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What is the Dinosaur Coast?

The oldest dinosaur footprints in Australia

Discover why the 130 million year old dinosaur trackways found in the Broome Sandstone are culturally and scientifically important.

The Dinosaur Coast

The Dinosaur Coast includes over 100kms of coastline of the Dampier Peninsula from Roebuck Bay (Crab Creek, just south of Broome), around the township of Broome and north to Minarrinay (Coulomb Point).

The Broome Sandstone preserves the oldest dinosaur footprints in Australia.
Map showing the location of the Dinosaur Coast along the coastline of the Dampier Peninsula
Map showing the location of the Dinosaur Coast along the coastline of the Dampier Peninsula
The West Kimberley Heritage Place protects the Broome Sandstone, the major landform in the Dinosaur Coast because it provides a ‘snapshot’ of Australia’s dinosaurian fauna during the first half of the Lower Cretaceous (130 million years ago). A Dinosaur Coast National Heritage Management Plan sets out how this is to happen on the beaches around Broome.

West Kimberley National Heritage Place Map

Image Credit: Environment Research and Information Branch – Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

In addition to thousands of dinosaur footprints (tracks) of more than 20 different types of dinosaurs, the Broome Sandstone bears ichnofossils of other classes of animals, invertebrates and plants, as well as ancient geological formations.

West Kimberley National Heritage Place Map

Credit: Photo Steve Salisbury.

360º Panoramas

Do you want to see what the Dinosaur Coast may have been like 130 million years ago? Check out our 360º Panoramas!

Sauropod tracks on the Dinosaur Coast Broome

Image Credit: Damian Kelly

Dinosaur Coast National Heritage Management Plan

The Dinosaur Coast National Heritage Management Plan brings land managers, custodians and organisations together to support the protection and education of the National Heritage Values (.pdf download) so future generations can “walk with dinosaurs’.

This first ever management plan focuses on approximately 50kms of the coastline around Broome from Crab Creek along the shore of Roebuck Bay, around Town Beach to Entrance Point, northwest along Reddell Beach to Gantheaume Point then north along Cable Beach and terminating on the southern shore of Willie Creek.

The song-cycle that includes stories of Marala extends along the length of the Dinosaur Coast from Bunginygun (Swan Point, Cape Leveque) to Wabane (Cape Bossut, near La Grange) and then inland to the south east, over a distance of approximately 450kms.

Songlines trace the paths of ancestral beings as they journeyed across the country, ‘singing’ the land into existence and conferring traditional law.

The three-toed dinosaur tracks trace the journey of a Bugarrigarra (Dreamtime) creator-being called Marala, also known as ‘Emu man’.

These tracks are assigned to Megalosauropus broomensis. There are also fossilised cycad-like impressions that are associated with markings left by Marala’s tail feathers where he rested.

Paddy Roe points to Yinara, the tallest of the stone pillars representing the Ngadjayi (spirit women of the sea)

Image Credit: Photo courtesy and copyright Kim Akerman

Image Credit: Artwork courtesy and copyright Jo Manjun

Scientifically important

Australia’s only dinosaur fauna during 140 and 127 million years.

The Dinosaur Coast forms the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half of the continent and provides the only glimpse of Australia’s dinosaur fauna during the first part of the Lower Cretaceous Epoch of the Mesozoic Period 140 to 127 million years ago.

Further reading

Read the research published in 2017 by The University of Queensland’s School of Biological Science and James Cook University’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.