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Gogo Fish Fossil Site


Heritage Council

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


50 k SE of Fitzroy Crossing

Location Details

Local Government

Derby-West Kimberley



Construction Date

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
(no listings)

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
RHP - To be assessed Current 25 Aug 2006

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Classified by the National Trust Classified {Lscpe} 27 Jun 1995

Register of the National Estate Registered 20 May 2003

Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register Registered


The Gogo Fish Fossil Site has great value to scientists from all over the world. More than sixty significant scientific papers, as well as popular science books, have resulted from investigations there. Dr John Long has described the area as ‘the world's most significant Devonian fish site’. The Gogo Fish Fossil Site represents some of the finest specimens from the Devonian found anywhere in the world. An incredible diversity of species has been collected, surviving, almost without exception, perfectly preserved in three-dimensional form. Gogo fossils include many species known only from this place. Research work on Gogo fossils has given insights into the evolutionary development of several fish groups, including armoured fish, lungfish, early lobe-finned fish, and early ray-finned fish. The Gogo Fish Fossil Site is part of a giant barrier reef formed in the Devonian. The reef provides dramatic evidence for the rise and fall of sea levels, and is considered to be one of the best-preserved examples of its type in the world. This gigantic geological structure stretching over hundreds of kilometres is of considerable significance for reef research because of the excellence of exposures and the lack of structural deformation.
The Bayulu and Yakanarra Communities currently live on Gogo Pastoral Station, and there are a number of myths surrounding the billabong on Gogo Station. A Yakanarra myth observes that it was created by a Rainbow Serpent, Moankanambi, throwing a boomerang in the search for deep water in which to settle. A Gooniyandi myth sees the rocks in the middle of the water as representing men and spirits who have drowned there. The billabong is also a source of small fish to be used as bait by Indigenous fishermen. It is probable that there are other significant Indigenous cultural values pertaining to this place.

Physical Description

350 million years ago, strange fish swam in an ancient sea that covered the northwest of Western Australia. Today, the Gogo Fish Fossil Site is found within the rugged outcrops of a giant barrier reef now standing above grassland plains. The barrier reef forms limestone ranges extending for 350 kilometres, in an arc that flanks the present day Kimberley ranges. These reefs were formed primarily by simple plants and animals, and now stand high and dry with the retreat of the seas at the end of the Devonian period with the gradual onset of an ice age.


The discovery of the Gogo fish fossils can be attributed partly to the arrival, in 1963, of a British Museum palaeontologist, Harry Toombs, at the WA Museum. Toombs had developed a technique for removing bone from limestone by dissolving the limestone with weak acetic acid. The then director of the WA Museum, David Ride, gave Toombs some bone-bearing limestone from the Gogo Formation. In the light of Toombs’s extracted fossils, a British Museum expedition to the site took place later in 1963.

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
9737 Raparapa: stories from the Fitzroy River drovers. (Kimberley) Book 2011
1179 Gogo fish fossil sites. Report 1995

Place Type

Large Conservation Region


Epoch General Specific
Original Use OTHER Other
Present Use OTHER Other

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Education & science
OCCUPATIONS Grazing, pastoralism & dairying
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Environmental awareness

Creation Date

06 Oct 2003

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

12 Jul 2022


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.