Environmental & Conservation

Theft creates outrage at the Murie

Rebecca Shepherd next to a scarred tree marking the location of the burial site.

By Dominic Geiger

Condobolin Aboriginal Elders are outraged following the theft of a chain used to mark the location of a children’s burial site on the grounds once belonging to the Murie Aboriginal Settlement, just south of Condobolin.

The theft is thought to have occurred sometime between the evening of Friday July 22 and the morning of Sunday July 24.

It has also been reported that firewood has been cut and removed from the area, which is an offense given the Murie site is administered by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) as a travelling stock route.

CEO of the Condobolin Local Aboriginal Land Council, Rebecca Shepherd, said it was disappointing the theft had occurred considering the amount of work the community had put into the project.

“For the Elders and the school kids who worked on this project to see it treated in this way, it’s as though it just didn’t matter,” she said.

“The Elders are talking about putting a pad lock on the outside gate as a last option, but that would just create a challenge for people who might want to break in.”

The Lachlan Catchment Management Authority (LCMA) recently recognised the work done preserving the burial site during an awards ceremony in Cowra.

“There are between twelve and fourteen children buried here,” Rebecca said.

“The OEH came out last year and helped locate the bodies resting near the scarred tree using ground penetrating radar.

“It’s not just Aboriginal children who were buried here either, as the Murie was a place where all different sorts of people have lived together over the years.”

NSW Farmers Association calls for bounty on foxes

By Dominic Geiger

The NSW Farmers Association (NFA) has called for a bounty to be placed on foxes and wild dogs to help reduce the pests’ growing numbers across the state.

The bounty would work along the lines of the current Victorian model, with $10 being awarded per fox and $50 per wild dog.

Chairperson of the Conservation and Research Management Committee at the NFA, Rod Young, said a change in livestock running practises combined with a good season had allowed fox numbers to explode.

“Years ago, there used to be a lot of people shooting for hides, but that stopped when the [fur] industry went,” he said.

“The sheep population has also dropped to a historical low; where you used to have groups of sheep farmers who were collectively baiting for foxes, you now have cattle farmers who don’t bait and leave the sheep farmers isolated.

“A bounty may be an incentive for property owners to allow responsible people onto their land to control fox numbers.

“If combined with baiting, a bounty could be successful in significantly reducing fox numbers.”

Mr Young stressed the importance of only allowing responsible shooters onto properties.

“Obviously it would be up to landowners to police what sort of person goes onto their property,” he said.

Lachlan LHPA senior ranger, Craig Ridley, said he was concerned a bounty would encourage irresponsible people to go out shooting, regardless of whether landowners picked the right people for the job.

“I’d be extremely cautious introducing a bounty,” he said.

“It has a downside, and that’s the idiot factor; we could start losing livestock and, God forbid, people.

“It could encourage idiots to shoot on roadsides.

“The best approach in reducing fox numbers is integrated pest management, which involves a group of landholders conducting coordinated baiting as well as possible shooting.”

10,000 trees to be planted

Emma Patton (3) has a big job on her hands helping her parents Bruce and Wendy Patton plant their 10,000 trees.By Dominic Geiger

Planting 10,000 trees is a bit tougher than your average Sunday garden tidy-up.

But for members of the Ootha-Derriwong Landcare group, Wendy and Bruce Patton, the end result will make all the hard work worth it.

“We lost a lot of trees during the drought, so now we’re planting new trees to help prevent wind and soil erosion as well as to encourage bird life,” Bruce said.

“The trees also help to provide shelter breaks for stock and lambing ewes.”

Bruce said when all 10,000 trees were planted, there would be 15 kilometres of tree line through several private properties.

“We’re linking remnant vegetation to create biodiversity corridors,” he said.

“We got two government grants as part of the Caring for Our Country initiative, with one ending this August and the other ending this time next year.”

Wendy and Bruce’s efforts are particularly relevant this week, with thousands of green thumbed volunteers across the nation set to get their hands dirty in support of National Tree Day on Sunday July 31.

