SA cave explorer to speak at last ADFAS Fleurieu lecture of 2020

Dr Grant Gartrell will be the guest speaker at the next Australian Decorative and Fine Art lecture meeting at Victor Harbor on October 26.

Dr Grant Gartrell will be the guest speaker at the next Australian Decorative and Fine Art lecture meeting at Victor Harbor on October 26.

Well-known SA cave explorer Dr Grant Gartrell will be the guest speaker at the next Australian Decorative and Fine Art Society (ADFAS) Fleurieu lecture meeting at Victor Harbor on October 26.

Dr Gartrell became interested in caves in his youth, and has been involved with cave exploration for more than 60 years.

His most notable discovery was in association with Professor Rod Wells, when the two men discovered a huge amount of megafauna remains in the Victoria Fossil Cave, some 50 years ago.

The 1969 find was almost by accident, as the men were originally only going to explore an area at the back of the Victoria Cave.

Both Prof Wells and Dr Gartrell were keen cave explorers, and members of the Cave Exploration Group of South Australia.

With permission from the tourism officer of the time, they went down into the cave with carbide lamps, and noted there was a considerable breeze, which usually denotes a cavernous space nearby.

With some effort the two explorers finally found themselves in a vast chamber, scattered with what seemed to be rocks. The "rocks", however, turned out to be skulls.

Prof Wells and Dr Gartrell had discovered the largest collection on the planet of megafauna fossils in a single deposit.

Over the past 50 years, the Victoria Fossil Cave has attracted tourists and researchers.

David Attenborough, who visited the cave in 1976, described the discovery as "breathtaking".

In 1993, the Naracoorte Caves were listed as a World Heritage Site, SA's only entry on the World Heritage Register.

Dr Gartrell's lecture, Caves and the Tyranny of Time', will be presented at 10.30am at The Gospel Centre, 2 George Main Road, Victor Harbor.

The lecture will be preceded by a short ADFAS Fleurieu Annual General Meeting.

Registration for the lecture begins at 10am.

Members and guests can book via email on fleurieu@adfas.org.au