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30 Million Years in Melbourne (Online)

About The Program

In this program, students will travel back through time to explore how Australia and the greater Melbourne region has changed over the last 30 million years. Students will understand the fundamental basics of evolution by looking at the fossil record and understanding pivotal extinction events that have shaped modern Australia. This program can be done both online or in person, with a real and immersive fossil display from Port Phillip Bay that can be brought to each school.

• What is Evolution?
• What are extinction events and what role are humans playing in the modern era?
• What is anatomy and how can we use this discipline to reconstruct ancient animals?
• The theory of Plate tectonics

Excursion Duration:
45 minutes
Year Level:
Year 4 to 10
Group Size:
Up to 50 students per session
$150 +GST for up to 50 students
In this program, students will learn about how Melbourne has changed in the last 30 million years. By understanding the fundamental basics of plate tectonics and what once lived in the greater Melbourne region, students will be able to make sense of deep-time and how evolution works. The fossil record around Melbourne is extremely diverse. Starting at the beginning of the warm-tropical Oligocene epoch (roughly 30 million years ago), students will be diving back into the water and coming face to face with terrifying, bus-sized sharks and bizarre baleen whales that have prompted scientists to rethink their entire evolutionary story. From here, we’ll head to the mid Miocene of 17 million years, where Melbourne is represented by a series of interconnected lagoons. Shark-toothed whales and bizarre penguins swim in these coastal waters, unlike anything seen in the modern era. On the land, giant “Demon Ducks of Doom” and marsupials the size of cows frequent the latest Miocene of roughly 6 million years ago. These incredible animals share ancient Melbourne with the biggest toothed predators of all time, munching whales in their wake. In the latest Pleistocene (roughly 50,000 years ago), the largest marsupial predator evolves on the parched Australian landscape, hunting short-faced kangaroos taller than LeBron James. By looking at the available evidence, students will see what it takes to recreate these remarkable animals, and further understand what impact humans are having on the continent. A Q-and-A session, following the program, will allow students to investigate any further topics and/or questions in detail with the presenter. This program can be done both online or in person, with a real and immersive fossil display from Port Phillip Bay that can be brought to each school.

• 3-4 Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings to show patterns and relationships using formal and informal scientific language (VCSIS072)
• 3-4 Science knowledge helps people to understand the effects of their actions (VCSSU056)
• 5-6 Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (VCSSU074)
• 5-6 The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (VCSSU075)
• 5-6 Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to inform personal and community decisions and to solve problems that directly affect people’s lives (VCSSU073)
• 7-8 Ways that flows of water connect places as they move through the environment and the ways this affects places (VCGGK106)
• 7-8 There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (VCSSU091)
• 9-10 Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems (VCSSU121)

This incursion is delivered online using Zoom. A teacher and class can join the session from the classroom or remotely from home. A meeting link and instructions will be sent out with the booking confirmation. Minimum group size is 20, maximum group size is 50.

An invoice will be forwarded after the incursion is completed. The fee covers our programs administration costs. Please book your incursion at least 7 days in advance – we are unable to accept last-minute bookings.

“I just wanted to say a big thank you to Sharron for the incursion at Galilee today. She was so lovely to the children and she was very passionate about the topic and the students thoroughly enjoyed it.”

- Amanda Reardon, Teacher, Galilee Catholic Primary School

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Please note, outdoor excursions only run on Tues, Wed, Thursdays.

School Information

Organising Teacher Details

The EcoCentre acknowledges the Kulin Nations, including the Yalukit Willam clan of the Boon Wurrung language group, traditional custodians of the land on which we are located.

We pay respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other First Nations and Elder members of our multicultural community.