There was a computer based interactive map centre where you could access a timeline with select active years. You could call up the year you were interested in, see the map of the time (which were highly variable from pre 1616 through to current day). In another window, you had access to a series of clips on a variety of topics – aboriginal history, natural history, history of industries in the area, interviews with knowledge experts, wildlife topics and more. We monopolized these two centres for quite some time – lucky the place wasn’t too busy!!
Two other media centres were set at opposite ends of the museum where videos were constantly running – each one 1 ½ hours in length about consisting of short interviews on a very wide variety of topics. There was an interview with the aboriginal woman who had donated her shell collection to the museum – it was a very impressive collection which she had collected as a young girl and her grandmother had saved it for her to pass on to her children. She spoke of life as a young girl living near Shell Beach – her daily chores, trips into the outback with the grandparents, how she acquired the knowledge of her ancestors.
There were many such clips; all very interesting. They included:
· a couple who run Dirk Hartog Island. His family has run a sheep farm for several generations and he and his family continue to raise sheep, but also run a tourist centre for 14 people. They have occasional long term visitors – including 2 Canadian girls who (with permission) camped at one end of the island for 4 months studying a species of bird
· experts on dolphins – the history of how the Monkey Mia dolphins came to being such regular visitors.
· archaeologists studying the camps of the Zuytdorp survivors and how they first found the settled area, and the excavation of the site. This link also contains lots of interesting info on the shipwreck.
· studies of shipwrecks and the history of their finds – especially the Zuytdorp which was carrying a very rich silver cargo (much of which has been pillaged).
· marine biologists who spoke of the diversity of the area. This area is the southern most point for warm water fish, and the northern most waters for cold water fishes. As a result the biodiversity is extensive.
· how water is collected – aboriginals used to expand on the kangaroo scratches. The kangaroos would scratch an area where fresh water existed – the salt water would seep in also, but the fresh water floats on top. So they just siphoned off the top water. This same method was expanded on by the ranchers for their sheep and cattle. A windmill was connected (lots of wind here!) with a float and the fresh water was siphoned off for the animals. As wild goats became more plentiful, they would destroy the kangaroo scratches with their hooves (kangaroo have soft paws). In addition, the water stations for the sheep were then used by the wild roos and they stopped making scratches. Eden project has eliminated the ranches in the park, and kangaroo scratches are reappearing.
· Eden project (several clips) – the introduction of the fence across the peninsula has allowed the elimination of many of the foreign species. Foxes are mostly gone, rabbits also. Feral cats have been harder to eliminate since they only eat fresh meat (baits won’t work). Goats are also being eliminated. This has allowed several native endangered species to be reintroduced – with varying success (Cats still eliminated a couple of species)
· The waters of the area – hypersaline in the deepest areas, supersaline in the mid section which results in the cyanobacteria ability to survive to create the stromatolites and Shell beach existing.
There were also many other displays of shells, artifacts and more. We had a grand old time.