ARCHAEOLOGIST E.Wahyu Saptomo knew he was on to something big in 2003 when his digging team uncovered what appeared to be the remains of a small hominin.
Marking it as something very different from other finds were the shape of the brow, and the fact it was found in the pleistocene layer of soil deposits at the dig site, a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores.
It was something big, of course, in the form of something little.
The find dubbed "the Hobbit", correctly Homo floresiensis, was identified as a new but now-extinct species of human, and has convinced many scientists the human family tree is more complicated than had previously been thought.
"When we discovered [it], I thought that's something very important," Mr Saptomo said.
"It's the first time we found a hominin in that pleistocene layer.
"I saw the frontal brow - I thought, 'that's an archaic character'. At first we thought it was a child."
Yesterday a new permanent exhibition was opened at the University of Wollongong describing the work of UOW researchers in the find, and including a full-scale replica of the little one.
Wollongong Professor Mike Morwood was the co-leader of the archaeological team, which also included UOW Professor Bert Roberts.
More recently, facial anthropologist Susan Hayes has performed a facial reconstruction of the one-metre hominin, now identified as an adult female. The result of this painstaking process forms part of the display.
And Mr Saptomo was joined in Wollongong yesterday by the director of the Indonesian National Centre for Archaeology, Dr Bambang Sulistyanto, for the opening of the exhibition.
Dr Sulistyanto said the Wollongong exhibition was the first of its kind, and the starting point for a larger-scale display developed for travel.
The Homo floresiensis exhibition, highlighting the work of the University of Wollongong's experts in the find, is in the foyer of the Sciences Building (building 41) at UOW.