For information on National Tree Day activities with the Ootha-Derriwong Landcare group, go to Planet Ark’s website at planetark.org.

Coulton’s Catch-Up

MARK COULTON MP FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PARKES

25th July

The presence of mining coal and coal seam gas exploration in the Parkes Electorate has increased in recent years. A large section of my electorate has been identified as containing either coal or coal seam gas resources. While the potential for these resources is enormous, it is essential that this is balanced against the ongoing ability for this area to continue as a major food producer.

The communities of Bellata, Moree, Tooraweenah and Narrabri are facing significant exploration and development in coal seam gas. Many primary producers in these areas have contacted me regarding their concerns about the mining of coal seam gas. There is a lot of uncertainty of the risks associated with mining coal seam gas, especially in terms of agricultural productivity and the potential adverse effects on underground aquifers.

There is much misinformation circulating in these communities, and that combined with a lack of reliable information is adding to growing anxiety.

The Senate Committee for Rural Affairs and Transport is conducting an inquiry into the management of the Murray-Darling Basin and in particular the impact of mining coal seam gas in the Basin.

The inquiry will investigate the economic, social and environmental impact of mining coal seam gas and will focus on the sustainability of water, property rights of landholders, prime agricultural land, associated health impacts and impacts on regional communities.

This inquiry will provide the opportunity for people to raise their concerns and issues directly with the Government through written submissions and also public hearings that will be held by the committee in areas where coal seam gas exploration is taking place.

I have made a submission to the inquiry encouraging the committee to hold public forums in the communities of Narrabri and Tooraweenah. People in these areas have been looking for factual information in order to make reasonable and educated decisions in relation to water management, agriculture and coal seam gas.

I believe it would be useful for this committee to fully investigate any links between mining and coal seam gas activities with any possible adverse effects on underground aquifers. I also believe that an inquiry in these areas would enable the resource companies a forum to explain the extent of their proposed activities as well as giving local farmers an opportunity to voice their concerns.

I would strongly encourage any person that is concerned with the impact of mining coal seam gas to consider preparing a submission to the inquiry. The submissions are not required to be lengthy and I would suggest referring to the terms of reference below as a guide to structuring your submission.

Terms of Reference to address in your submission:

  • The Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee will examine the economic, social and environmental impacts of mining coal seam gas on:
  • the sustainability of water aquifers and future water licensing arrangements;
  • the property rights and values of landholders;
  • the sustainability of prime agricultural land and Australia’s food task;
  • the social and economic benefits or otherwise for regional towns and the effective management of relationships between mining and other interests; and
  • other related matters including health impacts.

MDBA socio-economic report released

Compiled by Dominic Geiger

The Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has recently released a report into how last year’s guide basin plan would have affected the socio-economic situations of communities if it had been implemented without review.

The report, which the MDBA describes as an “interesting retrospective on what would have been the impact of the guide on basin communities”, shows the guide could have put many irrigation dependent communities throughout the basin at risk.

A spokesperson for the MDBA said the report has allowed the organisation to provide a balanced starting point from which to approach water reform in the forthcoming Draft Basin Plan, which is due to be released later this month.

“I want to assure communities that although the report’s only just come out, the consultants worked closely with the Authority over the past few months to update us on their findings so that we could feed this information into our work on the draft.”

Among the at risk communities identified in the report are the Lachlan Shire towns of Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo.

According to the report, “[the two] towns are totally dependent on irrigated agriculture [and] there is a strong concern that reduced irrigation in the catchment will see [significant] population decline.”

“The remaining population will, to a large extent, be dependent on government support resulting in a significant level of disadvantage in the towns,” the report said.

NSW Farmers Association CEO, Matt Brand, said the report confirms the results of the Association’s own survey of basin residents.

“Our survey found one in every three farmers surveyed believe the Draft Plan could force them to exit agriculture, potentially closing the door on generations of farming history,” he said.

