Darwin Festival hitting the airwaves in Australia

The DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival has been hitting the airwaves in Australia with representatives of the town’s university visiting the country to explore opportunities for ‘greater collaboration’ between Shrewsbury and the city of Darwin.

Paul Kirkbright, Deputy Provost of the University Centre Shrewsbury, flew to Australia’s most northern city to foster closer links which could include scholarship programmes and student exchanges.

The visit was organised to coincide with the Shrewsbury Darwin festival, running throughout February and playing host to a number of well-attended events - including a full-house for the lively debate about how the Wrekin was made.

Almost 90 people attended the event, In the Footsteps of Giants: The True Origin of the Wrekin, at University Shrewsbury as part of the DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival.

Organisers say these types of event are what the festival is all about – informative but far from boring which tends to be the stigma of science for many people.

Mythstories’ resident Dez Quarrell says two giants were responsible for creating the Wrekin while Concord College geography teacher Steve Cale has other ideas.

Mr Quarrell said: “Whether it was the subduction of tectonic plates or one giant burying the other, I think Steve and I were telling the same story.

“Myths are often a lot nearer the truth than people expect, our forebears had a better understanding of the World than we credit them with.”

Mr Cale said: “You have to question why a giant would be so angry as to want to destroy the good folk of Shrewsbury, and why not simply crush them like insects?
“Regarding the geology, we looked at evidence that, despite volcanoes only being known to us Brits through travelling and television, the UK’s landscape is full of evidence of a more exciting geological past.
“Whereas now we are drifting further from North America, there was once a time when two giant slabs of crust clashed together off Anglesey, with one buried for good! These were the birth pains of the Wrekin with rhyolitic lava forced through the brittle crust of the Earth.”

Meanwhile, in Australia Mr Kirkbright appeared on the ABC Radio Darwin Drivetime Show to talk about Darwin’s connection with Shrewsbury, the festival and his contribution to science and history.

Darwin, the city, also hosts a festival each year and has been paying its own special tribute to mark the 210th anniversary of the great man’s birth.

“The city of Darwin and Shrewsbury are quite different in appearance but are both extremely beautiful,” said Mr Kirkbright.

“I made the trip to reach out to Darwin in an attempt to do more in terms of collaboration. We are talking about a scholarship programme we hope to put into place and I am meeting with a number of academics with the hope of developing staff and student exchanges visits.

“There is much to celebrate and build on to foster closer relationships between Darwin and Shrewsbury - two places forever linked because of their connections with one of the most famous scientists who ever lived.”

The DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival continues throughout February - visit www.originalshrewsbury.co.uk/darwin-shrewsbury-festival for more details.

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