28 February 2019

Canberra's big dinosaur takes flight

| Genevieve Jacobs
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The Dinosaur Museum T-rex prepares to take flight. Photo: G. Tsotsos.

Tyrannosaurus Rex didn’t have feathers or wings when it roamed the earth millions of years ago, but Canberra’s own T-rex took flight (with the aid of a crane) at the Dinosaur Museum this morning.

Development forced the Canberra Dinosaur Museum to relocate the giant figure: museum manager David Barker explains that civil works for the construction of a nearby service station meant the dinosaur’s current prominent position was no longer suitable.

“We’ve moved it a bit closer to the museum and we’ve had to cut down the size of the garden there and develop another part of the site. We’re looking to expand into a new adventure dinosaur garden on the other,” he said.

The tyrannosaurus is made of rubber latex and larger than life. Photo: G. Tsotsos.

The Museum’s T-rex is in fact considerably larger than life at 20m long and 6m high. By all accounts, the original species was around 12m long and 3.5m in height and also, not made of rubber latex.

But it’s still no easy task to move a creature of this size without damage, as David Barker explains. “A fair bit of planning has gone into it. Our builder, Jeff Horn has been working on this project for several weeks. He’s laid the footings and made sure the landing will be smooth.

“It took a 60-tonne crane to move the dinosaur but that’s happened pretty smoothly and she’s landed safely and in one piece,” he said.

The Tyrannosaurus will form part of the developing dinosaur adventure garden, which Barker says is a place for kids to explore and have more interactivity with the lifelike rubber and fibreglass dinosaur models. That’s being planned and developed over the next few months.

The stolen Utahraptor was eventually discovered by police in Page. File photo.

The site is also now more secure after an infamous incident several years ago when a fibreglass Utahraptor was stolen and eventually recovered from a sunroom in Page after a three-day police operation. A special response unit retrieved the dinosaur and transported it to the Belconnen Police Station after a tip-off from a member of the public.

Fencing around the garden has now been secured, following a further incident in 2017. Mr Barker says the Museum continues to enjoy strong patronage and is looking forward to completing their adventure garden development.

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