Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : May 9, 2017 Contents PAGE 34 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2017
THE Bass Coast community came together
on Friday, April 28, for a remarkable tour ex-
ploring the history of colonisation and cultur-
ally significant sites.
Developed by Western Port Biosphere with
the Bunurong Land Council, it was one of
three tours of the Bunurong’s country that
invited the community to learn about signifi-
cant sites of the Bunurong people past and
The tours were conducted as part of the
Western Port Biosphere’s Growing Connec-
tions project, supported through funding
from the Federal Government.
It included visiting Cape Woolamai, a sig-
nificant site of the infamous sealer and slaver
Meredith, who is reported to have kidnapped
up to 50 Aboriginal women.
The Bunurong resisted this violence by us-
ing the clever technique of fire signalling to
draw passing sealing vessels onto the rocks.
Middens in Inverloch at the RACV site re-
flected the dynamic ocean levels over the past
The experience was a coming together of
community groups including Wonthaggi Sec-
ondary College, Phillip Island Nature Parks,
Bass Coast Landcare Network and the Royal
Botanic Gardens; as well as Port Phillip and
Westernport Catchment Management Author-
ity, Department of Environment, Land, Water
and Planning, the Bass Coast Shire Council,
the Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation
Group and interested community members.
The tour visited many archeologically sig-
nificant sites, such as Middens.
It was a strong reminder that these sites
are protected under the Heritage Act and
should you come across one, ensure they
are treated with respect by not removing any
Should you come across materials, such as
bones, you should leave them where they are,
and contact Aboriginal Victoria.
Wonthaggi Secondary College would like to
thank Chris Chambers of Western Port Bio -
sphere, project coordinator of Growing Con-
nections, for the privilege and organising the
And they offered immense gratitude to
the Bunurong Land Council, particularly to
Shane Clarke and Robert Ogden, for their
time and knowledge.
EVERY summer, Corner Inlet is a hive of ac-
tivity – and it’s not just tourists that flock to the
area to visit the adjacent Wilsons Promontory.
Thousands of migratory waterbirds, includ-
ing snipe, sandpipers, and tern, travel to the
Ramsar listed inlet and its barrier sand islands
as part of their annual nesting, feeding and
Tomorrow we celebrate World Migratory Bird
Thirty-two species of wading birds have been
recorded at Corner Inlet and nearby Noora-
munga, with populations at peak times reach-
ing close to 30,000 birds.
This is more than 20 per cent of Victoria’s
summertime wading bird population.
The birds make a remarkable journey, with
some flying a 20,000km roundtrip – about
5000km further than driving the loop of Aus-
tralia – on their migration to and from Corner
Inlet each year.
They travel from breeding grounds in north-
east Asia and Alaska as part of the East Asian
Australasian Flyway and when the weather
turns cold in Victoria, they leave their summer
getaway and head back north, chasing the sun.
When those birds leave, other species arrive
with the change of season, including the cattle
egret and double banded dotterel.
Nearly 50 per cent of the migratory wading
birds that spend their winter in Victoria do so
in Corner Inlet and Nooramunga.
The feats of these remarkable migratory
waterbirds will be celebrated on May 10 as part
of World Migratory Bird Day.
This year’s theme – ‘Their Future is our Fu-
ture’ – aims to raise awareness of the need
for sustainable development and management
of our natural resources for both wildlife and
According to Tracey Jones, Water Program
coordinator at West Gippsland Catchment Man-
agement Authority, conserving Corner Inlet and
protecting the habitat of waterbirds is crucial
for their continued abundance and diversity.
“Corner Inlet is one of the most important
areas in Victoria for resident and migratory
shorebirds,” Ms Jones said.
“Wetland habitat loss and degradation are
significant threats to migratory waterbirds,
which is why it’s so important we work together
to help protect and conserve these important
“It takes a combined effort from government,
business, community groups, residents and
visitors,” Ms Jones said.
“Our Corner Inlet Connections Project has a
focus on protecting and improving Corner Inlet.
“This is done through a partnership with
farmers, commercial fishermen, Landcare,
Parks Victoria, DELWP, Ag Victoria, traditional
owners – the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Ab-
original Corporation (GLaWAC and many oth-
“Over the past 10 years this project has pro-
tected more than 700ha of saltmarsh, made
nesting habitats safer by targeted fox baiting
programs, reduced spartina across the inlet
and restored more than 150 river bank sites –
reducing the amount of sediment flowing into
the inlet,” Ms Jones said.
In addition to migratory waterbirds, Corner
Inlet is home to nationally threatened species
including the orange bellied parrot, Australian
grayling, fairy tern, and growling grass frog.
Fifteen threatened flora species and 22
threatened fauna species have also been re-
corded in Corner Inlet and the area supports
the most southernmost mangrove community
in the world.
Corner Inlet has been recognised for its out-
standing environmental value through its list-
ing as a wetland of international importance
under the Ramsar Convention.
The Corner Inlet Ramsar Site includes the ar-
eas known as Corner Inlet and Nooramunga,
and is the most southerly marine embayment
and tidal mudflat system of mainland Austra-
The Corner Inlet Connections Project is sup-
ported by WGCMA though funding from the
Australian Government’s National Landcare
Happy bird day
Corner Inlet is recognised internationally
as an important waterbird habitat.
15,000 years explored
Wonthaggi Secondary College’s Indig-
enous Welfare coordinators with leaders
of the Bunurong Land Council, from left,
Patrick Nowak, Michelle Marks, Robert Og-
den, Shane Clarke and Sally McNiece.