The Association also said it questioned how effective the report would be given the draft basin plan was due to be released at the end of this month.

“How can the community be confident the Authority will have the time to consider the findings of this report when it’s been released at the eleventh hour?” Mr Brand said.

“NSW Farmers is calling on the MDBA to heed the warnings of its own research, and work toward delivering a plan that will protect the social fabric of the Basin.

“Basin communities need a Plan that is flexible enough to adjust allocations – to farmers and the environment; to seasonal conditions.”

Native birds bearing the brunt of bad baits

A Black Shouldered Kite; one of the species of birds of prey disappearing from the Lachlan area. Picture courtesy of Terry Evans.

By Dominic Geiger

Condobolin resident Michael Sealey used to see all manner of birds of prey while driving along the Parkes Road.

Lately however, he’s noticed a few of the species have been disappearing.

“Numbers have definitely gone down,” he said.

“It’s mostly the smaller raptors, the kestrels and black shouldered kites, who feed on mice that have disappeared.

“I find [these birds] interesting, so I’ve noticed they’re no longer around.

“I regularly drive on the Parkes Road and I used to see them all the time but not anymore.

“The poisonous mouse baits are to blame and they’re going to kill a lot more native birds.”

Michael isn’t alone in his concerns; Birds Australia Conservation Manager, Samantha Vine, said raptor numbers have been declining anywhere mice numbers have become a problem.

“With a mouse plague affecting areas of eastern and southern Australia, this should be a time of feasting for many of Australia’s birds,” she said.

“Unfortunately, some mouse baits, particularly illegal baits, have the potential to turn the feast into an untimely death for [these] birds.

“Small carnivorous birds such as kestrels, falcons and owls may be killed when they eat poisoned mice.

“When used correctly, registered chemicals such as zinc phosphide and bromadiolone present a low level of risk to wildlife.

“The real problem occurs when farmers resort to making their own, illegal baits using cocktails of chemicals, including insecticides.

“We have every sympathy for landholders who’ve struggled through drought, floods, locusts and now, a mice plague.

“However illegal mixtures can have far-reaching effects on humans, pets, wildlife and the environment.”

Proprietor of Owen’s Rural Supplies in Condobolin, Simone Beattie, said it was simple desperation that led some farmers to mix their own baits.

“There are a few different baits that are available however the safer baits such as MouseOff (zinc phosphate) aren’t readily accessible,” she said.

“So the shortage in these baits is a contributing factor.

“I think the mice will become less of a problem now as they’re starting to disappear but it’s going to all start up again in spring.”

CSU academic throws support behind ag benefits of carbon tax

Compiled by Dominic Geiger

Farmers who take advantage of new policies introduced alongside the Federal Government’s carbon tax initiative could ultimately be financially better off according to a Charles Sturt University (CSU) academic.

Professor at the Institute for Land, Water and Society at CSU, Kevin Parton, said there were three main government initiatives introduced which will provide benefits to farmers who chose to move towards a carbon neutral future.

“The first of these is the Carbon Farming Initiative whereby the government has allocated $250 million to purchase carbon offsets for agricultural projects not covered under the Kyoto protocol,” he said.

“The second is the $429 million Carbon Farming Futures initiative which is dedicated towards research into getting a clearer picture of soil carbon offsets.

“It’s about researching the carbon sequestering possibilities of soil during different farming activities.

“The third is the biodiversity fund, which has had almost a billion dollars allocated to pay for revegetation in high conservation areas.

“This means some farmers may be paid to reforest certain high conservation areas of their property to help protect biodiversity.

“I’m not saying there won’t be costs [associated with the tax], but particularly astute farmers may be able to gain from all three initiatives.”

Contrary to Professor Parton’s support of the scheme, the NSW Farmers Association (NFA) has announced it is “extremely concerned” about the impact a carbon price of $23 per tonne will have on farmers, even though the agriculture sector and diesel will not be covered by the Federal Government’s carbon tax proposal.

