Roo Gully Diary - 2009



Roo Gully Diary - October 2009


The beginning of October saw the new intake of students
from Plymouth University in the UK, who joined us
to carry out their occupational placements.

From left to right:
Laura, Hannah, Leanne, Katie (who soon
became affectionately known as 'Myrt') and Claire.

First to check them out was Jessie.
Then Timmy and Emily introduced themselves.
Another little animal living inside the house was Maggie.
She was a Ringtail possum who acquired her name
after being attacked by magpies.
Having suffered quite severe injuries to her head
and back Maggie would be with us for a while.
Outside in the aviaries...
...the students met Mr. & Mrs Darcy,
our Tawny Frogmouths.
And Katie got to feed Scruff,
one of our kookaburras.
Kokkies Fed
Then they met Sadie, the matriarch of our mob,
who greeted them with her usual welcoming smile.
At dinner that evening, Laura quickly found out that Jessie has her own chair at the table!
Which she doesn't like sharing!
jess laura
The girls soon discovered the kangaroos have the freedom of the property.
Outside the house.
Randy Katie
And inside - when Sadie called in for her evening treat.
The final discovery of the day was that they would have company at night.
Poppy, the Brushtail possum, still lives in the roof with her ever growing family.
Health and Safety is extremely important at Roo Gully,
and so for their first week the students were put through their paces.
They brushed up on their CPR skills.
Snake Bandage
And learned a new skill.
First Aid for snake bites!
Something else they didn't have to consider too much when living in the UK
was the real and terrifying risk of bush fires.
Fire Day
We were 6 weeks away from the start of Bush Fire season
so they attended a Bush Fire Awareness day
where they had the opportunity to become familiar
with fire fighting equipment.
And there is always one who cannot resist
trying on the protective clothing!
Laura Fireman
During the rainy winter months we had started
the Roo Gully organic garden.

Now it was spring our hard work
was being rewarded with vegetables sprouting.

Inspired by our success
we planted the pumpkins, melons and shallots.
Garden Pots
And a trip to the local rubbish tip
provided us with all the pots we needed.
The weather was warming up, but we were still having some rain
which meant the grass was growing all over the property.

It was time to get our fire breaks started,
grass cut and spraying done.

Everybody worked hard, but also enjoyed the challenge.

Laura Spray
Evenings were a relaxing time with little Maggie,
whose injuries were now healing and her fur growing back.

Spring is also a busy time with people asking for snakes to be removed from their gardens.
This is a difficult task if they are out in the open.

And although this time we did actually see the snake before it escaped...

Snake Hunt
Snake Hunt
...most times the 'dangerous' reptile turned out to be a Bobtail lizard,
who although can look and act aggressively - and inflict a painful bite - are usually quite harmless.

Sadly the Bobtails are also out and about when people are using garden machinery,
and are often unseen in the long grass before being run over by Ride-On mowers.

Thankfully, even though some suffer serious injury we have been able to treat
and eventually release many of these creatures.

As the October weeks went by the immense stress and strain
of Carol's divorce and property settlement began to tell.
The Family Court was forcing the property to Auction on the 24th October
and, with 4 days to go, Carol made this final video appeal in the hope of saving the lives
of the wildlife that would have to be euthanased if the property sold.
Watch the Final Appeal.

Then came the actual day of the Auction.

The crowd gathered, and the Auctioneer began his work.
Thankfully no one was there to bid.
They were there to support Roo Gully, its work and Carol.

Watch the Auction.


Because of the insecurity Roo Gully had not taken in any orphaned joeys this season,
but with the property passed in at auction, and although still not secure
having been then placed for sale in the open market,
it was hoped it would be secure for long enough to offer 2 little ones a home.

Their names are Ned and Kelly.

Kelly was the kisser, whereas Ned preferred to suck his fingers.
Kelly Leanne
Ned Thumb
They were a welcome addition to the Roo Gully family
and everyone fell in love with them.
Joeys Bed
Ned Claire
Including Emily and Jessie who, because of the joey diversion,
found a couple of free laptops to check their e mails!

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Roo Gully Diary - November 2009

November got off to a good start
with the arrival of a young Western Brush wallaby named Aussie.
He was a very handsome young boy.
But as we all soon found out
he was very mischievous too.
We were very busy in November with many different species of injured birds being brought to us.
Sadly many had injuries that were inoperable
and so were humanely euthanased.
We were also called out to attend a rather unusual 'wildlife' emergency.
This young ferret, craving human companionship,
followed someone into the local Ambulance Sub Centre.
She was so friendly it was obvious she was someone's pet.

