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Sunday 22 April 2007

Seeking sanctuary in Healesville

By Darren Stones

Day trips from Melbourne abound and a visit to Healesville Sanctuary is sure to please most. Located approximately one hour’s drive from Melbourne, the sanctuary specializes in exhibiting, rehabilitating and caring for Australia’s unique wildlife.

The Tasmanian devil population has attracted much publicity in recent times due to a dramatic decline in the last decade as a result of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). The sanctuary is one of four Australian mainland locations actively participating in Project Ark which has been initiated by the Tasmanian Government.

Eighteen devils have been transferred from disease free areas of western Tasmania to Healesville as part of an insurance population to help protect the species from extinction.

The Birds of Prey show is a scheduled highlight each day at 12.00pm and 2.30pm in a small amphitheatre setting. Keepers interact with birds such as the peregrine falcon, wedge-tailed eagle, black-breasted buzzard and barking owl.

Black-winged stilts, dingoes, reptiles, lyrebirds, kangaroos, koalas, pelicans, platypus, emus, kookaburras and fruit bats are just some of the large variety of animals at the sanctuary to view as you wander around the grounds.

Indigenous culture can be experienced on Saturdays, and other special times as advertised, as Murrundindi performs a boomerang throwing display and plays the didgeridoo. At the completion of his entertaining show, souvenir boomerangs can be purchased from him for $10.00 each. Murrindindi is quite a character and has the audience in fits of laughter as a result of his dry wit.

A licensed bistro, kiosk, numerous picnic areas, a playground and souvenir shop are some of the other facilities available for visitors to the sanctuary.

For admission prices, opening hours and other information call: 03 5957 2000 or check their web site .

Healesville Sanctuary – savour the experience.

View my short slideshow of images from the Healesville Sanctuary on YouTube.

Sunday 1 April 2007

Bermagui Seaside Fair 2007

By Darren Stones - Freelance photojournalist

The 10th Bermagui Seaside Fair was held on Saturday 10 March 2007 and what a spectacular event it turned out to be. Thousands of locals from the region were proud as punch to partake and witness a fun-filled day of activities.

10th Bermagui Seaside Fair

Festivities commenced on the main wharf at the Bermagui Boat Harbour at 8am with the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony. Bishop Allan Ewing conducted the blessing and also addressed the gathering of locals regarding their continued dedication in making the annual festival a continued success.

Bishop Allan Ewing blessing the fleet

During the ceremony, the dapper dressed gentlemen from the Bermagui Probus Club Men’s Choir sang hymns, and other local singers and musicians performed.

Bermagui Probus Club Men’s Choir

The majority of events were conducted at the Dickinson Oval precinct and a large crowd attended.

Bermagui Seaside Fair announcer, June Tarlinton, said “They estimate there will be around 10,000 people and judging from what I’m seeing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are fairly close to the mark.”

June Tarlinton - Fair Announcer

“The street parade is extremely popular," said June when referring to the amount of participants and spectators.

“The Bega Vintage Car Club has forty cars involved this year and they’ve never had this many ever. The way the cars have been restored is awesome.”

Hands are full

Well hello there

A real juggling act

As part of the fair each year the Bermagui Citizen of the Year is announced. This year's recipient of the award was Candy Craine, who was recognised for her tireless work in caring for sick and injured native animals on her property.

Candi Craine - Bermagui Citizen Of The Year 2007

June Tarlinton said “Candi Craine was nominated by persons within the community and she was a very worthy recipient of the award.”

“She has put a lot of effort into rehabilitating animals since the loss of her husband.”

Candi is also an avid photographer and she exhibited many of her quality wildlife photographs at the photographic exhibition at the Bermagui Country Club during the Seaside Fair.

Celebrity entertainers, Frankie J Holden and Michelle Pettigrove, were invited to perform and compere the Bermagui Idols competition. The competition catered for local talent and the performers came out in droves to strut their stuff on stage for the gathered throng.

Frankie J Holden & Michelle Pettigrove

Winner of the Bermagui Idol primary school age section was the highly talented nine-year-old Sophie Halliday, who performed a cover version of the song Who Knew by Pink. Judging for the competition was carried out in a novel way, and this was done by gauging the level of audience applause when each contestant’s name was announced.

When Sophie’s name was announced, the applause and screaming was deafening. You could have come to the conclusion that her family in attendance numbered 500. She was undoubtedly the star of this year’s Bermagui Idol competition.

Singer Sophie Halliday

Young local band, Overdrive, belted out a few tunes for the large and receptive crowd.


The street parade, sponsored by Australian regional and rural broadband internet provider, activ8me, was a roaring success as it made its way along the spectator-lined one kilometre stretch of Lamont Street.

activ8me staff

Colourful crowd

The Batemans Bay Soldiers Club Pipe Band lead the colourful parade which included floats representing local schools, various community groups, the Bega Vintage Car Club, SES and Rural Fire Service, Bermagui Surf Lifesaving Club members, Bermagui CWA and street performers.

Pipe Band Leader

Bermagui Nippers

Novelty events were conducted for kids, and kids at heart, with the Chuck-A-Tuna competition proving more than a handful for participants. A little bending of the rules by some was detected, however it all added to the fun and frivolity of the afternoon.

The Winners

Local Aboriginal dance group, Gulaga Dancers, were in attendance and performed traditional style dances for the crowd.

Gulaga Dancers

Carnival rides, a spectacular fireworks display in the evening over Horseshoe Bay, and a sandcastle competition were also part of the day’s festivities.

Sandcastle Competition Competitors

Dozens of stalls were erected on Dickinson Oval with stallholders exhibiting and selling local produce and products, advertising local and regional services and businesses, and supplying food and beverages for the masses.

Bermagui Surf Club Stall

On Endeavour Point Headland, Sculpture on the Edge featured sculptures by Alan Watt, Richard Moffatt, Michael Le Grand and the provocative Melbourne sculptor Greg Taylor.

Bermagui, approximate population 1120, is situated in the gorgeous Sapphire Coast region of New South Wales and is renowned as one of the best, if not the best, places for marlin fishing in Australia. It’s also home to a fishing fleet, and is close to Montague Island which hosts numerous animal species.

Catch Of The Day - Bermagui Wharf

Other local attractions in Bermagui are the scenic Horseshoe Bay, the Bermagui Boat Harbour where you can witness the unloading of the catch of the day, and the Bermagui Blue Pool.

Bermagui Blue Pool

The historic Bermagui Beach Hotel exhibits fishing memorabilia in the main bar, lounge and dining areas. It’s also a top spot for a soothing ale or lemonade. Meals are hearty and excellent value for money.

High quality accommodation at affordable rates is available at the Bermagui Beach Hotel and the ultra modern Harbourview Motel.

Bermagui is a friendly and scenic seaside town located 378 kilometres south of Sydney, Australia. Put it on your list of must see places - it's a gem.

Accommodation recommendations

Bermagui Beach Hotel

Harbourview Motel


Sapphire Coast - Bermagui

Visit New South Wales - Bermagui

Bermagui Seaside Fair 2007