Sprouting in the most unlikely locations, fungi thrive across the Australian continent, pushing through dry desert soils and lush rainforest floors. The ‘fruit-body’ that you see growing up through the ground is but a fraction of the organism — as little as two per cent — and it’s only there for a short time. Here is a sample of some of our most common fungi, many of which you’re likely to encounter in your own backyard. Text by Erin Frick.
Lightning Ridge has the greatest number and diversity of opalised fossils in Australia. It is one of the most productive and scientifically significant fossil sites in the country, and the only major site in NSW with dinosaurs. Three Australian dinosaur species have been described from Lightning Ridge material, but there are many more dinosaur specimens in the AOC collection that have not yet been studied or named. Other fossils include: turtles, crocodiles, fish, birds, early mammals, mussels, snails, giant marine reptiles, pine cones, plant stems and seeds. The Australian Opal Centre has 4000 or more fossils in its collection, worth an estimated $3 million, but with Jenni and Elizabeth the only palaeontologists on site, much of it has yet to be studied.
The significance of stamp art often goes under appreciated. Compacted into small, square dimensions, featured illustrations offer a slice of Australian history. We’ve been using postal stamps as early as 1812 and since this time we’ve communicated our landmarks, our icons and treasured moments in our history. However nothing communicates the beauty, rich and rare of the country quite like our native flora. Here, we look back on the intricate botanical illustrations that have adorned Australian stamps over the decades.