Travelling through outback NSW last month, we were surprised to see dead foxes by the roadsides, obviously hit by passing vehicles.
Over three-days of driving we counted 16 dead foxes. Far more than any we had ever seen on similar trips – and more than the dead kangaroos, which is sadly what we usually see. (Relating also to the road-kill wombats often seen along the strip of road between Cooma and East Gippsland).
We were puzzled by the increase in foxes and wondered why their population had increased to such a degree, as to present so many car-skittled bodies.
At the same time on our travels we witnessed the horrendous destruction meted out by NSW’s mouse plague. We saw haystacks and hay bales partially demolished, collapsing, like runnels of bleeding hay, spreading across the paddocks, by the influx of millions of these ghastly little rodents.
‘Ah’, we thought,
‘Are the foxes thriving on meals of mice?’
Would love an answer.
In the 1970s, we, as a family with two young children, used to explore the banks of the Avon River in Boisdale and the Freestone Creek in Briagolong, in country Gippsland, Victoria.
We enjoyed finding ‘treasures’, especially agates and other interesting rocks.
Occasionally we came across what we thought were remnants of Aboriginal settlements from many decades ago.
We found some cutting tools and signs of early ‘industry’, never thinking that we were trespassing – just being intrigued by what we imagined to be signs of much earlier times of the area.
We discovered this beautiful rock which we assumed was a grinding stone and treasured it for many years. Eventually it accompanied us to our new home on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
While we still admired and loved ‘our’ rock, we felt an unease and came to realise that it definitely was not ‘OUR’ rock at all and that it was far away from where it should have been – perhaps resting.
On a long journey south, we took the grinding stone to the nearest place to its home, that of the Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place, in Bairnsdale, Gippsland, Victoria, where there is a gathering of artifacts – not a museum, as such, but a place that recognises the history of the Gunaikurnai people.
The person who greeted us was not angry with us for keeping the treasure for so long, but graciously accepted it and thanked us.
After a final touch, we said goodbye to ‘our’ rock, feeling relief at knowing that it was now where it belonged.
PS: I would possibly have preferred it to be back on the riverbank
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