Posts Tagged ‘South Golden Beach’

When I first came to the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, brush turnkeys were not protected. Consequently, a sighting of them was a rare thing. Sometimes as we were driving along we’d see one making its way stealthily through the bush. The kids would be excited. “Look, a brush turkey!” Now, with the advent of their protection, all that has changed. Today they stride confidently around the suburbs, chortling to themselves and ripping up domestic gardens. Nothing is safe. They will even hop up into pot plants and rip them up, too — just for the hell of it.


Brush turkey

After losing my little vegie patch twice this year to brush turkeys, I went online to see if there was anything, anything, that might deter them. The web was full of the cries of irate gardeners, and not just from areas close to nature reserves and bush. Apparently the birds are striding around city suburbs as well. Fences don’t work; in spite of their heavy, ungainly appearance, the birds can get over fences ten, eleven feet high — ours like to fly up onto the carport port roof and walk about up there, their claws making nerve wracking sounds on the corrugated iron roofing.

Some people tried scarecrows, with differing results. The people across the road from me tried teddies.

Yard 15X8.5@72

Mostly, though, the consensus on the web was that nothing could be done. I liked my little herb and vegie patch; it provided a nice change from sweating over the content editing of my Brisbane novel. I liked to go out there when the going got tough and pull a few weeds, or just admire the silverbeet plants. Eventually I hit upon the idea of covering the patch with pieces of old aluminium fencing, which a neighbour kindly gave me. The turkeys still prowl about, but at least the parsley is looking healthy, poking up through the gaps in the fence, but something (not turkeys) is eating the silverbeet. And the marigolds.

Consensus on the web is that the only way of dealing with brush turkeys is the catch-and-remove method. You catch them and take them many miles away to the bush or a nature reserve, whichever comes first. As I don’t drive, this option is not available to me. Natural predators? They don’t seem to have any. The cat is no use; the birds are too big, you’d need a cougar to bring them down. As I watch them pacing around the garden in the late afternoon, my heart is full of trepidation. These birds breed every year. If we think it’s bad now, what’s it going to be like next year? And the year after that.


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Tropical cyclone Oswald, with its attendant winds of 140 kph and rain that looks set to cause worse flooding in south-east Queensland than the disastrous floods of 2011 has now moved south to New South Wales. Here, in South Golden Beach, only a few miles from the Queensland border, no one goes out. The streets are empty and strewn with debris, mostly leaves and branches from trees.

Oswald has now been officially downgraded to ex-tropical cyclone Oswald. For us, the worst of the wind was last night, and few of us got much sleep, Oswald had turned into a very unpredictable rain depression that carried within it mini-cyclones that could tear a town apart as one did yesterday in Bargara, a seaside township near Bundaberg.

Still, now at 2 p.m. it seems that we are over the worst. Wind gusts are down to around 70 kph and are predicted to drop further in the late evening. Oswald is slated to arrive in Sydney in the early hours of tomorrow morning, bringing with it the kind of torrential rain that has already flooded the CBDs of towns in south-east Queensland and is going to flood the capital city of Brisbane once more. The people in this area are exhausted: they barely survived the 2011 floods in which lives were lost and many homes were flooded to the rooftops. Most had just finished rebuilding or renovating; now, they must go through it all again. In some towns, the flood heights are predicted to be higher than in 2011. So we are lucky. So far, there have been not even been any power cuts, though most are well prepared with water, matches, torches, candles, food and gas burners.

Floods are not such a problem here. In fourteen years of living in South Golden Beach, the closest I’ve ever come to being flooded was on 30 June 2005, when the water reached to within six inches of the floorboards. Here, being so close to the coast, the biggest danger the village faces is from wind. There’s always the possibility that some cyclone with nothing better to do will wander in from the sea and wipe us out the way Cyclone Zoe did the little hamlet of Sheltering Palms four miles to the south of us, in 1974.

And so we count our blessings. We are overdue for a really bad cyclone. Fortunately, this wasn’t the one.

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