Access to Leanyer Ponds (Grey Phalarope)

To: Jeremy O'Wheel <>, Helen Larson <>
Subject: Access to Leanyer Ponds (Grey Phalarope)
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2014 14:03:31 +0930
Hi all

For decades myself and other birders visited the Ponds at all times of the
year (I first went there in the early 1980s).  Most of us knew enough to
modify our behaviour re sewage overflow or crocodiles.   And there've been
crocodiles there as long as I can remember.

Then Power and Water discovered that some birders were copying their keys
and handing them out to visiting friends and clients.  They were not happy,
and on one occasion staff ordered my then husband Hilary  to leave the ponds
with his international clients.  I was able to smooth things over to the
extent where I was invited to PAWA Christmas parties, and some senior staff
at PAWA asked me to accompany them to the Ponds re siting a bird hide. I got
permission to run some birding soirees for national television with PAWA
providing champagne and live music.  We all wore evening dress.   Our
present Administrator wrote an "ode to a sewage pond", and read it on
television, to the consternation of some of her southern colleagues.

However, a few years later it all began to fall apart.  One driver was the
heightened awareness of public liability, and that appeared in part to be
brought about by birders breaking the rules.   The manager threatened to
have anyone found in the Ponds without a permit arrested, and asked me to
spread the word.  A ruling was brought in that only those familiar with the
Ponds could take visitors in, to ensure that they were safe.

Then the induction course was introduced but it only covers basic safety.

The last person I took into Leanyer was an American, Jon Franzen, and
because there was some construction we only got in because the workers there
knew me.  It was a great morning.   But with ongoing construction it's
problematic for clients even if they do complete an induction course.

Happy birding

Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
PO Box 71,  Darwin River,
NT 0841
043 8650 835

PhD candidate, SCU
Vice-chair, Wildlife Tourism Australia


On 23/1/14 12:24 PM, "Jeremy O'Wheel" <> wrote:

> And a crocodile apparently;
> -crocodile-leanyer/5214928
> Jeremy
> On 23 January 2014 10:17, Helen Larson <> wrote:
>> And the ponds are presently closed due to high rainfall. Not good to wade
>>  in raw sewage. The NTBirds mailing list has uptodate info.
>> Helen
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>> On 22 Jan 2014, at 9:35 pm, Russell Woodford <>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi everyone
>>> If you are considering going to Darwin for the Grey Phalarope, please
>> note
>>> that you need to do a site induction before you can enter the area. John
>>> Rawsthorne asked me to pass on the following information:
>>>> Only people who have undertaken the induction with PAWC can enter
>>> Leanyer
>>> Ponds.  This is not an instant process, so birders should make
>>>> arrangements before leaving for Darwin.
>>>> The link to commence the induction process is:
>>>> Also, while the power and water website says the ponds are closed >due
>> to
>>> construction work, this message is out of date.
>>> Please do not jeopardise access for all by trying to circumvent these
>>> regulations.
>>> Russell Woodford
>>> Birding-Aus Owner
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