Another big reason why I’ll be posting less is I’m moving from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne to Winton, a small town in western Queensland and a fourteen hour drive from Brisbane, the state’s capital city. I’ll be working as a Museum Tour guide at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, a dinosaur museum in the middle of the desert. It’s on a contract, but it’s still exciting and my first real job since graduating from university. Getting this job has and will facilitate so much growth, including moving out of home for the first time, buying a car (with financial assistance from my Dad) and being away from my family, friends and boyfriend. The job finishes in mid-October but I’m not sure whether I should plan a Europe holiday for December or work in retail over the festive season to earn some extra cash.
It should take about four days of solid driving from Melbourne to Winton, going inland rather than travelling along Australia’s surf coast with my Dad in the car to keep me company/ plummeting off a cliff. Since getting my driver’s license more than two years ago I’ve never driven for more than an hour so the prospect of such a long road trip is quite daunting. Still, I am looking forward to it, partly because there will be some amazing op shops, and with my Dad there I won’t have to pay for everything! During the past month I’ve put a considerable dent in my bank account, purchasing clothes for work so it comes as a huge relief to avoid scraping the bottom of my bank account before starting work.
Frankly I’d be quite surprised if any of you had heard of Winton so before I divulge any information about my new job it only seems appropriate to talk a little more about the town:
- It’s a small town with three small grocery shops and one fruit & veg grocer
- It’s home to the boulder opal, dinosaurs and Banjo Paterson’s ‘Waltzing Matilda’
- There are four pubs and three clubs
- It’s one of 3 towns associated in the Australian Dinosaur Trail
- The shire is 54, 000 square kilometres with a population of only 850-950 people
- There’s a swimming pool, squash & tennis courts, football field and showgrounds
At this stage you might be wondering at this stage why on Earth I would leave a densely populated city such as Melbourne and move to the middle of nowhere. Well, the fossils recovered from this region are simply incredible and unparalleled in the Australian fossil record. During the last two years of my life as an undergraduate I discovered that palaeontology was something I was truly passionate about, so when I was offered a job at a dinosaur museum it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss out on. There are many things I will miss about Melbourne, including its food, the live music scene, its coffee and the number of amazing galleries within the city’s CBD- but I’ll be back in Melbourne mid-October. However, I might go a bit mad not being able to visit different vintage stores, charity stores and shopping precincts but I hope to replace my shopping obsession with focus on fitness. I’ll also continue to buy things online, but be much more selective about the whole process!
As a geologist/ palaeontologist, Winton is famous for its fossil dinosaurs including the bones of sauropod dinosaurs, ankylosaurs, Muttaburrasaurus an herbivorous ornithopod and Australovenator a predatory hunter with huge claws. Also present were the flora able to support the dietary requirements of the large herbivorous dinosaurs for which the region is known, as well as molluscs and marine reptiles in the Eromanga Basin. The fossils from the region are Cretaceous in age, with a recent fossil determined to have a maximum age of 95 million years old as determined from zircon dating. The rocks are old, the fossils are big and the potential for future paleontological finds is even bigger.
When I’m not working at the museum I’m also going to try and write my first scientific paper, building on an idea I developed late last year. Being a published scientist in itself is a prestigious honour, as each journal article is peer reviewed but I really want to submit a paper in order to be more competitive when applying for PhD scholarships. Without completing a PhD, I’m not much of a chance when it comes to applying for jobs within my field- even if the position is that of a laboratory technician. Whether I become an academic or not, completing a PhD is something I still want to do. In fact, it’s the only thing I say automatically when someone asks that infamous question, ‘where do you want to be in 5 years’ time?’
As much as I love science, I need creative outlets in order to stay sane, which is why I’m bringing fifteen journals (mostly incomplete) with me to Winton! I’m also bringing my DSLR camera so I can keep posting outfits and my Minolta X300. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to bring a film camera with me, but after seeing the Andy Warhol x Ai Weiwei exhibition at NGV I realized it was important for me to work in different mediums. I also have seven rolls of film waiting in the wings and hopefully a new environment will inspire me to work creatively.
This is all a lot to take in, but after blogging regularly for the last couple of years it will be good to work full-time, be forced to cook for myself and move to a country town. Being isolated will force me to examine how important art/ music/ fashion are and with limited resources fill the gaps as necessary whether that be doing more DIYs of runway threads or becoming my own muse. When I’m settled in I want to write a series of posts about the things I brought with me and why they are absolutely essential, starting with my many journals and notebooks.