STUDENTS right across Gippsland are on
the frontline in tackling the serious issue of
marine debris, thanks to Phillip Island Nature
Parks and its ‘Turn the Tide’ marine debris ed-
“This enquiry based student program en-
gages and inspires students to take action at
school, at home, and in their local communi-
ties,” said Kim Dunstan, education coordinator
with Phillip Island Nature Parks.
“Thanks to a $20,000 grant received through
Sustainability Victoria’s Litter Innovation Fund
in 2016, our Education rangers have nearly
completed Stage 1 of the program by visit-
ing four schools in the region so far, with one
school still to visit in Term 2.”
The first stage of the program establishes a
benchmark of the students’ prior knowledge of
the issue of marine debris through a question-
naire, followed by a waste audit and observa-
“The ranger presentations include footage
and images which are sometimes emotive,
and use local connections to enable students
to relate more easily and become motivated to
change their behaviours.
“Students are then introduced to the idea of
developing their own conservation action plans
which can be implemented in their schools or
“Local beach and waterway monitoring and
clean-ups, recycling, composting, nude food
and the formation of school sustainability com-
mittees are just some of the action plan ideas
the students have come up with so far,” Kim
Stage 2 of the ‘Turn the Tide’ program in-
cludes an excursion to Phillip Island for stu-
dents to take their classroom learning and
ideas out into the field in Term 2.
They will conduct marine debris surveys on
island beaches and analyse their results.
One of the highlights of the excursion is bound
to be a trip on the EcoBoat out to Seal Rocks to
see first-hand the effects of entanglements and
marine debris on the natural environment.
A visit to the informative and interactive Ant-
arctic Journey will allow the students to im-
merse themselves into the fragile habitats they
are seeking to protect, and to gain further inspi-
ration for the development and implementation
of their action plans, which is the final stage of
“The grant we received through the Litter In-
novation Fund allows us to fully fund our rang-
ers to visit the schools, as well as the schools’
visits to Phillip Island including their transport,
ride on the EcoBoat and entry to the Antarctic
Journey,” Kim said.
“We are thrilled that the Nature Parks ‘Turn
the Tide’ program turns theories and ideas into
tangible actions that will provide a real benefit
and positive outcome to our marine wildlife
Students ‘turning the
tide’ on marine debris
THE Dalyston Hall Committee wasn't too
pleased with last Tuesday's icy blast of wintry
The long-planned first Seniors' Dance of 2017
was scheduled for that day, and the thought
of being lashed by high winds and heavy rain
while standing out in the hall's carpark to wel-
come the usual busloads of aged care residents
was a daunting prospect.
However, they persevered, and their deter-
mined optimism was rewarded when the rain
eased off just before the first bus arrived.
Bad weather is often the cause of cancella-
tion of outings for aged care residents, but air
conditioned buses and now an air conditioned
hall at Dalyston, along with happy memories of
previous Seniors' Dances, combined to tip the
scales in favour of four facilities attending.
Buses arrived from Grossard Court, Opal
Seahaven, Rose Lodge and Banfields.
There was also the usual merry throng of
members of the dancing community from plac-
es as diverse as Mt Eliza, Dumbalk, Cowes and
The idea of the Seniors' Dances is that these
regular dancers go through their paces, while
the aged care residents and their carers, as
guests of honour, are free to join in any of the
dances they choose, or simply enjoy the music,
the hospitality and the visual spectacle.
The combined crowd enjoyed a virtuoso per-
formance by keyboard player Rhonda Richards
and a broad range of dances, from the slow, ro-
mantic Emmerdale Waltz to the lively Mayfair
Quickstep. Half-time was celebrated with a lav-
ish, country-style afternoon tea.
A highlight of the day was provided by long-
term dance enthusiasts Jenny Dodds and Geoff
Gordon, who had opted to wear Scottish regalia
to contribute to the visual feast that the aged
care residents were enjoying.
MC Peter Dawson couldn't pass up an oppor-
tunity for some extra floorshow, so Jenny and
Geoff were prevailed upon to perform a lively
Gay Gordons to the accompaniment of Scot-
land the Brave while their audience clapped
along with gusto.
At the end of the day, the verdict of all who
came was that the dance had been a rip-roar-
ing success, and that the next Seniors' Dance,
scheduled for October 10, is an event not to be
Anyone wishing to enquire about taking up
dancing at Dalyston, no matter how many left
feet they may believe themselves to have, is
warmly invited to drop into the weekly begin-
ners' sessions at the hall every Thursday (ex-
cept public holidays and a Christmas break)
at 7pm, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or
phone/text Grant on 0421 329 129.
The beginners' sessions are run solely by vol-
unteers with no fee as such.
A donation towards the hall's expenses of $5
per person per night is suggested beyond the
introductory first visit, which is totally free.
Aged care residents and carers mingling with regular dancers on the dancefloor at Dalyston.
Seniors dance the winter
blues away at Dalyston
Jenny Dodds and Geoff Gordon in their
Scottish gear at the Dalyston Seniors’ Dance.
THE Southern Gippsland Local Food Event
invites anyone who is interested in local food
system change and anyone who grows, produc-
es, sells, or wants to access local food in South-
ern Gippsland to sell, connect and explore.
The ‘event’ is on Tuesday, June 20 from 9am
to 4pm (for registrations, tea and coffee) and
starts at 9.30am.
It’s at Korumburra Masonic Hall, 25 Bridge
Tickets are $22 (inclusive of GST, booking
fee, and lunch).
To register your interest book online: www.
bit.ly/2nNUR2z or call Jodi on 0491 249 842.
Registrations close June 13, 2017.
The main food event
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