Our Minerama Experience

March can sometimes be a little quieter for UNE Discovery, but there’s one event always stands out – the Glen Innes Minerama! For a whole three days every year (pandemic permitting) hundreds of people gather on the Glen Innes showgrounds for the annual rock, gem, and craft show. UNE Discovery is privileged to be invited along to provide some expert assistance in the rock, mineral, and fossil ID department.

This year Discovery’s Kieran Meaney led the charge of geoscientists and palaeontologists as we ran our “Ask an Expert” stall. Alternating between geology and palaeontology every hour, we were kept busy all day with curious questions from young and old alike. We took along some of the prettiest (or scariest) teaching specimens to show off and spark a little wonder. The foot of an allosaurus caught most of the attention, but our floating rocks -pumice and scoria- were the rocky stars of the show.

For the first time at Minerama, we also took along Discovery’s geoscience activity: Think Like A Rock! This collection of landscape puzzles brought some hands-on joy to many of the younger passers-by or those who didn’t have a challenging question for our expert in residence. The bright colours to indicate different rock types were certainly very eye catching. Each of the models show the landscape of a real place located between Armidale and Dorrigo, which was home to some of our visitors and it provided a great opportunity to learn about the earth beneath their feet.

Our ask an expert stall would not have been possible without the generous help of our experts so we extend a big thank you to Luke Milan, Tim Chapman, Tim Frauenfelder, Olivia Devereaux, Nathan Enriquez, Marissa Betts, Nic Campione, and an extra big thankyou to Steph Richter-Stretton who stayed on to play rocks with us all day.

For Earth-nerds like us, Minerama is a bit like Christmas, with so many cool crystals, fossils, and spectacular rocks to see and buy. It’s always a pleasure to visit, and we hope to do so again in future years.