NFA President, Charles Armstrong, said the Prime Minister’s assurances that Australian families won’t be worse off doesn’t seem to apply to families in the bush.

“Under a carbon price of $23 per tonne, the average grain grower can expect to lose $3,000 each year within the first five years,” he said.

“Despite the decision to include diesel in the carbon tax fuel exemption, farmers are expected to be slugged with higher electricity, fertiliser, transport and processing costs.

“Businesses providing these inputs are able to pass their carbon tax increases on to the farmer, but the buck stops with the farmer who isn’t able to pass on their higher cost of production.”

Despite this, Professor Parton said the NFA failed to acknowledge any of the initiatives which provided funds to farmers who attempted to reduce or sequester carbon.

“In addition to this, treasury has estimated there will be an increase of $1,000 per year for the average grain grower, not the $3,000 suggested by the NFA,” he said.

“The NFA have completely ignored these initiatives which are designed to help farmers and their [estimated] costs are debatable.”

Dung beetles dig in at Condobolin

Anne Foster holding some Bubas bison. DGBy Dominic Geiger

A property just south of Condobolin has become a regional first thanks to the introduction of 2,500 Bubas bison dung beetles.

The beetle’s release is significant as unlike locally active dung beetles, Bubas bison are primarily active in the winter.

Landowner, Ann Foster, said it was her son, Grant Relf, who originally suggested introducing the beetles to the property just off the West Wyalong Road.

“The soil here is incredibly hard and we wanted to improve it without having to use fertilizer,” Ann said.

“Grant got in touch with [a number of councils] and was put in contact with John Feehan who is an expert on dung beetles.

“John said these beetles were perfectly suited for the area but had never actually been used in the Condobolin or West Wyalong districts.”

Though native to Mediterranean regions of Europe, John said the beetles posed no threat to local biodiversity.

“I’ve released 5000 of these beetles with the CSIRO and many more since that and I haven’t heard a single complaint about them,” he said.

“Bubas bison are only active in areas where the native beetles are not as native dung beetles evolved to live in the scrub and bush whereas these ones are perfectly at home in paddocks.

“The release that took place [last Friday] is the first for the entire area – it’s a little bit of history taking place.

“It’s also particularly relevant given the carbon trading debate going on at the moment as dung beetles help store the carbon which exists in cow dung by burying it underground.

“they also reduce bush fly populations by up to 99%.

“Hopefully these beetles will now spread to neighbouring properties and become a sustainable population.”

Anyone wishing to purchase or obtain more information on dung beetles can contact John on 6248 0376.

 

Lake Cargelligo suffers high fish mortality

Clockwise from left: A trail of bony bream on the shore of Lake Cargelligo, the line of dead fish still floating in the water and a pile of dead bream at Frogs Hollow.By Dominic Geiger

Approximately one thousand bony bream have been found dead on the banks of Lake Cargelligo over the past two weeks.

Many of the fish are still floating in the water, with a line of dead bream stretching for several hundred metres near the shore.

There are also a number of dead rats on the bank.

Though the cause of death is unknown, a NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) spokesperson said the fish most likely died as a result of the cold weather and the winter mortality of bony bream.

“Conservation staff from NSW DPI have taken samples of the dead fish and water to try to determine the cause of the fish kill,” the spokesperson said.

“NSW DPI is currently awaiting the results of [these tests].”

The majority of the fish range between five and ten centimetres and have been found in the area around Frogs Hollow.

Lake Cargelligo newsagent owner, Gus Blacker, said he was surprised at DPI’s response.

“I didn’t think the weather was cold enough here to significantly lower the temperature of the lake,” he said.

“A similar thing happened a couple of years ago and we [never found out] why they were dying.”

Gus said he had reported the dying fish to DPI last Thursday however he had encountered difficulty getting in touch with someone who actually knew where Lake Cargelligo was.

“The only number I could find was for Canberra, so I called that but the person I spoke to put me through to Goulburn,” he said.

“I tried to ask [that person] to put me through to Narrandera fisheries but they put me through to Cronulla.”

