About Me

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I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

On This Day, 5 September: Tasmanian Wilderness extension

* 1989, the Tasmanian government announced that the already magnificent South-west Wilderness World Heritage area was to be extended to cover 1.38 million hectares of central and south-western Tasmania; this represents nearly 20% of the state. (Tasmania is an island off the south-east coast of Australia; an integral part of the continent, it has been isolated most recently since the last glaciation 13,000 years ago.)

When the 'core' of the area was gazetted in 1982, it was listed as meeting all four natural heritage criteria and three cultural criteria; at least until recently that was unrivalled in the world. Some of these values include the most significant and extensive glacial landscapes in Australia, cool temperate Nothofagus-dominated rainforests with close affinities to other Gondwanan lands, notably South America, and Australia's most extensive and pristine alpine area, with 60% of the alpine flora being endemic to Tasmania. It has forests of Eucalyptus regnans, the world's tallest flowering plant, and ancient conifers, including the famous Huon Pine, Lagarostrobus franklinii, some of which are over 2000 years old, and has populations of the three largest living carnivorous marsupials - the Tasmanian Devil, Spotted-tailed Quoll and Eastern Quoll. Only the second of these is still found on mainland Australia. Evidence of human activity, including through the last bitter glaciation, goes back more than 30,000 years.

Unfortunately - and I must rectify this! - I've not been back there since my photography went digital, so I'll limit my photos here, which are of scanned slides and not good quality.
King Billy Pines, Athrotaxis selaginoides, at Dove Lake
Prionotes cerinthoides
Tasmanian Native Hen

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