The History of Jurassic Ark
In 1982, John Mackay, a founding director of Creation Science employed a young girl by the name of Leanne Holberton. She worked in the office and was a very faithful worker for the ministry. She met a young Lutheran supporter by the name of James Grieger, whose family had been heavily involved in supporting our creation work from almost day one. All the Grieger family continued as good friends and supporters of John Mackay after he had set up Creation Research in 1987, and Leanne continued her work for John. James and Leanne married and then in 1998, moved to a large property outside Gympie, brought from a previous generation of Griegers.
James and his cousin Selwyn put in dams to ensure a water supply in otherwise sandy rocks, when they encountered interesting fossils that looked like broken bits of trees. They told John about their findings, so John set about verifying what type of trees they were, and what sort of rocks they were in. John got the Grieger’s permission to bring school students and public groups to dig pieces of petrified wood as part of their field trips. This site would eventually become Jurassic Ark, and now ranks as one of the world’s best flood fossil logjams.
Here’s the details: After several years of just digging up bits of petrified wood we set out to find exactly which rocks the petrified logs came from. Not long after we began seriously searching, we noticed the logs were often located just in and above one particular gravel bed. Then came the big machinery – to excavate.
Soon many groups and individuals were helping us to dig and dig and expose more evidence.
Soon also came visits from forestry experts who confirmed the fossil trees were mostly Southern Pines (Araucaria). As these are the same fossils commonly found in the rocks of the Jura Mountains of Germany, it was no surprise that geologists classified them as “Jurassic”. Thus, the site was eventually named Jurassic Ark, as we want to use it to draw people to the Creator, Judge and Saviour who sent the Flood which buried logs en masse and provided an Ark to save trusting Noah and his family.
Not long after that, a local mine exploration geologist, Liam Fromyhr, became convinced of the Biblical outline of creation and Noah’s flood, and got fully involved. He expressed the same surprise as many have – we geologists didn’t even know these fossil logs were here.
That led to several more years of excavations with the help of many individuals and groups, who by 2009 had exposed a rather intriguing fossil bed of many, many trees. It is definitely not a petrified fossil forest – the fossil pine trees have no roots, branches or leaves. A catastrophic process had ripped up the trees somewhere else, washed them in mixed with large boulders, then dumped and buried them before they had much chance to rot. As they are softwoods, that was not a long time.
Liam Fromyhr and John Mackay have been able to plot the general flow direction of the bed, and Liam has analysed the source of the boulders found with them. Meanwhile, 10 years later, we still continue to look for any other fossils apart from the wood. The deposit is largely one life form only … trees.
But backtracking a little … by 2008 the concept of Jurassic Ark had really taken shape. We noticed when we took students there, it was fun at first to just dig up rocks, but we discovered it was more difficult for students to identify what they had found. Therefore, we planted a garden of living examples of all the fossil plants we have found in Jurassic rocks in the Gympie region, including the tree ferns we have discovered in limestone. This teaching garden has become known as the Living Fossil Garden. It also has cycads, palms, Araucaria pines and more. The students could then dig up the fossils and compare them with the present-day plants. In doing so they discover one very important thing – as Darwin confessed in his chapter on geology – the fossils are the worst part of his theory of evolution. There is not a single fossil at this site, or any other, that shows any evidence of evolving. They all show conformity to the Biblical pattern that God created plants to produce their own kind, and that this world has been destroyed with water.
To emphasise this point Garry and Karl erected some of the Jurassic tree fossils for instant comparison.
By 2011 we had gravel surfaced the roads, and erected display boards.
But when we found that most people didn’t know what the Bible said about the history of the world, and that included many of the church groups, we solved the problem by putting up beautiful murals illustrating the Biblical history of the world. Now we have a world-class 200m of Murals to identify the various stages of Biblical history, i.e. Creation, the Fall of Man, Noah’s Flood, the Tower of Babel, and the dispersion of people. Other murals also complement the living fossil gardens with examples of other living fossils such as the Coelacanth.