Gus also said he doubted anything would be done about the rotting fish left on the banks of the lake.

“It looks as though the fish will be left to go back to nature similar to what happened with the carp when the lake dried up,” he said.

Though The Argus attempted to contact Lachlan Shire Council in regards to the cleanup, they were unable to provide a response prior to this story going to print.

 

Talking climate history

By Dominic Geiger

A photo exhibit showcasing an Australian National University historical project on the Lake Cowal/Temora region was recently displayed in Condobolin.

Held at Western Plains Regional Development, the photos focused on an eight day fact-finding mission Australian National Museum Curator, George Main, undertook late last year.

George said he began the walk to understand how people of the region had historically dealt with a changing climate.

“It was a chance to talk to locals along the way and to find out about the challenges of the drought and then the breaking of the rain,” he said.

“It was about using history to understand what’s happening now.”

George said while he was in Condobolin before setting off on the walk, he had been approached by Wiradjuri Elder Evelyn Coe.

“Aunty Evelyn suggested I come back and do a slideshow and presentation on the walk,” he said.

“[We were looking at the] different ways people have lived in the area over time and how we might use them as a guide to respond to [climate change] today.”

Author and former Condobolin resident, Merril Findlay, attended the photo screening.

“It’s wonderful to see the Australian National Museum supporting a project like this,” she said.

“It’s really allowing people to give something back to the community.”

Local mallee product hits market

A new bio-energy product made from mallee offers opportunity for local diversification in land use. True Blue Mallee Pty Ltd is continuing to work closely with local landholders and has launched its brand new briquette heating product at the Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival.

Company Director, Dave Hall, who helped out on the stall at Katoomba said, “The response by people was very encouraging. Sales were excellent and there is a real and genuine interest in the product and the New Mallee Industry that we are initiating around Condobolin”.

“Fire Extender Bioblox has been specifically developed as the initial product to underpin the New Mallee Industry”, fellow company Director Peter Milthorpe commented. “It has been important for us to develop a high-value end product that can generate reasonable returns for landholders who are considering growing mallee for biomass and energy production”, he said.

Company Chairman Dr Bob Smith, who was previously Director General of State Forests and Land and Water Conservation also attended the stall. He said that he was most encouraged by the significant interest by the general public in Bioblox which have been developed under the leadership of company CEO Sandy Booth over the past 3 years.  “The density and resulting long-burning nature of the highly compressed briquettes mean that they burn hotter for longer than most firewood on the Sydney market. Indications are that this will hit the right nerve with city people as electricity prices continue to soar” he said.

Bioblox have been produced from locally harvested and dried mallee and True Blue Mallee Pty Ltd will continue testing the Sydney market over the next few months before reporting back to Condobolin landholders who have expressed interest in growing mallee as a crop.

“The development of the new industry means we must start to get trees in the ground and planted according to standard protocols which will optimise efficient and co-ordinated production,” Peter Milthorpe said.

It is still ‘early days’, but the company Directors are encouraged by their entry into the market place and also that they are getting return sales from customers keen to continue using Bioblox to supplement their firewood.

Pest fish ‘Tilapia’ threaten Murray-Darling

Male and female TilapiaCompiled by Dominic Geiger

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is currently conducting a program to help educate communities in the Murray-Darling Basin about the potential threat of the invasive pest fish species, the Tilapia.

Though not yet established in NSW, the fish has been found in many waterways surrounding the northern part of the basin in south east Queensland.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Aquatic Biosecurity Officer, Debra Ballagh, said if the Tilapia was to establish itself in the Murray Darling Basin, it could become a major problem in the Lachlan River.

“Once established in a flowing river or creek, these fish are almost impossible to eradicate so it is important to stop the spread of Tilapia now before it’s too late,” she said.

“Tilapia impact on native fish numbers by competing for habitat and food, behaving aggressively, disturbing aquatic vegetation and could potentially introduce disease and parasites.

