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Turtle of Change

Turtle checks out some rusty tin

The ‘Turtle of Change’ has come to Rocklily. Dianna & Warwick are thrilled to have him here, and see him as an added opportunity to help those in rural areas understand more about living with local wildlife. We have a busy weekend planned as our extra activity for the turtle. Saturday will see us doing a cleanup along our local dirt roads, about 80km, some inside the National Park. Where we are out and about we plan to talk again to as many local residents as we can about wildlife-friendly fencing and netting of fruit trees, treating wombat mange in wild populations, and any other wildlife issues they might have. Sunday will see us in Canberra at the Kingston ‘Old Bus Depot Markets’ and we will be talking to everyone about wildlife issues, especially living with wildlife in urban areas.




Saturday 20th April 2013 Dianna Bisset Turtle activity. Day 1

At only 7 degrees C with the rain bucketing down still, and the wind throwing the rain in all directions, we hitched on the trailer to the 4WD to grab a bit of old fencing we knew was up one of our tracks. It turned out to be a trailer-load buried under dirt and leaves and by the time we had pulled and clipped it all to get it out from the old fence posts we were soaked.

A quick change of clothing and off out the gate to our first stop, a turnaround spot where I knew a rather large drum was sitting. This turned out to be a bit of a rubbish dump, with barbed wire, tine and a pile of bottles covered in earth. We got what we could and planed to return with a bag and shovel.

Just 500m up the road I knew of a ‘bit’ of dumped rubbish, it had been there for years and I’d slowly been removing bits at a time. The glass dump here has turned out to be enormous, a large hole filled with broken beer bottles. After filling a large hessian bag and a few boxes I’d hardly got 1/10th of it. Warwick was busy pulling stuff from an even bigger hole, flattening a number of drums and other stuff to go onto the trailer. This will also need a number of bags and shovels and trailer to collect it all.

The trailer was close to full and so was the car. Leaving room  for the odd drum and litter along the way, we planned on coming back later in the week better equipped. We were still within the Blue Mountains National Park, and I guess that’s why there was so much dumped here.
Continuing along towards the tip and Taralga we only found the odd drum and litter, along with medical gloves and car parts from a very sad recent youth fatality.
Stopping at a couple of properties that are re-referencing we could only leave leaflets as no one was home. We had more luck at the National Park Office at Wombeyan Caves, where the ranger was again pleased to take anything we had for interested visitors to help themselves to.

We will try the properties next week, and with hopefully finer weather we will be able to catch up.
Nearly all we picked up was either glass or metal and so we were able to recycle the lot. Over a warm cuppa in the local cafe in Taralga we recharged and headed home, cold, wet, very dirty and with the odd leech!


Days 2 & 3
A lovely sunny day to complete our cleanup. The ‘small’ amount we thought left of wire again filled a trailer, it’s been there so long the fallen leaves had turned to compost and took hours to unearth. Up the road the bottle pit ended up not so deep, but spread widely under the leaves, filling 15 x 20kg chook food bags with broken glass, we even rescued two old bottles to add to our collection. We will have to go back with fin rakes to get what’s scattered around the area. These bottles tell us the glass dump dates from pre-1950s. In another spot we also found an old fridge, and a pile of metal and broken letterboxes, all this within the lovely Blue Mountains National Park.

Sadly while doing the cleanup we came across a dead wombat, shot in the stomach and left to die on the road in the rain hence why he looks so clean, although you can tell from the dried blood underneath him and the clotting on his cut-off ears that he had a sadly slow death. One of the growing number of casualties we are seeing locally. I contacted the police and local paper with a story and Gerald & Anthony from the Goulburn Post have put together an article for the ‘Town & Country’ section that reaches the Southern Tablelands and Southern Highlands, alerting many to what’s happening and asking people to be aware and take down number plates so they can be charged, and who to contact in the rural Crime unit.  See attached PDF on Animal Abuse: what you can do.

Our turtle met our web manager Ryan and editor Kate without whom I wouldn’t have such a great and informative website, helping others do their bit for this small planet we all share.

We say goodbye to the turtle, as he travels on to someone whose energy is unstoppable, and very deserving, in Tasmania.

17 bags of broken glass form what initally looked like a small pile, it was a bottle pit!


Second trailer load. Wazza’s ute has all the bags of bottles.

Just the wire collected, on day 1. More tin added later.