The South Australian Museum and Beach Energy share a commitment to the preservation and communication of natural and cultural heritage through programs. These programs are designed to support children and communities in regional and remote communities in South Australia. Both organisations also have a history underpinned by the important legacy of Australian geologist and conservationist Dr Reg Sprigg AO.
Beach Energy first partnered with the South Australian Museum in 2005 to support an international Palaeontology team – led by Museum scientists – researching the Cambrian explosion on Kangaroo Island (and linking to Ediacaran biota of the Flinders Ranges). This Australian Research Council (ARC) project included an initial phase with public lectures and student workshops, telling the story of this exciting venture. Beach Energy helped the Museum share discoveries, research and behind–the-scenes fossil preparatory work with the public.
The next phase of the partnership grew to the establishment of the highly successful Sprigg lecture series. These free public talks feature national and international scientists and guest speakers on the subjects of nature and culture. In addition, the Museum’s Out of the glass case roadshows were delivered as part of the annual programs Palaeontology Week and Science Week, enabling extended reach to and participation by regional and rural students.
In 2010 Beach Energy generously undertook a significant five year Principal Sponsorship, retaining the Sprigg Lectures and ARC Project support, but with expansion to encompass the full Out of the glass case roadshow program. This included the inaugural roadshow — subsequent return annual visits — to the remote Anangu, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. With Beach Energy’s support, the Museum also established informative display units in regional host venues, taking Museum stories beyond its walls and sharing them with the community. It also provided for the development of new initiatives in the Museum’s Ediacaran gallery.
The sponsorship provided by Beach Energy supports the delivery of Fossil Fest, formerly Palaeontology Week, a popular School Holiday Program which in 2013 saw the Museum’s standard attendance increase from 7,500 per week to 19,500 over the festival period. This was a week-long program bursting with free events to help uncover and share South Australia’s rich fossil heritage including torchlight tours, fossil making, dig pits, and performances.
In 2013 Beach Energy also joined the Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE) as Principal Sponsors of the Gala launch for the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize. The Waterhouse Prize is a prestigious international competition that challenges artists to tell the stories of natural science using a range of media. Now in its 11th year, the success of the prize confirms for the Museum that people love to see science through the boundless imagination of the talented artists. The competition culminates in an awards event, followed by a stunning touring exhibition, and is also frequently featured as part of the Museum’s Science Week activities.
Thanks to Beach Energy’s adaptive and responsive support, they have enabled new research, objects and stories to be shared with families across the state and right here in Adelaide. They have enabled the Museum to tell the internationally significant South Australian story of the Ediacaran Period.