Friday, January 24, 2014

" a ghost wearing flip-flops...I'm not heavy..."

Maria Island is one of the easier islands off of Tasmania to get too.
The island had both a population base and industry off an on until around 1950.
(I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I just spent a few days with many people who are experts)
The island has a unique aspect of the penal colony history, as they had schools and agricultural farms set up, for convicts on their probationary periods.
Can you imagine? A system set up to actually help the convicts acquire skills to transition back into society?
The island was also the first place in Australia with electricity.
Not least, Maria Island is now being inhabited with healthy Tasmanian Devils, as one of the reserve populations as there is still no cure for the tumors.

I can't believe I waited so long to go.  This opportunity came to me via the volunteer weeding I have been doing with the  'Friends of Peter Murrel Reserve' group.
In part, I have not gone because I didn't have anyone to go with, and there is a drive plus a ferry ride.  There is no public car transport to the island, only walking and bikes.  Except for the few people working on the island.  The rangers only had a few vehicles.  Everyone has to take in all their supplies including water and take everything back off (there is nowhere to put any rubbish, this also has to be taken off).
However, I did go in style (so to speak)-
I went with volunteers who have been going for decades.
They knew everyone from the ferry captain to all the rangers.
We stayed in a small 'bush shack' that is sometimes used for the part time summer ranger (she was off the island the days we were on).

A free car ride/ ferry ride, accommodation, plus good company for the low, low price of about 18 hours of fence painting. We worked in a large group and we were very well taken care of by the Rangers who provided tea breaks (hobbit style! first tea, second tea, lunch, after lunch tea).  White sand beaches, star filled skies, friendly local animals, interesting rare birds, and lots of history. I found out there are nice camp sites all on unspoiled terrain. I definitely have aspirations of being a long time volunteer to the of the upkeep of the island.  
The list for volunteering seems endless, but if you just pick a place your interested in, or a place nearby- once you send an email- people will help you from there.

Pictured here you see a small section of fence, the shack where we stayed, and some nice long views- and of course a very handsome wombat.


1 comment:

Jeannie said...

That's some mighty fine fence painting.