernon St and Chisholm St, Turramurra