By then we had also planted more gardens to illustrate God’s handiwork in creation and judgement so visitors could now walk from Adam to Australia via the gardens of Jurassic Ark. They can see the basic truths of God’s genius of design, His skill at creating, and His power of destruction, along with the sad consequences of man’s rebellion or sin.
We are the only museum we know of that has a thorn garden to illustrate the coming of thorns, death, suffering and extinction, as the conditions of this world degenerate from created perfection for the present. Our thorny gardens show how plants can change without any evolution, and the edible gardens and Australian gardens illustrate real natural and unnatural selection occur without evolution.
It was all that and more, when in January 2011 it began to rain, and rain, and rain, all along the eastern seaboard of Australia. Floods, which at any one time covered an area 2/3 the size of Germany and France combined, moved down from the top of Australia and exited thousands of kilometres away through Tasmania.
Jurassic Ark got taken out on the way as the floods passed. On one day we had 400ml (16 inches) of rain in 4 hours. It was a very discouraging event, particularly when the fossil bed we had excavated was inundated as the major dam filled up and overflowed. This catastrophically messed up our exhibits, gardens and pathways.
We needed to start repairing from the entrance down. The new roads, new covers, new gardens, took many tens of thousands of dollars, and huge amounts of labour and we really only completed repairs by the end of 2016.
Come 2015 and we had new ‘After their Kind’ gardens to illustrate the wonderful variety of God’s creation and show how no evolution is involved.
2015 also saw the erection of sand pits for kids to learn basic excavation techniques to dig up fossil bones
The year also noted the coming of a world first erection of Stalactite machines to show that cave formations don’t take time they take a process and caves don’t need millions of years after all. People are fascinated by watching them grow.
These tites grow so rapidly we can show people it doesn’t take time, it takes the right process, and you don’t need millions of years to make limestone caves.
Within a year our young UK colleague Joseph Hubbard, had discovered fossil leaves inside a stalagmite growing under an almost 100 year old rail bridge in Essex. The leaves had to be entombed and fossilised rapidly. So we invented a fossil leaf maker to attempt to duplicate this very successfully.
With both machines we have dramatically shown that rocks and fossils do not take time to form – they form when the right processes happen.
By the end of 2015, the Jurassic Ark site was rapidly becoming a world class outdoor museum and education facility, which we augmented with a trailer full of fossils from the Creation Research collection. Schools are now coming for several days at a time, and we can have several groups every week. We employ a curator, Daryl Brenton, for three days a week, who not only looks after the gardening, watering, etc, but is often asked to guide individuals and small groups through the site.
By 2016 we discovered that most ‘Biblical Gardens’ around the globe only deal with the plants of Israel or the Middle East. Since we deal with plants from Creation through the fall, past the Flood and Babel, down to Australia, we can objectively state we have the world’s only truly Biblical Gardens, set in a world class exposé on the Bible from the beginning to the end.
During 2016 we also began to develop Dinosaur Cove, with dinosaur footprint tracks and casts of dinosaur fossils and a massive flood drowned Chinese dinosaur Guanlong wucaii which is Chinese for crested dragon of 5 colours. The Chinese still call dinosaurs dragons just like the English and many other cultures did until it became politically incorrect due to evolution.
During 2018 we added some magnificent new Dino Displays that kids (big and little) love.
That area also now sports a magnificent Orchids by Design display, showing God’s brilliant design, as well as His love of beauty.
2018 arrived and we have devised new techniques for finding buried logs and protecting exposed ones, so we are reinvigorating our fossil excavation. An engineering colleague, Murray Ritter, is erecting a storm proof covering over the fossils to prevent storm damage, and the dozer drivers have now erected a flood proof wall to protect the site.
Up to 2018 we have deliberately kept the project low-key, for the simple reason it’s obviously out of kilter with the world’s evolutionist Museums, and we see no point in getting involved in a fight, where they can accuse us of being wrong, when what they really mean is we don’t have the same quality buildings or tell the same story as the Sydney Natural History Museum. Yet as the years increase what we have been investing in this project.
If Jurassic Ark illustrates one thing more than anything else, it is that the facts never contradict the Bible, only the opinions of men do that. The evidence always shows God’s Word is true from the very beginning to the very end.