After spending the night at Roo Gully,
being spoiled by our students,
we eventually traced her human family
and they were re-united with Piglet the next day

This month we also got a call to take in another little guy
who needed a permanent home.
Another Ringtail possum
who we called Dennis.
Poor Dennis had lost the end of his tail,
which is not good for a marsupial who depends
on his 'ring' tail to climb in among the tall gum trees.

This species can either get on or be aggressive to each other,
so we housed Dennis next to Maggie for a couple of weeks - just to make sure.

Then came the night we put them together.

As we expected Maggie took over the enclosure.
But we were so pleased to see Dennis
actually following Maggie the next evening
and her accepting him.

Another animal in care was also doing really well.

Sarah, yet another Bobtail who had been injured by a Ride-On mower.
She suffered deep cuts to her back and tail, but was beginning to heal.

Educating the young is an important part of our work here.
So it was a pleasure to share Roo Gully with the very well behaved
and genuinely interested students from the Catholic Schools in Bridgetown and Manjimup.
And we always visit our senior and most respected citizens whenever we can.
Hospital Visit
It is therapeutic - them and us - to see how much they like interacting with our young orphaned wildlife.
And also good to see how much the nursing staff
enjoy our visits too - even the 'boss'!
Hospital Visit

But nothing pleases us more than to see someone
hold a joey as long as Kelly was and know that
person is thinking back to the special joey
she raised all those years ago.

Students from Plymouth University have been carrying out
their occupational placements since 2004.
So we were delighted when Dr Mairi Knight and Dr Sarah Collins,
lecturers at the university, came to visit for a week.
It was a huge bonus to the students,
the tutors and Roo Gully.
During Mairi and Sarah's visit we were also in negotiations
with people who had offered to become silent partners in the property.
The future looked a little less uncertain.
And even though there was a long way to go
we risked an early celebration.
Fire season was fast approaching
and so everyone was soon back to work.
The gutters had to be cleaned out to protect the house
from flying embers in the event of a bush fire.
Laura Gutters
Mowing Probs
And the fire breaks needed to be finished.
Which was not easy when old machinery
kept breaking down.
Thankfully the new Ride-On mower
never missed a beat and everything was finished on time.

In fact everything was finished on the very day
the fire plane flew over inspecting properties!
After all the hard work the students took some time out
to go canoeing on the Blackwood River.
Seems all went well until they tried to leave the water!
Back at Roo Gully it was time to get the joeys used to the outside world.
Because he was so little and a different species to the big roos,
Aussie was restricted to the back area.
Kelly and Ned were far more nervous about their new surroundings.
And so were never left unsupervised.
The month was ending on a positive note.
All the joeys were healthy and growing fast.
Joeys Feed
Even the organic vegetables were flourishing.
And better still progress was being made in securing the property.

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Roo Gully Diary - December 2009

December got off to good start with the arrival
of a juvenile Tawny Frogmouth.
Errol had been hit by a vehicle
and although very concussed didn't have any fractures.
He recovered quite well,
but was too young to fly properly and hunt for himself.
Next to arrive was Lauren.
She is Carol's second cousin's partner and came to Roo Gully
as part of her around the world adventure.
It didn't take her long to settle in,
and fall in love with Ned.
Ned Lauren

At long last we received the news that the property was secure,
and with it Roo Gully was secure too with a long lease to use the property.

It had been a very long, stressful and emotional journey,
a battle we had fought for nearly 6 years, but we had won!
Roo Gully was going to continue.

We celebrated in style!!

Now we could move forward. We were no longer 'hostages' to the legal system,
and we could start planning improvements both inside and outside the house.
Despite the heat, everyone was eager to be involved,
and a long overdue lick of paint was applied
to the bathrooms and laundry.
A bit more complicated was assembling the new barbeque.
But whatever the task, and despite the heat
there were plenty of smiles at Roo Gully.
Our Volunteer and Student program is always popular
with some applying up to 2 years ahead, but it was never as popular as this month.
Beck who had stayed with us the year before
desperately wanted to come back.
Ned Beck
Joeys Feed

And Heidi, who has been volunteering with us every year
since January 2006, also returned.

Fortunately not everyone slept at Roo Gully!

