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Mt. Rothwell Sanctuary Visit - Dec 2006

Complied by Daryl Akers and Frances Overmars 18/12/06

Photographs by Ian Bell    (Click on a thumbnail image to view enlarged images)

Members from both the Melton Environment Group and Pinkerton Landcare & Environment Groups, their families, friends and visitors enjoyed their evening at Mt. Rothwell Sanctuary.
Cr. Bob and Denise Fairclough from the City of Wyndham formed part of the group, as well as Linda Bradburn from the Shire of Melton.


We arrived in the late afternoon and and were guided by Irene Cook a previous volunteer with Earth Sanctuary (as it was then known), to the mixed species revegetation plantings surrounding a large oval depression in the main paddock, we also saw a few kangaroos. From here we went to the lower lying clay soil areas where we saw wildflowers in the native grass areas and a special planting which had been undertaken by Friends of Geelong Botanic Gardens which included the nationally significant button wrinklewort sourced from the Truganina Cemetery. It was marvellous to see how this little plant which was in full flower, had survived the harsh drought conditions.


Re-introduced to the area - Rutidosis leptorynchoides or as commonly known Yellow Button Wrinklewort.


We then enjoyed a barbecue at the caretakers cottage, while admiring the splendid view of the setting sun over the western plains from this elevated position. Paul Stewart-Higgs, the ranger looked after us well and during the barbecue he introduced a surprise, a visit from a quoll, that is one of two that live in the equipment shed besides the caretakers cottage, we were able to have a good look at it before he placed it on the ground and it scurried back to the shed. These were once very common but are now extinct on the mainland and are now only found in Tasmania.

These little quolls also used to be numerous in the western volcanic plains. The following quote shows how they provided entertainment at the Truganina School, in the City of Wyndham.

"Native animals provided the boys, and possibly some of the girls too, with much of their amusement. Apart from chasing them in their wild state, the bigger boys used figure four (4) traps (or snares) to catch native cats". quolls " A favourite past time was a chase by the children after one of these animals that had been captured and then released for the event. Bandicoots, too, were numerous, and could be found and hunted in the grass."

This description applies to the 1870's period. Geo. Green, Head Teacher, Truganina 1932- 1935
A Brief History of Truganina from The Coming of White Man to 1935.

Comment: It was lovely to see the little animals that are generally extinct on mainland Australia.  Frances

These animals, though wild, were quite unafraid, and we were able to see them quite close-up in the spotlight. In the absence of cats and foxes, all these animals were breeding and flourishing quite prolifically, despite the severe drought conditions.
This is an experience that should not be missed, as these animals will not be seen elsewhere, except in places like this. It was a privilege to see the wildlife that was once so common around here.