Darwin mangroves

To: 'Denise Goodfellow' <>
Subject: Darwin mangroves
From: Tony Russell <>
Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2016 22:57:32 +0000
I remember one of those soirees when Enid and I turned up one evening.
Thought it was quite bizarre for your group to be drinking champagne at the
cross point on the levee banks, and the nose of the wine must have been
rather unusual.  Can't remember whether we were looking for a Little-ringed
Plover or a Little Grebe.
Best regards, Tony.

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Denise Goodfellow
Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2016 12:12 PM
To: birding-aus
Subject: Darwin mangroves

Top End mangroves are known for their diversity of birds.  However the most
accessible ones, those around Darwin, are fast disappearing.

I first got to know Top End mangals back in the70s.  A friend and I would go
canoeing, fishing and birding through them.  Then as a member of the
Aboriginal Women’s Resource Centre I went hunting and gathering there with
my fellow committe members and their families.  I learned from Bininj women
how to live with mangrove habitat, how to look for birds and food, how to
stay safe.

The concerns of Larrakia women were one reason why I stood for  Darwin City
Council in 1981 on the platform of conserving mangroves.
In the 90s there were again major plans to ‘develop’ great areas of
mangroves.  Those at Stuart Park were one of the best spots for Chestnut
Rail - I’d been watching the bird there since1983, after Council put in
drainage channels, thus increasing access. I began taking international
birding groups there in 1984.  People loved going into the mangroves.  For
many it was as if the birds were just an excuse to enjoy the solitude, the
smells, the ambience.

Luckily Mike Reed, a fellow birder, was a Minister in the NT Government at
the time, and once he learned of the importance of this area he changed the
zoning.  He also declared Charles Darwin NP, again in a move to conserve
habitat for Chestnut Rail and other mangrove birds.

In 1996 I produced a book, Birds of Darwin Mangroves and Mudflats, in an
effort to spread the word.  However an even better opportunity arose when
the Power & Water Authority asked me to organise a walk at Leanyer Sewage
Ponds for National Water Weed.  It turned out to be quite an afternoon.  I
asked people to wear evening dress and P &W organised drinks and nibbles.
Approached by national television I then organised another two soirees.
Model Kate Fisher presented on, turning up in a stretch limousine wearing a
slinky black dress slit to the hip, and gumboots.  Several dozen people
turned up in their finery, and we sipped champagne supplied by P &W to the
music of a string quartet.

Mangroves in the area between Stuart Park and Charles Darwin Park are now
under threat again, and a meeting was called on Saturday at which myself and
several others spoke.  I also carried the words of Larrakia women.  They no
longer use that area, but they understand the threat only too well to areas
that they do use.

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

PhD candidate, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Founding Member: Ecotourism Australia
Nominated by Earthfoot for Condé Nast’s International  Ecotourism Award,

With every introduction of a plant or animal that goes feral this continent
becomes a little less unique, a little less Australian.

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