Saturday 18 June 2016

Help me solve the mystery of the first Dingo Memorial

In September 1978 a memorial was erected near the entrance gates of the then Joseph Banks Fauna Reserve, Bathurst NSW and believed to be the first memorial to a Dingo.


Donated by   Queensland Friends of the Earth is was made of red and blue granite and recalled an incident, recorded by explorer John Oxley, about a female dingo’s attachment to her mate. It was installed by local stonemason Allan Greenhill.

Bathurst Council told me they have no record of the memorial and it does not appear on the Bathurst Council 1997 Survey of Sculptures, Memorials and Outdoor Cultural Material.

The reserve was transferred to the Bathurst Aboriginal Land Council in about 2009 and they tell me Council took everything out before handing over the land.

I am trying to find out more information about the memorial – what happened to it, what was the inscription and do any photos exist.

The Western Star Newspaper ran a small article on 25th September 1978 but tell me I would need to visit their archives in Dubbo to see if any photos were taken.

Thursday 16 June 2016

What a great way to get kids interested in Dingoes

A local cub group contacted Berenice in 1987 about visiting the Dingoes to learn more about them, and … ‘how to howl’.

They were to attend a Cub-o-rama at Casino in northern NSW and where a Dingo Howling Contest was to be held. Enterprising Cub leaders took the opportunity to meet the ‘Merigal’ dingoes and get some practice and guidelines generally on howling.

Sixty odd cubs and parents and friends enthusiastically got to know individual Dingoes, and set up for a BBQ and picnic lunch. The weather was perfect to enjoy a day in the beautiful grounds. Society members present felt a surge of pride showing off what had been accomplished over the years. This is what the society efforts were all about.

Although the Dingoes did not oblige with a howling session, they were able to view slides and hear sound recordings of howling.

A week later one of the group leaders returned to make his own recording of howling so the cubs could listen to it and practice. Setting up the equipment in Berenice’s kitchen all fingers were crossed for a successful session. The tape was started and much to everyone’s delight Meri Meri joined in giving the tape a real boost, adding freshness and personality.

The finished product sounded wonderful with tremendous volume.

I am sure the new friends of the enjoyed practicing their Dingo howls on the long drive to Casino.

Photo courtesy of Reptile Park, Gosford

Sunday 5 June 2016

Koala Park law suit sends out a reminder to us all

I do not advocate the closing of all zoos and animal sanctuaries. Many, if not most, genuinely care for the animals in their care and do some wonderful work in preserving threatened species.

In February this year Koala Park in West Pennant Hills was fined $75,000 for failing to provide veterinary treatment and banned from acquiring new koalas for six months after it was taken to court by the RSPCA.

The other day I came across this letter from Doris Charles of Brisbane to Berenice in 1983 about the park:

Recently I visited a nearby wildlife park, advertised mainly as a Koala Sanctuary.

I was disgusted and upset by the condition of the dingoes there.

Their ears were in a shocking state from fly bite. One in particular seemed to be very distressed.

I phoned the Sanctuary the next day to ask if the Dingoes were getting treatment for their ears. The Manager was ‘not available', but the person I spoke to said that they were not getting treatment because no one could catch them, but they were being sprayed with a contact spray for fleas and flies.

This was not good enough, so I phoned the RSPCA. They sent an official to investigate, and I was told that one of the Dingoes was to be put down.

I also asked this person if the Dingoes were getting treatment for their ears. He said that they were (just whom does one believe).

I also asked if he could tell me if the animals in such parks are ever checked by a vet. He said that all animals in the parks are supposed to be checked by a vet once a month.

If that is so, then he must have walked past the Dingoes for many months.

It makes one wonder how often, even if ever, some zoos and sanctuaries provide appropriate veterinary care for their animals and how long before ill-treatment and neglect is reported.

We all have a duty to question and report anything we see at zoos and sanctuaries that gives the slightest indication the animals are not happy and healthy.