200-Million-Year-Old Tree Stump Unearthed During Cross River Rail Tunnelling At Kangaroo Point

Cross River Rail
Photo Credit: AnnastaciaPalaszczukMP/Facebook

Did you know that workers doing tunnelling work at Kangaroo Point for the Cross River Rail project have unearthed a fossilised tree stump estimated to be over 200 million years old? 



According to the archeogeologists assigned to the Cross River Rail project, the fossilised tree stump was found 30 metres underground. It looked like a mound of rock and appeared to have been perfectly preserved by what experts believe to be volcanic activity that may have split Australia from the rest of the continents during the Pangea era.

“The wood got preserved, got covered up, and has since been silicified,” Dr. Andrew Rozefelds of the Queensland Museum of Geosciences said

“The exciting thing is it tells us a bit about Australia’s geo heritage. It tells us about our history in Brisbane. It tells us about the kind of plants and the kind of flora that was around at this time.”

The experts are trying to reconstruct the vegetation that existed at the Kangaroo Point spot over 220 million years ago. Now an inner-city suburb, Kangaroo Point may have been a swamp valley and the home of giant lizard-like animals and amphibians.

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Brad Sandford, one of the managers working on the Cross River Rail project, said that this was the oldest artefact they’ve uncovered. Based on initial findings, the fossilised tree stump predated dinosaurs. 

Photo Credit: Queensland Government

Meanwhile, just before Christmas, the huge tunnel boring machine for the Cross River Rail project has started breaking ground at the Northern Portal in the inner city.

Eventually, it will break through to the end point at the Bowen Bridge Road, which will signal the end of the tunnelling for the state’s largest infrastructure project. 

“To see both tunnels now complete is a feat of engineering and a credit to all those who have worked tirelessly to deliver these tunnels ahead of schedule,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“In a massive project full of huge milestones, today’s breakthrough is the biggest one yet,” she added.

Fast Facts About the Cross River Rail

  • TBM Merle has broken through at Cross River Rail’s northern portal, having excavated 3.8km of tunnel since launching from Woolloongabba in early 2021.
  • The project’s other TBM – Else – completed tunnelling in late November.
  • TBMs excavate the bulk (3.8km) of Cross River Rail’s 5.9km twin tunnels, with the rest excavated by roadheaders.
  • The TBMs have excavated 310,000 cubic metres of spoil and installed approximately 27,000 concrete segments to line the tunnel’s walls, each weighing about 4.2 tonnes.
  • At their deepest point, the TBMs tunnelled 58 metres below the surface of Kangaroo Point, and 42 metres below the Brisbane River.
  • Each TBM weighs 1,350 tonnes and is 165 metres long.
  • A crew of up to 15 people work in a TBM at any one time.
  • TBMs work at a rate of 20 to 30 metres a day.
  • Roadheaders excavated 85,000 cubic metres of spoil while tunnelling almost 900 metres from Woolloongabba to Boggo Road.
  • The roadheaders are 22-metres long and weigh 115-tonnes.


“Cross River Rail will transform travel in South East Queensland meaning less cars on the road, faster journeys, more stations in more convenient locations and the capacity to increase train services on every line as our population grows,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk explains.

“I look forward to the next phase of the project next year with attention turning to tracks being laid and building new underground stations. Queensland’s golden age is well and truly on track,” she added.