Slow progress on reopening Mount Morgan Fireclay Caverns
WORK is continuing in the background in a bid to re-open the Mount Morgan Fireclay Caverns as a tourist attraction.
The Morning Bulletin first announced the project to the public in December 2018 and since then, Rockhampton Regional Council has undertaken an extensive amount of paperwork and assessments.
The main issue at the moment was the site was under a native title and has never been freeholded before.
The project was discussed in closed session at this week's council meeting.
The Morning Bulletin has been told the closed session was on the native title.
Council will now take the native title to the independent umpire to get it cancelled.
"If successful this will allow us to complete the purchase of the Fireclay Caverns with a view to developing a world class tourism asset," Mayor Margaret Strelow said.
"We do this with a heavy heart recognising that we have built up considerable goodwill with the Gaangalu Nation People and that we are currently working collaboratively on the number of other projects."
Cr Strelow said the project was stalled as they wait for the land tenure to be resolved.
"We have sought to separate out this project to allow us to hopefully reach a conclusion within 12 months," she said.
The Fireclay Caverns was closed in 2011 due to safety issues.
Council has engaged a risk assessment which was carried out in April.
It was revealed there were a number of viable options for the caverns to reopen.
It was last reported $29,925 had been spent on the project by council to date.
Prior to the caverns closing, Mt Morgan had around 8000 visitors a year and it was reported after they closed, the numbers dropped to less than half.
The caverns were not a cave, but a mine, and were first extracted between 1886 and 1927 to clay to supply local brick production.
The unique rooftop markings were discovered during the gold rush in 1952, after miners excavated a hill which was once a Jurassic lake.
A surveying crew were having lunch when they noticed 50 oversized emu-like footprints.
Hundreds of the dinosaur imprints were found spread across the cavern ceiling.
The impressions were mostly of three-toed, bipedal dinosaurs, possibly Theropods.
The prints were authenticated by palaeontologists in 1954.
Mount Morgan has been receiving a swag of attention lately as council carried out their Advance Mount Morgan strategy, adopted in November 2019.
Mountain bike trials were under construction around the No. 7 Dam.
The 25km trail network included five tracks of various difficulties.
Other plans in the Advancing Mount Morgan strategy include an adventure park for 4WDs, trail bikes and speed boats, reopening the Fireclay Caverns, a hire business with kayaks, canoes and fishing, a fossicking tourism business to offer gold panning and fossicking, a fish rehabilitation program, a jetty for fishing and collection of CQ dinosaur sculptures and fossils at the historical museum.