“The Murray-Darling Basin is already infested with pest fish including European carp, and if Tilapia were to establish in the river system the additional pest species may significantly impact native species populations.”

Debra said she encourages anyone living in the Murray-Darling Basin who suspects they have seen a Tilapia to contact the aquatic biosecurity hotline on 4916 3877 or send an e-mail to aquatic.pest@industry.nsw.gov.au.

 

Photo exhibition set to shed light on climate change issues

Tony Duff on the Bland Creek, showing Australian National Museum Curator, George Main, the remains of a old punt.By Dominic Geiger

Late last year Australian National Museum Curator, George Main, set out on a walk between Lake Cowal and Temora to better understand how people of the region have historically dealt with changing climatic conditions.
This June 24, George will present photos and information from the expedition in Condobolin.
During the eight day trek, George followed the creeks from Lake Cowal to Combaning, near Temora, in order to find ways to respond to the global issue of climate change “by taking a particularly local perspective.”
George said the walk had been an opportunity to learn more about the Aboriginal history of the area and to hear about the difficulties of farming in an increasingly unpredictable climate.
“It was a chance to talk to locals along the way and to find out about the challenges of the drought and then the breaking of the rain,” he said.
“It was about using history to understand what’s happening now.”
George said while in Condobolin, he had been approached by Wiradjuri Elder Evelyn Coe.
“Aunty Evelyn suggested I come back and do a slideshow and presentation on the walk,” he said.
“The show will focus on the different ways people have lived in the area over time and how we might use them as a guide as to respond to [climate change] today.”
George will be presenting photos and a talk about the trek at 11am on Friday, June 24 at the Condobolin Local Aboriginal Land Council office at 18 William Street.

Revege the sedge well underway

Senior Condo High School students are helping out with the “Revege the Sedge” project which will include constructing a path and planting grasses along the river’s edge.

By Dominic Geiger

The ‘Revege the Sedge’ community project is well underway on the southern banks of the Lachlan River in Condobolin.
The project, which is an initiative of various different groups within the Lachlan Shire, aims to revitalise the riverbank and construct a path between the old woolshed in the sports grounds and the Lachlan River Bridge.
Project Officer at Western Plains Regional Development Inc (WPRD,) Heather Blackley, said a group of senior high school students would be doing the majority of the work constructing the path and planting grasses along the river’s edge.
“Spiny Sedge Grass will be planted so the basket weaving ladies will be able to use it,” she said.
“We are also removing rubbish and noxious weeds from the area.
“We’re trying to develop a sense of community with this project; the school children and other community (organisations) will be invited to design the tiles that will cover the pathway.
“We are also involving the Condobolin Historical Society and will be putting up signs which will (explain to visitors) various historical events and places in the area, including photos of when the old bridge across the Lachlan River collapsed.”
High school teacher, Lynn Vanderdonk said the school students involved in the project were learning new skills to help them for when they eventually finish school.
“It’s part of the Star Program which involves TAFE lessons and (helps the students) to attain driver’s license qualifications and pre-employment skills,” she said.
Project facilitator, Steve Karaitiana will be helping to guide the students while they work on the project.
Organisations involved in the project include: WPRD, Condobolin Youth Services, Condobolin High School, TAFE, The Condobolin Historical Society, West Women Weaving, Centacare, Yawarra Aboriginal Corporation and Lachlan Shire Council.

New tree planting scheme for Lachlan Shire

By Dominic Geiger

Lachlan Shire Council is planning to create a program to replace dead or obstructive trees on the various main streets around the shire with a selection of uniform species on each street.
The decision to create themed streets comes as a result of last week’s council meeting where it was revealed council had not been replacing trees that had been removed for safety reasons.
Councillor Peter Harris said it was not excusable for council to simply rip out trees around town and not replace them.
“We’re living on the edge of the desert and we keep (removing trees),” he said.
Mayor of Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, said all street trees in the shire were meant to be replaced with a suitable species after they were removed.
“Apparently this hasn’t been happening,” he said.
“There will now be an investigation into the suitability of various species.
“We will also be investigating whether it’s possible to plant trees further in to the road as many streets in the shire are very wide and this would mean they would cause less disruption to the footpath while providing more shade for cars.”
Director of Technical Services at Lachlan Shire Council, Kevin Smith, said council would now consult with the local community to determine what species could be used.
“The creation of a theme for the trees on the various streets in the shire will take place over many years,” he said.
“Council will look at each of the main streets and determine which trees are near the end of their lives and replace them”.

