Works start at newly created Nilpena Ediacara National Park

Nilpena Ediacara: National Park has been announced as South Australia's newest national park. Photo: Jason Irving.
Nilpena Ediacara: National Park has been announced as South Australia's newest national park. Photo: Jason Irving.

Port Augusta has a link to a spectacular $3.3 million fossil experience coming closer to reality as part of the construction of South Australia's newest national park in the northern Flinders Ranges.

This is because the site is on land belonging to the Adnyamathanha people, who live in Port Augusta and around the outback.

Scheduled to open in 2022, Nilpena Ediacara National Park is home to the world's best example of the Ediacaran explosion of life, when the earliest forms of complex multicellular animal life evolved.

The site plays a crucial part in the proposed nomination of the Flinders Ranges for World Heritage Listing for its unparalleled story of the dawn of animal life on Earth.

South Australian contractors G-Force Building and Consulting have begun the reconstruction of the Nilpena Blacksmith's Shop, where one of Nilpena's most superbly preserved beds, known as Alice's Restaurant Bed, will be displayed.

The fossil bed was unearthed in 2016 by world leading palaeontologist Dr Mary Droser and her team from the University of California, Riverside. The bed is a window into the living seafloor, with many Ediacaran fossils including newly described species.

Construction of the fossil trail is also underway by Environmental & Trail Services, which is a class two, accessible trail, with all work undertaken on the trail being overseen by the project palaeontologist to prevent any possible harm to fossiliferous material, fossil beds and adjacent areas of paleontological value.

G-Force Building and Consulting Director Paul Glassenbury said he was excited for the company to continue their involvement in this project.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the fossil site will bring in tourists once boarders open.

"The works being done will turn this new national park into a 'must-see' destination for tourists, researchers and educators alike," he said.