The Dinosaur Track way on the Dampier Peninsula, James Price Point and the proposed gas plant   Dr Steve Salisbury, a palaeontologist from The University of Queensland,  says the coastline including the site of the proposed gas plant is “one of the most diverse dinosaur footprint assemblages anywhere in the world.”   The 130 million year old prints are found in Broome Sandstone along the rocky coastline from South of Broome to the end of the Damper peninsula, including at James Price Point. This coincides with the Traditional Aboriginal Songline that follows this coast. The knowledge of this songcycle was shared with the world by the late Paddy Roe via the establishment of the The Lurujarri heritage trail – a way of sharing the ancient culture with both Indigenous and non-indigenous people.  This open cultural sharing in a true spirit of reconciliation was groundbreaking. His work for the community over many decades was recognised in 1990 when the Governor-General awarded him the Order of Australia Medal.  

Dinosaur print in sandstone near James Price Point. Picture: Nigel Clarke

Dr Steve Salisbury:  “To industrialise this coastline would definitely impact on the national heritage value of the dinosaur prints – some will be destroyed, and others placed at risk from vandalism or theft. I don’t think we can afford to let that happen.”   Heritage in the Kimberley
The Kimberley is world renowned as one of the last great Wilderness areas in the world. The world’s least impacted tropical coastlines and a last refuge for an amazing range of habitats and species. The cultural values are intact and unique and this area is a geologists and paleontologists heaven. The landscapes are timeless and world famous.
Prompted by the unprecedented level of interest in the industrial resources of the Kimberley, the parallel processes of assessing the values of the Kimberley and the assessment of the Kimberley coast for a massive gas processing industrial complex were begun years ago.   The WA Government as proponent and the Browse Joint venture (JV) leaders Woodside are pushing to build a massive gas processing plant at James Price Point just North of Broome. This development represents a ‘thin edge of the wedge’ for the broader industrialisation of the Kimberley and even some of the JV partners  (Shell, Chevron, BP BHP) have expressed reservations – pointing out the economically, environmentally and culturally preferable alternative options for Browse gas processing.   The Australian Heritage council has made it’s assessment of the heritage values of the Kimberley.  After years, and multiple delays in schedule  the new Environment Minister Tony Burke has announced his decision on listing for the Kimberley.   More information: Save The Kimberley update August 31 2011. Kimberley national heritage listing announcement Save The Kimberley update May 16 2011. The dinosaur footprints of the Kimberley coast – a call to protect our heritage and stop the James Price Point gas hub – Resources and a call from respected scientist to protect the James Price Point and Dampier peninsula dinosaur tracks.   indicative map of heritage council recommendations


The Australian – August 27, 2011 Dinosaur tracks fuel opposition to $35bn gas project near Broome PerthNow – August 09, 2011 Dinosaur prints and bilby haunts in the Kimberley used to oppose gas hub The Australian,  August 06, 2011 Broome fears future as the next Dubai “An 80-kilometre “dinosaur trackway” in the Kimberley region of Western Australia is a scientific treasure, unparalleled anywhere else in the world.”   A question of balance – Time will tell – text and audio interview. Dr Steve Salisbury, from The University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences, uncovers some remarkable fossils in The Kimberley, those of countless dinosaur footprints and trackways over a 200 kilometre stretch of coastal sandstone.

Quotes: Potential National Heritage values of the proposed West Kimberley National Heritage place, as recommended by the Australian Heritage Council:

“The dinosaur tracks of the Dampier Coast have outstanding heritage value to the nation …  for providing a rare, if not unique, documented coincidence of scientific interpretation of ancient dinosaur tracks with Indigenous tradition.” “The dinosaur tracks and associated ichnofossils, plant macrofossils and Cretaceous depositional environments of the Broome Sandstone exposed in the intertidal zone of the Dampier Coast have outstanding heritage value to the nation…  for preserving snapshots of the ecology of the Mesozoic.