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Proudly brought to you by Dinosaur University and supported by SASTA and the South Australian Museum.

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Congratulations to this year's winners! Click here to view the 2022 winning entries.

Aim of the competition

The aim of the Mary Anning Art Prize is to have young South Australian artists create an original piece of artwork that tells us something about the prehistoric life of South Australia. It is essential, to be eligible, that the artwork explores an element of South Australia’s rich and remarkable prehistoric past, and that the artist lives in South Australia. To explore and illustrate our own past is to better know who we are as South Australians, and to better understand our unique place in the history of life.

While all visual art-forms are eligible, each entry must be presented in the form of a single photograph of the artwork.

What makes a successful entry?

  • Scientific accuracy, creativity, and originality
  • The best art isn’t just a picture, or a sculpture. It tells a story!

Are you wondering what the judges are looking for in a successful entry? Check out the video below

Opening and Closing Dates:

Submissions open - 14th March 2022
Submissions close - 17th July 2022

Entry categories:

  • Reception to Year 2
  • Year 3 to Year 5
  • Year 6 to Year 8


1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes will be awarded in each year group category

Icthyosaurs eating ammonites by Emma BowlerDiprotodon by Zander SimEdiacara biota by Ashton Magarey

Icthyosaurs by Emma Bowler                     Diprotodon by Zander Sim                       Ediacara biota by Ashton Magarey

People’s Choice Award

Alongside the South Australian component of the competition, entries are also welcome from outside of South Australia. Those who live outside South Australia will need to create an entry that explores the prehistoric story of where they live, as per the full terms and conditions.

  • The People’s Choice Winner will be determined by the number of Facebook Likes the image of the artwork directly receives on the Dinosaur University Facebook page. We’ll upload the judge’s favourites from each category to a photo album, after the closing date. There will then be two weeks to vote on this.
  • Judges’ decisions will be final, as will the People’s Choice. Should there be a tie in the People’s Choice, there will be a run-off vote between the tied entries.
  • Should there be a dispute on any matter, the judges and organisers will make a determination, which will be final.

Mary AnningThe Story of Mary Anning

Born in 1799, in the town of Lyme Regis in England, Mary Anning discovered the skull of an ichthyosaur with her brother Joseph, when she was just 12. Several months later, Mary found the rest of the skeleton. It was to be the first of many discoveries by Mary, in her local area, known as the Jurassic Coast. Legend has it that the poem “She sells seashells by the seashore” may have been written about her, as in order to make money for the family, Mary sold seashells and fossils.

At the time, women weren’t allowed to belong to the Royal Geological Society, and Mary’s name never appeared in the research done on her discoveries. She did not, however, give up her passion, and with her best friend, her dog Tray at her side, went on to discover plesiosaurs, ammonites, pteranodons, and so much more. Mary was also one of the first people to realise that some interesting looking rocks she’d discovered, were fossilised poop! While Mary Anning was not officially recognised, or allowed to join their organisation, the men of the Royal Geological Society, came to rely on her expertise…

“… by reading and application she has arrived to that degree of knowledge as to be in the habit of writing and talking with professors and other clever men on the subject, and they all acknowledge that she understands more of the science than anyone else in this kingdom”

Lady Harriet Silvester

Mary Anning PlesiosaurThe Mary Anning Art Prize is named after Mary for several reasons:

  • Mary made a significant number of discoveries in her local area.
  • Mary first began making those discoveries when she was still a young child.
  • Along with making the discoveries, and preparing the fossils for study, Mary made multiple drawings of her discoveries.
  • Despite not being accepted into the Royal Geological Society, Mary persisted. She never gave up on her passion, and today we acknowledge here as a significant pioneer in the science of palaeontology.
  • Mary wasn’t allowed to go to university to study her passion. Despite this, she became a leading expert through her own hard work and pioneered many fossil site preparation techniques that are still used today.
  • There are multiple examples from the Cretaceous Period here in South Australia of the prehistoric sea creatures Mary Anning discovered from the Jurassic Period where she lived in Lyme Regis.

Fossils of South Australia - Some helpful sites

SASTA page… The Great South Australian Fossil Debate:

South Australian Museum… Research and Collections on YouTube:

South Australian Museum… Palaeontology page:

Australian Age of Dinosaurs… Australian dinosaurs: 

Australian Museum… Fossil sites of Australia:

Professor Flint’s Mary Anning song:

Prof Flint interviewing women in palaeontology from around Australia, and the world, about their work, and about Mary Anning:

One of these videos, includes a short series of comments taken from some of the videos:

Article on South Australian dinosaur, Kakuru:

Professor Flint Spotify playlist of songs about South Australian fossils:

Conditions of Entry

  • The aim of the Mary Anning Art Prize is to for young artists to create an original piece of artwork featuring a prehistoric life form from the state in which the entrant currently lives. Entries will not be eligible if the subject of the artwork is not of the local prehistoric area of the entrant.
  • Entrants must submit a single image of the artwork  by midnight, Adelaide, Australia time, by 17th June.
  • It is the responsibility of the entrant to decide the best way in which to present the artwork through that image.
  • If the uploaded file is incorrectly named, it will not be considered for judging.
  • All entrants must complete the on-line entry form.
  • The artist must fall within their year level category before and including the closing date.
  • You cannot submit an artwork previously entered in the Mary Anning Art Prize.
  • This is an art prize for visual art, and not performance art. All forms of visual art are acceptable.
  • One entry per person, only.
  • By submitting this entry you agree that your entry or a copy of your entry can be used and/or displayed by SASTA to promote the Mary Anning Art Prize at events, on SASTA websites and social media, and used in part of full within the SASTA Journal or Newsletter publications.
  • The Art Prize organisers reserve the right to amend any or all of these terms and conditions.

Thylacoleo by Ethan JacksonOphelia Harding Ediacara arborea Saku Gamage   Thylacoleo and Megalania

Thylacoleo by Ethan Jackson                Ophelia Harding Ediacara arborea         Saku Gamage-Thylacoleo and Megalania