tortoise logo Wagga Wagga, NSW

Mon 30 Mar 1998

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While having breakfast we saw a very dark Kangaroo hopping past the window towards the bush. Taking a walk in the appropriate direction after breakfast we saw it again standing in the open looking at us. After a few minutes, it disappeared into the bush. Thus, our first sighting of a wild Kangaroo.

In the morning, we visited the John Lake Centre, part of the Inland Fishery Research Centre just outside Narrandera.

The place was deserted when we arrived and we would have left in disgust but someone turned up to conduct the tour.

He was not a guide, who was away doing something else, but one of the fish breeders. His talk was full of fascinating information about the fishes of the great Murray-Darling river system.

Both the Murray Cod and the Trout Cod are in severe decline and the other native fish are not maintaining their populations.

The Centre breeds four species, Murray Cod, Trout Cod, Silver Perch and Golden Perch.

They keep around 200 brood fish in ponds and, when the conditions are right, stimulate ovulation by hormone injection and manually harvest the ova from the females, add milt collected from the males, hatch the eggs and feed the hatchlings in tanks until they are about 5 millimetres long and then put them out in fertilized ponds to grow in the zooplankton rich water. When the fry are about ten weeks old they are harvested and released.

This last year they released 1.5 million fry into the dams and rivers of the system.

In addition to the guide and a couple of research scientists, there are four permanent staff at the centre. Between them they do all the above, catch the brood stock, survey the dams and rivers of the system and, since their last budget cut which took away their gardener, mow the grass and tend the gardens as well as stand in for the guide when he is not there.

Oh, how good it is to be governed by economic rationalists.

And on to Wagga Wagga, the largest inland town in Australia, notable for . . .

We stayed in a caravan park by the river adjacent to Wagga Beach. This is the only stretch of accessible sand for any number of kilometres and though it is only 20 metres long and 3 metres wide, It is floodlit and has its own lifesaving club.

From our point of view, the most important feature is the large population of Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Little Corella and Galah, very noisy in the evening but a beautiful sight nevertheless.

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Created on Tue, 31 Mar 1998 - Last revised 08.01.2002