Ned was a favourite with many.
But it was Aussie who stole Heidi's heart this year.
And he really was growing into a handsome young boy.
However, he was also becoming the most independent wallaby
we had ever raised.
Aussie Eat
It was good to see Ned and Kelly growing in confidence too.
They were beginning to explore, although soon came hopping home if they felt afraid.
Joeys Hop
Out in the mob it was the usual behaviour for this time of year - mating season.
Poor Bron got caught up in this unusual threesome
with Alfie and Paco.

But it was the wild bucks who were causing the real problems.
No matter how many times we removed them,
they just broke down our fences and were back inside again.

After a few months we gave up, the 'damage' was probably done anyway.
But it also gave us the opportunity to offer a permanent home to a large buck
who had been living on the outer for many years.


Goliath is old, arthritic and bears the battle scars
of his years as a dominant male.

But he was never aggressive with us.

So, we thought it was nice that he could spend
what may be his last summer with plenty of feed and water.

The old boy had earned his retirement.

Sarah, the Bobtail lizard, was doing well.
She was eating very well.
And Laura became her main carer.
Sarah Laura
Sarah and laura
Spending many hours making sure Sarah
stayed out of trouble during her daily walkabouts.
The only thing holding up her release was that she was not shedding her skin
which we needed her to do so we could be assured her wounds were properly healed.
So Sarah had a regular bath in tepid water
in the hope it would help her slough.
Sarah Bath
It was a slow process.
But we know Sarah and Laura were in no hurry.

Because both appeared to enjoy
their special reptile human bonding time in the sunshine.

Maggie and Dennis, the Ringtail possums, were also doing well.

After weeks of Maggie dominating their enclosure
and poor Dennis being relegated to minor sleeping accommodation,
it was a delight to open the main sleeping box and find them snuggled up together.

Maggie Dennis

All Plymouth University students have to carry out a Placement project during their time with us,
and many also choose to collect the data for their Final Year Dissertation Study.

Hannah was getting well under way making her feeding devices
for her Dissertation into Ringtail Possum Feeding Enrichment.

But, as you imagine, trying to observe wildlife is not easy,
and poor Laura was experiencing huge problems with her Placement project.

In previous years there had been many parrots on our dried up lawn.
But this year it seemed that only one solitary parrot
appeared at any one time.
One parrot that seemed to be teasing a frustrated student.
Oh well, that is often the way it is in science.

But at Roo Gully we still like to encourage, and for the first time
Carol presented our Roo Gully prize (a collection of books)
to the local school St. Mary's at their Graduation and Thanksgiving.

During the years of uncertainty we have not been idle.
Instead we have been forming strong associations with other organisations
in the hope we can expand our Student program.

Laura and Hannah were the first students to take advantage of this with stay at Peel Zoo.
And both thoroughly enjoyed their interaction with the many species there.

Peel Zoo
Peel Zoo

Christmas came early for 2 of the students.
Claire received a bouquet from her dad in the UK.
And Laura's boyfriend sent her roses.

Watch Video


Christmas is usually difficult for the students and volunteers,
because it is often their very first Christmas away from family and close friends at home.
So we always try and make their Roo Gully Christmas in the heat of summer a bit special.
However this year it wasn't difficult - Roo Gully was secure,
so Christmas was going to be even MORE extra special!

Sleep In
The students got away to a good start
with a joint 'sleep over' on Christmas Eve.
Even Emily and the joeys got into the spirit of Christmas.
Christmas morning was the giving of gifts to everyone - animals too!
But the highlight of the day was Christmas dinner
which we shared with good friends.
Everyone had a great time,
especially Randy who just spent the day relaxing in the sunshine.
As he usually does!
The day ended with a glorious sunset,
which cast a wondrous glow over Roo Gully.
Bron Carol
It was soon the end of what was a tumultuous year.
But it was also the end of a very worrying and emotional period
in the history of our wildlife sanctuary.
We all breathed a sigh of relief.
And looked forward to the New Year.
The start of a new beginning.

So from everyone at Roo Gully,
we send our sincere and heartfelt thanks
for all your support over the years.

And wish you and your families
a Prosperous, Healthy and Safe 2010.

On behalf of everyone at Roo Gully we thank you for caring

Photos courtesy of Roo Gully, Katie Leigh, Leanne Bartlett, Laura Middleton,
Hannah, Brown, Claire Selby, Lauren Mumby and Rebecca Smith.

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