Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : January 11, 2017 Contents PAGE 20 - THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2017
Have you ever wondered about an old and
rusting boat that appears to have just ploughed
into the shore on the approach to the Tooradin
How did it get there? And who owns it?
The vessel is named the Edwina May, and lo -
cal maritime historian John Jansson believes
that it was used in its working years as a mud
hopper carrying dredged material away to be
It was moored in Cleelands Bight off Ne-
whaven for several years, before being taken to
Its owner was William Maxwell Curtain,
known as Max.
The story goes that Max could not find a deep
enough berth to work on her, so he simply
beached her at the airfield.
Max and his son Ray also built boats in their
backyard in Dandenong.
One of their productions was a 23 metre (75
foot) steel frame ferry the Darwin Princess,
which was launched at Tooradin.
Ray took the Princess up to Darwin.
It was licensed to carry 200 passengers and
was used for a variety of ferrying activities in-
cluding transporting Telecom employees work-
ing for Radio Australia.
Unfortunately, Ray disappeared with the Dar-
win Princess on December 25 1974 during Cy-
The wreck was found 29 years later, in 2004.
The Coroner’s finding into Ray’s death was
that he perished at sea when the vessel sank
due to dangerous winds and high seas.
Max also owned the ferry Darwin Contessa
which was brought down to Phillip Island in
March 1980, renamed the Southern Contessa,
and operated by David Leadbetter as a tourism
ferry, which took visitors on scenic tours and
out to Seal Rocks.
Sadly, one crew member was lost overboard
on the trip down the east coast to Phillip Island.
She left for Queensland in 1981, a year later,
when David replaced it with the ferry the Mat-
The Edwina May, trapped in the Mangroves at Tooradin
Trapped in the mangroves
PARKS Victoria are implementing a Pest
Control and Monitoring Program to protect
the Southern Brown Bandicoot Isoodon
obesulus obesulus within a number of re-
serves within Bass Coast and Southern
The Southern Brown Bandicoot Protec-
tion program was created as a requirement
by the former Linking Melbourne Authority
(LMA) as part of the Peninsula Link freeway
development, which was later transitioned
across to VicRoads in 2015.
Parks Victoria as the Land Manager will
be launching the Southern Brown Bandi-
coot Protection program across a number of
reserves along the Bass Coast and Southern
An action plan has been developed for the
next 10 years detailing a range of strategies
to protect and improve habitat condition to
support populations at Wonthaggi Heath-
lands Nature Conservation Reserve, Kilcun-
da - Harmers Haven Coastal Reserve and
Adams Creek Nature Conservation Reserve.
The Southern Brown Bandicoot is a
ground-dwelling marsupial with a grey-
brown coat and a long tapering snout.
They play an important role in the eco -
system by turning over soil which helps in-
crease the rate of leaf litter decomposition
and nutrient cycling.
So with declining numbers it will have a
cascading effect on plant diversity, and spe -
cies composition in the Southern Gippsland
Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger South
Gippsland and Bass Gerard Delaney said
that one of the major threats to the South-
ern Brown Bandicoot is predation by pest
animals such as Red Foxes.
“ We will be engaging with the local com-
munity to discuss the Southern Brown
Bandicoot program as it is rolled out over
the coming months due to the expansion of
pest control activities needing to be under-
taken at these Reserves, ” s aid Mr Delaney.
The Southern Brown Bandicoot Protec-
tion Program will assist Parks Victoria in
understanding and enhancing the popula-
tion within these Reserves by reducing the
major threat of predation by pest animals.
“ We envisage this project will generate
subsequent benefits for the community and
as the project progresses we are seeking to
work closer with neighbouring landowners
and farmers to further reduce the number
of Red Foxes locally.
“Additionally, it will also hope to improve
the habitat of other significant species such
as the Hooded Plover, ” s aid Mr Delaney.
Endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoots
have successfully established themselves on
Churchill Island, having been introduced in
2015, marking a positive start to an ambi-
tious trial release designed to save the spe -
cies from extinction in Victoria.
Endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoots have successfully established themselves on
Churchill Island, having been introduced in 2015. A program to protect the Southern
Brown Bandicoot is now underway in parts of Bass Coast and South Gippsland.