Kiacatoo bones could add chapter to Australian pre-history

Compiled by Dominic Geiger

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has announced the Aboriginal bones recently discovered 50 kilometres west of Condobolin could be tens of thousands of years old.
The bones of the person, who has been dubbed locally as ‘Kiacatoo Man’, were discovered in early February this year during a fencing operation.
OEH Executive Director of Culture Country and Heritage, Norman Laing, said above average rainfall in the region had helped expose the remains.
“Judging from what we can see from the exposed remains, the bones are deeply mineralised which indicates that they are of considerable age, as they are essentially fossilised,” he said.
“This discovery will contribute to our further understanding of the life of Aboriginal people in the Lachlan River region and could add another chapter to Australia’s history in the same way the ancient burials at Mungo and the Willandra Lakes captured people’s attention around the world when they were discovered.
“What we know so far is that it is a traditional burial of an Aboriginal male of robust build.
“There is strong evidence to suggest that the man is buried on his left side in a flexed position which has similarities to other prehistoric burials found in NSW.
“He also appears to have been laid to rest in the margins of an ancient watercourse of the Lachlan River.
Mr Laing said the OEH is working closely with local Aboriginal people on research and conservation options for the remains.
“We want to ensure local Aboriginal people are involved in the research and conservation of this special find,” he said.
“It will no doubt contribute to the rich history of the region and assist Aboriginal people to tell the story of their ancient connection with the landscape.”

Wheelers fishing photo competition a winner with the locals

Plenty of “fat and healthy fish” have helped create some award winning images for Condobolin’s Wheeler’s Foodwork’s recent fishing competition.
The contest, which ran from April 11 to May 2, saw a whole host of entries from both junior and senior categories.
Organiser John Wheeler said he was incredibly impressed with both the quality of the images and the attitude of those doing the fishing.
“I just want to thank everyone who entered; the feedback’s been great,” he said.
“It’s been good to see a lot of the kids out there doing the right thing and having fun at the same time.
“There are some cracking photos in there and some great looking fish.
“It’s a shame to see all the carp but it’s important not to be discouraged; just keep going out there and catching them cause that’s the only way we’ll get rid of them.”
John said all competition winners, who are listed with their photos above are encouraged to pop in to Wheeler’s Foodworks to collect their prize.
“I also want to thank Anthony Curtis, Steven Gaunt, Dave Harp and Alex Hickson for their support and for supplying such awesome lures,” he said.

JUNIOR WINNERS

Cameron Ingram, Jamie Ross, Jake Whyler, Maddie Sharp, Jorja Schaefer, Joel Schaefer, Luke Whyler and Keira Bugg.

SENIOR WINNERS

Helen Barrass, Paul Fisk, Grant Smith, Barry Toms, Simon Smith, Kate Smith and Josh Karsten.

