Terrestrial was opened in May 2003 and had a total project cost of $1.7 million (including the purchase of the Ted Elliott Mineral Collection). The centre’s establishment was mainly funded by the Etheridge Shire Council, with assistance from the Queensland State Government totalling some $455,000. The now-closed Kidston Gold Mines provided the overarching shed structure that shades the main building and the courtyard.
Originally this shed was located on the Kidston Gold Mine Site near the historic gold mining town of Kidston, some 150 kilometres south of Georgetown. Construction of the centre was carried out by KTB Engineering, with landscaping and other site works carried out by the staff of the Etheridge Shire Council.
The pebbles that are laid out in the courtyard come from the O’Brien’s Creek area, which is some 150kms east of Georgetown, and are of glacial origin. These pebble deposits have been known to contain semi-precious gems such as topaz.
Behind the Terrestrial amongst the trees sits the Peace Monument garden dedicated to our champions of world peace. Large stones adorned with plaques recognising peace leaders including Dr Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Dr Daisaku Ikeda, Mahatma Gandhi, Eddie Mabo, Helen Caldicott and Julian Burnside.
The slate in the courtyard came from a working cattle property, some 250kms south west of Georgetown, and was carted by a resident on the property – utility load by utility load. The ‘fossil like’ patterns seen in the slate are caused by mineralisation and are not fossilised ferns. Rocks bordering the gardens and the building platform came from various parts of the shire and have been incorporated with a variety of plants and shrubs. Located outside the front entrance of the centre are two large mineral specimens – a Crinoid in Limestone specimen and a Feldspar Crystals in Granite specimen.
The foyer display includes a two-metre-long TerrEstrial sign, composed by local lead light artist Terry Smith, using 287 individual agate cabishons sorted by colour. All of these cabishons came from the Ted Elliott Mineral Collection and were found at the Agate Creek gemfields in the Etheridge region.