Southern brown bandicoot
protection program update
A MCRAE Avenue Cowes
resident was amazed to come
across a pack of six seagulls
attacking a pair of endangered
hooded plovers and their two
chicks on a local beach last
The resident, who does not
wish to be named, said he
wanted to alert everyone to the
incident, as he is sick of dogs
being blamed for harming
hooded plover chicks.
The man said that he was
walking his dog on a lead on
the beach close to the water-
line between Red Rocks and
Justice Road close to nightfall,
when he saw a kerfuffle ahead.
He was aware of the hooded
plover nest site in the area,
and as he came closer saw six
seagulls attacking the endan-
“The parents were trying to
protect their chicks,” the man
“One of the adult birds was
injured when a seagull dived
on top of it,” he said.
The man disturbed the me-
lee, and scared the seagulls
He believes dogs get a bad
rap, and suggests that seagulls
are to blame for the poor fledg-
ing rate of hooded plovers.
A volunteer with the Friends
of the Hooded Plover group
described the man’s observa-
tions as “interesting,” but said
that dogs off leash are a real
problem on the beaches as far
as the survival of hooded plo-
ver chicks go.
“Yes, seagulls are predators,
but the adult plovers can hold
their own more readily against
seagulls, and protect their
chicks, than against dogs.”
The volunteer said that
hooded plovers feign injury
as part of their defence strat-
egy against predators, and this
is what the gentleman on the
beach would have observed in
the seagull attack.
Bird Life Australia, in its De-
cember issue, commented that
while the array of predators is
vast, one of the greatest threats
to young birds is pet dogs.
The magazine had the fol-
lowing to say about the battle
to ensure the survival of the
hooded plover species.
The life of a breeding hood-
ed plover is not easy.
Successfully hatching eggs
and raising chicks on a beach
while dodging people, dogs,
ravens, gulls, raptors, foxes
and high tides would hardly
be a walk in the park for any
But for a dainty beach
nesting bird, with few de -
fences other than camou-
flage and distraction, the 28
days it takes to incubate the
eggs and the further 35 days
it takes for the chicks to
fledge are enormously chal-
Helping improve the odds
are the hundreds of on ground
volunteers, who keep vigil on
the beaches throughout the
long breeding season, moni-
tor the progress of nesting
pairs and manage the many
threats facing the birds, par-
ticularly those posed by recre-
ational beach users.
strates that nests that are
managed on busy beaches
have a 400 per cent better
chance of successfully fledg-
Such outstanding results
would not be possible without
the project’s volunteers.
Without them, hooded plo-
vers may well have been los-
ing the battle to survive.
Daniel Lees, Phillip Island
Nature Parks hooded plover
protection co-ordinator, said
this week that the island has
an average of six fledglings per
“Thus far five of 26 nests on
Phillip Island have success-
fully hatched, but none have
fledged.” Mr Lees said.
“We do have chicks on the
ground at Surf Beach (one),
Smith’s Beach (two), on the
beach Between Red Rocks
and Justice Rd (3) and on
the beach near Bellavista Rd
Fingers are crossed that
with the help of dedicated vol-
unteers doing their utmost to
protect the chicks until they
fledge and can safely fly away
from predators, and co-opera-
tion from dog owners in keep-
ing their dogs on a leash on
beaches where the nests are
located, this endangered spe-
cies may be in with a chance
off a successful fledging rate
Data gathered demonstrates that hooded plover nests that are managed on busy beaches
have a 400 per cent better chance of successfully fledging this endangered species’ chicks.
Life is not easy for our
endangered hooded plovers
Adult hooded plovers on the foreshore waterline.
A proposal on Christmas Day
IT WAS an especially great Christmas
this year for the Brooks family, of Vent-
The couple’s two sons made the long
trek from Western Australian to spend
Christmas at home.
Son Duncan arrived from the west
to celebrate the festive season with his
wife Sue, and daughters, Amelia and
As did Milton, who proposed to his
girlfriend Trish Burke on Ventnor
Beach on bended knee on Christmas
Happily, she said yes.
A third son Duncan, home for the fes-
tive season and bringing along another
Trish and Lisa, from England, joined in
To add to the excitement was the real-
isation that there will soon be two Trish
Brooks in the happy family.
Milton Brooks and his fiancee Trish Burke are
pictured on Ventnor Beach, where the happy couple
became engaged on Christmas Day.
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