Upper Dawson Wetlands Weekend Campout

Rod Hobson with a bandi-bandi snake

A weekend full of promise was fulfilled when 65 campers, caravaners and day trippers met at Lake Murphy north of Taroom to meet with friends and experience a wide variety of all things wonderful. Campers travelled from the Capricorn Coast, Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast branches as well as Head Office to join with members of the Upper Dawson Branch.

From Friday afternoon we set up camp  on the shady and spacious Conservation Park surrounded by the Dawson Livistonia Palms and Robinson Creek on one side and Lake Murphy on the other. Informal meals and yarns  were enjoyed around small camp fires under a million stars. In Taroom ‘Geckoes Wildlife’ entertained the young and the not-so-young with a variety of snakes, pythons, lizards and marsupial mammals.

Following the early morning bird symphony and bush breakfast we came together Saturday morning to formally meet, mix and mingle and for ‘Geckoes Wildlife’ to again present their reptilian and mammalian collection. We met the Woma, Carpet and Black-headed Pythons, legless lizards, geckoes, gliders, dunnarts and turtles in the friendliest way shown by Martin Fingland and brought to us by Santos.

On hand throughout the day were Rod Fensham and Jason Halford from the Herbarium, Bob Black from CQU, Nathan Willis from National Parks and Wildlife and Rod Hobson to informally guide us through our local flora and fauna as we partook of walks around the Lake Murphy and along Robinson Creek.

Bush guides, John and Elgin Hay.

As evening fell Jenna Bishop from the Fitzroy Basin Association outlined the study and research soon to be undertaken of the large wetland system that makes up the catchment of the upper Dawson River. Artist Bill Gannon then explained the works he and fellow artists including Barbara Hancock are compiling from along the route of Ludwig Leichhardt during his Jimbour to Port Essington expedition in preparation for a touring exhibition in 2013 to celebrate the 200th birth date of the great explorer.  Hubert Voight’s wonderful campoven dinner followed before guest speaker Bill Kitson closed the evening with his excellent pictorial history of Surveying Qld. 1939 -1945.

Tag-along-tours led by local brothers John and Elgin Hay of the wetlands along the Robinson and Palm Tree Creeks the following day were of great interest to local members and travellers from afar. The extent and value of this largely unexamined area aroused much interest and we look forward to a greater understanding from the research about to commence.

This brought to a close a successful weekend celebrating 50 years of dedicated conservation by the Wildlife Preservation Society of Qld. The Upper Dawson branch continues to value the past, enjoy the present and protect the future of our rich and diverse natural heritage.

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