A rewarding week at Charles Darwin Reserve

on 24 Apr 2016 

Posted on behalf of Mick Moylan.

Mick and Kerry Moylan have been volunteering for Bush Heritage for the past five years. Based in Victoria they regularly volunteer on different reserves around the country. In the past couple of years they've worked on reserves in New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia. The following article was written by Mick after he and Kerry spent a week at Charles Darwin Reserve in Western Australia helping Reserve Manager, Fiona Stewart.

Kerry and I eagerly looked forward to our arrival at Charles Darwin Reserve for a week’s visit and volunteer work; this was our second time at the reserve and we noticed many improvements. The landscape looks great after recent rain. As part of our induction, Fiona took us for a drive around the northern part of the reserve, where we saw large tracts of water teeming with tadpoles, brine shrimps and aggressive mosquitoes. Fiona took photographs to record the results of this rare rain event.

Our work days are busy with many administration and cleaning tasks completed, along with a fresh paint job for the five-cubicle ablutions block and laundry area.

A highlight for us was a tag-along tour of the south-west quarter of the property with Luke, who arrived home for a few days towards the end of our visit. We travelled to the stunning ‘red hands’ indigenous initiation site and Luke explained the history of the site and its significance to the Traditional Owners.

On the way, Luke pointed out a marked stone, which is an ancient signpost associated with indigenous people's ceremonial journeys in the region. We found it nearly impossible to imagine anybody finding their way through the dense vegetation – even today with the advent of vehicle tracks!

We were impressed with the beautiful eucalypts; York Gums, Salmon Gums, and the shining bronze Gimlets, which look like they've been hand-polished. More impressive Indigenous history is evidenced by ancient drinking water sites (Gnamma holes) which have been constructed in flat rock areas using fire.

The “Stinking Rogers Social Club” was the perfect venue for a very enjoyable camp oven roast evening. We met new friend Jacob and caught up with Luke and Fiona, Tanami and Banjo as well as old mutual friends Glen and Tony.

After a rewarding week, we reluctantly packed up our camp and departed Charles Darwin Reserve. It is significant for us, as this is where our relationship with Bush Heritage Australia began in 2012. We could not have imagined, back then, the many other Bush Heritage reserves we would visit and the many fantastic people we would meet as a result.