The Magpie Goose at Braeside Park (SE Melbourne) was brought to my
attention by Laurie LIving on Feb 2nd. I hastened off to see it. It was
unbanded and still present on March 3rd. It will find its way into the
Braeside Park stands on the edge of the former Carrum Carrum swamp.H. W.
Wheelwright (1861) described his "sporting life" in the Victoria of his
times. Some of his depradations were in this very area. Magpie Geese were
fairly common ...
"and many a pair have I killed right and left. They are capital eating and
will fetch from 12s. to 15s. per couple in the market."
By comparison Black Swans were hardly worth shooting because although
delicious they were heavy to lug about and brought only about 5s. each.
Other birds that he shot in the area were Brolga ...
"I once dropped on a little mob of five in such a place, and I nailed three
at a double shot..."
and Bustard. I look forward to them turning up in the park! On the other
hand Ibis were fairly uncommon.
The book makes interesting reading, essentially if it moved shoot it and
either sell it or eat it yourself. He ate everything from coot to
> To: Martin O'Brien <>
> Subject: Re: birding-aus Magpie Geese in Victoria (Aust.)
> Date: Tuesday, 9 March 1999 16:54
> Martin and all,
> A couple of notes on the Magpie Goose situation -
> As I recall, a bloke called H. Wheelwright (wouldn't swear to the
> who was a shooter for the Melbourne poultry market, wrote a book with a
> title along the lines of "Bush Wanderings of a Naturalist" in about 1865.
> I don't have a copy but I remember reading bits of it years ago. I think
> he quoted prices for Magpie Goose and Black Duck which, given the
> difference in size between the birds, suggested that they were probably
> roughly equally easy to obtain around Western Port in those days. There
> were quite a few interesting notes in the book - I think the copy I
> at was in the Victorian State Library.
> An elderly relative of mine (long since dead) who lived just north of
> Warrnambool described for me a pair of birds he had seen near a lake I
> think near Mortlake, round about 1970. I don't recall the exact terms of
> his description, just my conviction that what he had seen almost
> had to be Magpie Geese. He had seen the birds some time (possibly a
> of years) before he told me about them. At the time I might have known
> about the Serendip birds, but the accepted view was that there were no
> Magpie Geese in Victoria. Does anyone know when the Tower Hill colony
> established, and when birds from there might first have been liberated?
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