In 1955 Canowindra became world news after a chance discovery by a roadworker of a 360 million year old fossil find - a time before humans, before dinosaurs. 
The Age of Fishes Museum displays fossils of these ancient fishes preserved in stone for all of us to see - one of the world's great fossil discoveries - "The Great Canowindra Devonian Fish Fossils"
The Devonian period is some 410-360 million years ago, when the placoderms, giant, shark-like, armored fishes, ruled the oceans.
No further fossils were recovered until 1993.
A trial dig on the site rediscovered the sedimentary deposit that exhibited extraordinary fossil richness with the mass mortality of fishes  preserved in detail.
Over a period of time 70 plus tonnes of fossil slabs were revealed and the the site became a palaeontological site of world significance.
The original slab, one of the most remarkable fossil discoveries ever made in Australia, was removed to Sydney, where it has been on display in the Australian Museum.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click any image below to view the large image gallery slideshow.
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"The Canowindra grossi"
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Age of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, Central West NSWThe Canowindra Story - Age of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, Central West NSWAge of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, Central West NSWDevonian (400-360 million years ago), the placoderms, giant, shark-like, armored fishes.Age of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, Central West NSWAge of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, Central West NSWAge of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, Central West NSWCanowindra grossi - Age of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, Central West NSWAge of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, Central West NSWAge of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, Central West NSW
The museum displays include -
The vacant Canowindra Court House was used as a temporary Museum to house and display the collection whilst funding and construction was organised for a dedicated museum.

The 'Age of Fishes' Museum was completed in stages - Stage one, the initial construction was completed in 1998 with the completion of the exibition area in 2000 and the Stage two extension to the initial building completed in 2001.
Long term plans are in place for further expansion and extended exhibitions.
The Museum is run by three employed staff and over two dozen dedicated volunteers who assist.
Five types of sarcopterygian fishes have been found at Canowindra, four of which have been named -
The Canowindra site has now been listed as part of Australia's National Heritage because of its international scientific importance.
  • A three-dimensional model shows the steps in the fossilisation process.
  • Fossils you can touch - where you are free to feel the sandstone surfaces of fossil slabs.
  • Fish tanks displaying fish of today that are similar in appearance to the ancient fishes.
  • An interactive animation demonstrating how much change there has been in the past 360 million years.
  • A Comparison display between ancient fishes and modern fishes.
  • Another three-dimensional life-size model showing fossil fish in an underwater environment.
  • Canowindra grossi - Small carnivorous lobe-finned fish
  • Gooloogongia loomesi - Large carnivorous lobe-finned fish
  • Mandageria fairfaxi - Large carnivorous lobe-finned fish
  • Cabonnichthys burnsi - Medium sized carnivorous lobe-finned fish
The last is a small, long-snouted lungfish (dipnoan), known only from two incomplete specimens.
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For more detailed information about the Age of Fishes Museum -  the fossil discovery - Devonian period - Educational programs and tours and current News and Events please visit the website by following the link below -
The Age of Fishes Museum - Gaskill Street, Canowindra
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