Ray and Sue joined Land for Wildlife after hearing about the scheme through Ray’s work colleague. He thought it sounded like a great idea and the couple joined up their block at Dundee Beach. Their block is in fact 2 blocks, one is 25 acres (around 10.8 hectares), where there are a couple of dongas made into a good sturdy bush dwelling with a deck which the couple bought in 2009. The other block, just next door and about 22 acres, (around 9 hectares) Ray and Sue purchased as a buffer block just over a year later, so they didn’t have to have any neighbours really near! They are pretty lucky as the lower end of their blocks becomes more low lying and lead into Melaleuca swampland which is in reserve. On one warm build up day Greg Leach and I from Land for Wildlife drove out to Dundee to see the block and make an assessment and join them up.
Ray explains why they love being out bush on their block, even though they live in Darwin a lot of the time. “We just love being in the bush, if you are in town and a storm rolls in, you can’t really appreciate it, but here we can see the whole skyline and the storm roll past, you can see the pink light of sunset in the clouds.” “We can sit out and have a fire and watch the whole sky, the kids love coming out, it’s what it’s all about; we love the bush and the lifestyle.”
Sue said they started looking for a bush block a few years ago, they looked in Adelaide River and wanted something far away, but loved Dundee. “This is a special spot, when the old folks come up we watch the sunset, and we love that the sea is near, I am a mad keen fisho too”, Ray adds.
A LFW assessment involves visiting the land to be put into the Land for Wildlife scheme and meeting the land managers, the vegetation types are present and intact, and the percentages of the land these make up,
We walked right around the blocks and down into reserve and found an array of bush tucker plants flowering or in fruit, including Buchanania obavata and Syzygium suborbicular
The land becomes thick with new Melaleca species and then into the reserve and swamp with large and beautiful Melaleuca viridiflora, casting huge shadows and making a wonderful cooler refuge. The whole block also has good breezes coming through. “I love my swamp, some people thought we were mad, but I love it.”” ”We don’t want to do anything with it, just have bush. My father in Victoria used to know all the tree names and I wasn’t so interested, but now I am older I am really into interested and want to know more.
Amazing Cycads were flushing with new velvety grey leaves and orange mid ribs, they are quite sort after and seem a few have been pinched. The woodland is dense in some areas, from fire being kept out and all the mid story fruiting shrubs are a perfect refuge for wildlife.
Weeds –mimosa. “ I didn’t have a mission, but now I do, I am going to get rid of that mimosa.”
Sue and Ray say the only problems they have really are not being here all the time, so when they want to plant some shade trees in the cleared patch around the house they cannot water them. We suggest just fencing off a patch and letting natural regen do its thing.