The Condobolin Argus – 10 years old

With The Condobolin Argus’ 10th birthday nearly upon us, first week of May, it seemed appropriate for a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the issues and events that have been critical in making The Argus the influential and relevant community newspaper it is today.
With so many editions archived in the depths of the Argus library, the task of revisiting important stories and campaigns seemed daunting at first, though with much perseverance, the team at The Argus has managed to compile a fairly concise list of ten achievements it feels have been most relevant to the Lachlan Shire community.
They are (in no particular order):
Joining the battle to keep the Condobolin Agricultural Research Station up and running.
In March 2009, The Argus reported on the NSW Labor Government’s decision to close the Condobolin Agricultural Research Station (CARAS). A surge of public protest culminating in a rally in Condobolin’s main street reversed that decision.
Helping prevent the closure of Target Country in Condobolin.
In January 2003, The Argus confirmed Condobolin Target Country would remain open despite pressure to close the store. The Argus supported the store during the resulting six month trial period through a ‘shop local’ campaign.
Helping to promote the Condobolin skate park project.
The Argus has been supporting the Condobolin skate park project for a number of years. The project is finally becoming a reality with the final draft becoming available for public comment following Lachlan Shire Council Meeting on 20th April.
Supporting the RTA’s ‘Three Shires’ initiative to help reduce the region’s road toll.
This project aims to increase road safety throughout the Lachlan, Forbes and Parkes shires. Part of this project has been the wheelie bin initiative, encouraging children to decorate wheelie bins in an effort to highlight road safety. The Argus played a large role in encouraging people to take part in this project, and now also has a very happy looking bin.
Providing full yet sensitive coverage of breaking news including human tragedies.
For example on the 2nd of December 2005, a ten-seater Piper Chieftain light plane crashed on Neil Baxter’s property ‘Craig End’. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the loss of several lives and resulted in an Australian Transport Safety Bureau inquiry. The Argus printed continuous coverage of the incident from the crash to release of the inquiry.
Coverage of natural disasters.
The Argus has been instrumental in keeping the community aware of various fires and floods which have affected the region over the past ten years. With the real time news delivery available with the internet, The Argus can now deliver information to readers as soon as natural disasters unfold. This was most recently demonstrated during the floods in Ungarie last month.
Promotion of local tourism initiatives, particularly ‘Utes in the Paddock’.
Owing to the Argus’ commitment to improving tourism in the Lachlan Shire (and perhaps due to the fact our editor is one of the artists) Utes in the Paddock has become a ‘must see’ on any visitor’s to do list. Beginning in 2007, The Utes in the Paddock Project now includes 15 ute artworks and has been nominated for a NSW Heritage and Cultural Tourism Award and People’s Choice Tourist Experience Award.
Coverage of Aboriginal issues and events in the Lachlan Shire.
The Argus has strived to help ‘close the gap’ on Indigenous inequality though a focus on providing fair and unbiased reporting on events and issues important to the Wiradjuri community. The Argus has frequently reported positively on Aboriginal tourism, educational and employment initiatives.
Promotion of major events such as the Condo 750, Tattoo,  Condo B & S and our Australian Idol Shannon Noll.
The Argus has thrown its support behind various community oriented events over its ten year history. This promotion has been in the form of editorials, advertorials and extensive advertising features before, during and after events.
Support of local Charity Organisations
When major charity events and fundraisers happen in the Lachlan Shire, The Argus is always in the thick of the action, lending its promotional power to the event. Various charities and charitable organisations.

Support for Community much more than just words in a newspaper.
Born out of a large gathering of members from right across the community forming the view more could be done to promote our region, The Condobolin Argus actively pursues promotional opportunities in may different ways.
The paper looks to attract staff with high level skills and talents that offer its community additional benefits. One staff member worked tirelessly on submissions and promotion for the Professional Bull Riders event. That event attracting large crowds enhancing business for the local community. Yet another staff member successfully competed the local Show Girl promotion being awarded State Runner Up at the Royal Easter Show, thereby doing a magnificent job of promoting our region.
Focus for The Condobolin Argus is very firmly on assisting local community to promote itself, diligently managing advertisers funds to employ high level skills providing a holistic service. One portfolio sponsored by The Condobolin Argus in this way is that of ‘Community Promotions Officer’.
All of this has only been made possible by your strong support over the past ten years. Thank you for helping us to provide this service to our community.
To help your local community newspaper celebrate its 10th birthday and plan for many more, please drop on by the office at 93 Bathurst Street Condobolin during the first week of May -We’ll have some birthday cake.

© 2010 Condobolin Argus - Design by Upside Down Websites