Koonwarra, Victoria

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Koonwarra is located in South Gippsland Shire
Location in South Gippsland Shire
Coordinates 38°32′50″S 145°56′49″E / 38.54722°S 145.94694°E / -38.54722; 145.94694Coordinates: 38°32′50″S 145°56′49″E / 38.54722°S 145.94694°E / -38.54722; 145.94694
Population 385 (2011 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 3954
LGA(s) South Gippsland Shire
State electorate(s) Gippsland South
Federal Division(s) McMillan

Koonwarra is a town in the South Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. At the 2011 census, Koonwarra had a population of 385.[1] The town straddles the South Gippsland Highway.[2] Located around 128 km southeast of Melbourne, the town was served by rail from the 1890s until 1991 with the closing of the rail line to Barry Beach.[3]

Koonwarra fossil bed[edit]

The Koonwarra fossil bed was found by accident in 1961 during roadworks to realign a segment of the South Gippsland Highway. Dating from the early Cretaceous 115 million years ago, they are composed of mudstone sediment thought to have been laid down in a freshwater (possibly cool-climate subalpine) lake.The site is an important element of Australia's fossil record, with plants, insects (including mayflies, dragonflies, cockroaches, beetles, fleas, flies and wasps), spiders, crustaceans and fish recovered.[4] Among them is the unusual finding of a fossil horseshoe crab described as Victalimulus mcqueeni.[5] Small segments of a leafy twig have been recovered that were thought to be one of the oldest angiosperms (flowering plants) discovered; more recent examination reports anatomy more typical of a gnetophyte, a group of organisms for which there is a scant fossil record.[6] A fossil member of the Ginkgo family, Ginkgoites australis, has also been recovered.[7]

Six well-preserved feathers have been recovered, indicating more complete remains of feathered dinosaurs might be found, however the site has been little-excavated, extensive removal of overlying rock has to take place before further excavation.[8]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Koonwarra (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 1 December 2014.  Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Wheeler, Donna (2008). Discover Melbourne & Victoria. Lonely Planet. p. 278. ISBN 9781741048629. 
  3. ^ Prom Country Regional Tourism Inc. (2012). "Koonwarra". Visit Prom Country. South Gippsland Shire Council. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Koonwarra fossil bed". Treasures: Museum Victoria Celebrates 150 Years. Museum Victoria. 2004. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Riek, E.F.; Gill, E.D. (1971). "A new xiphosuran genus from Lower Cretaceous freshwater sediments at Koonwarra, Victoria, Australia" (PDF). Palaeontology. 14 (2): 206–10. 
  6. ^ V.A. Krassilov; D.L. Dilcher; J.G. Douglas (1998). "New ephedroid plant from the Lower Cretaceous Koonwarra Fossil Bed, Victoria, Australia" (PDF). Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology. 22 (2): 123–33. doi:10.1080/03115519808619195. 
  7. ^ Jones, Robert (16 July 2009). "Fossil: Ginkgo Tree: Ginkgoites australis". Nature Culture Discover. Australian Museum. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  8. ^ Piper, Kylie (11 November 2010). "Discovering the dinosaurs Down Under". Australian Geographic. ninemsn. Retrieved 22 November 2014.