Termites take to Outer Barcoo croc museum

Isisford's main tourist attraction closed for white ant repairs

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Isisford's crocodile dinosaur museum has been closed since the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed, thanks to a termite invasion.

Isisford's crocodile dinosaur museum has been closed since the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed, thanks to a termite invasion.

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On the Outer Barcoo, churches are few but termites, they have them in plenty.

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On the Outer Barcoo, churches are few but termites, they have them in plenty.

The Longreach Regional Council has announced that a white ant infestation has been discovered in its Outer Barcoo Interpretation Centre at Isisford.

Described as requiring major repairs, Longreach mayor Tony Rayner said it was likely it would be months rather than weeks before the town's museum featuring a life-sized replica model of the fossilised 98-million-year-old Isisfordia Duncani crocodile will reopen.

The facility had been closed to comply with COVID-19 restrictions at the end of March and the damage was detected during a routine inspection after that.

Cr Rayner said the outer structure was sound and it was walls and floors that the termites had attacked, most likely six months ago.

He said building inspectors could see movement in the concrete foundations that had created an entry point for the white ants.

"It's inspected every year but they got in between inspections," he said.

Isisford locals concerned about the tourist attraction's future organised and presented a petition to the council recently but spokeswoman Julie Anderson said they hadn't heard anything back from the council.

The politely worded submission said the OBIC was a lovely place for locals and travellers alike and the only place they could buy a good coffee in town.

"We feel the morale of the locals has diminished somewhat since our lovely museum and cafe has been closed," it reads. "We understand it needed to close down during the COVID-19 lockdown and would like it to re-open as soon as possible please!"

Ms Anderson said locals and travellers alike had signed the petition.

"They come into my shop looking for a coffee and get in their car and drive off without having a walk around when there is none."

She said the cost of installing a coffee machine was beyond her means.

"I'd like it to re-open - it won't take away from anything in my shop," she said.

Cr Rayner said he totally understood the community's desire to have the centre back open and council had allocated $270,000 to the repairs.

"The Outer Barcoo Interpretation Centre is a vital part of council's commitment to our region's visitor economy," he said. "We're fully committed to re-opening the centre so that visitors can experience the natural history and cultural heritage of the Outer Barcoo."

Repairs won't be able to be started until the second round of treatment is complete however.

Council's building inspectors were surprised to discover that no termite protection had been built into the original design in 2006, Cr Rayner said.

He said that some treatment points had been added since then and the plan now was to undertake annual inspections and treatments to prevent any future infestations.

He hoped the building that also showcases the 100-million-year-old Bulldog Fish, displays of local fauna, flora, reptiles and birds, and a presentation of the formation of the Great Artesian Basin, and houses a 60-seat theatrette, would be open for the tail-end of the 2020 tourist season.

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