From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: 24 June 2005 3:00:16 PM
To: Michael Hunter <>, Russell Woodford
<>, Charles J Patterson <>
Subject: Farewell Gouldian Finch?
Russell, you might like to post this to all.
On the subject of developers - they simply raze whole suburbs in
surrounds, and have been doing so for decades. I first noted this
alderman in the early 1980s.
Yet when members of the rural garden club complained about the loss of
species in their gardens the other day, they weren't blaming
orchardists. Mango orchards have replaced much of the open forest and
woodland around Darwin, and look like taking over the whole area
city to Mt Bundey Station on the Arnhem Highway.
But rural gardeners were also concerned about an even larger
threat, and not
only to avifauna.
It's called Gamba grass. This bulky African species grows to 4
height and forms a thicket so dense that a 4WD has little chance of
a way through.
Fire-adapted this grass burns so hot that our fire-tolerant
have little chance of survival. Even in the early dry season, our
cool fires are burning the tops of trees ten metres tall. What isn't
destroyed by fire, is suffocated. It grows in most habitats,
whole vegetation communities.
Here I quote from an Environment Centre release:
Gamba grass, like so many other serious weeds in the NT, was
benefit the cattle industry. It is now overrunning the Darwin
and scientists at (one) forum warned that at the current rate of
most of the Top End will be covered with gamba in 50-80 years. The
ecological, social and economic impacts of this would be utterly
Gamba Grass has the potential to spread right across northern
coast to coast. Now, let's see what birds it will knock out. For
there's Chestnut-backed Button-quail, Partridge Pigeon, Gouldian
Yellow-rumped Mannikin. I can send the map of potential coverage
who is interested. And there should be enough information
Google to convince any doubters.
I remember the outcry generated by first the gold mine in Gouldian
habitat at Mt Todd, and then the destruction of patches of habitat
Gouldian Finches fed, for the railway. And recently there's been
to alert people about the threat cane toads pose to fauna. The
cane toads will pale into insignificance if gamba spreads to the
predicted. But few seem to be concerned.
Incidentally, it's still legal to plant Gamba grass (it was originally
imported in the 1930s for pastoralists who still I understand, sing
I tried to highlight the issue during the last election. Our new
not even heard of the grass, and I'd say that applies to most
and Top End residents.
I urge all concerned to write to the Chief Minister, the Hon. Clare
PO Box 3146, Darwin NT 0801.
Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
61 (0)8 89 328306
1/7 Songlark Street, Bakewell, NT 0832