Geoscience Australia partners with Google to showcase Australia's natural history

14 September 2016

Geoscience Australia's never-before-seen collections are now available online, as part of the Google Cultural Institute's launch of more than 50 natural history collections from around the globe.

At today's launch at Museum Victoria, Geoscience Australia curator Steven Petkovski said the initiative allows people to explore Australia's unique minerals and fossils through Geoscience Australia's digital exhibits, created from the national collection housed right here in Canberra.

An Australian Opal from the National Mineral and
Commonwealth Paleontological Collection

An Australian Opal from the National
Mineral and Commonwealth
Paleontological Collection,
Geoscience Australia.
Photographer: Chris Fitzgerald.

"The Google Cultural Institute's natural history platform is a great opportunity for us to showcase our collection of radioactive rocks, which are too hazardous to display to the public," Steven Petkovski said.

"Two hours spent with one of these harmless-looking rocks is more than a person's maximum recommended yearly dosage of ionizing radiation.

Using the Google Arts and Culture platform, you will also be able to check out some of Australia's rarest gems. We don't often display these in public due to their fragility and value.

"One of my personal favourites is our pyrosmalite. Worth more than $300,000, it's the most valuable item in our collection. It's also one of the best specimens of its kind in the world."

Geoscience Australia, based in Canberra, is one of eight institutions from Australia and New Zealand partnering with the Google Institute to digitise its collections.

"We are immensely excited to launch the Natural History platform on Google Arts and Culture, with the help of Geoscience Australia," said Alan Noble, Engineering Director, Google Australia.

"This new platform celebrates Australia's rich and unique offering for natural history, which we can now provide access to for the entire world to experience, especially our education institutions across the country."

Geoscience Australia's collections are available from today for free on the web and through the new Google Arts and Culture mobile app on iOS and Android.