Childhood in a special place shapes your life. A place of unique animals created by geological isolation and aeons of time takes over your dreams.
A garden devoted to the ‘wild’ also had a hand in mine: months sitting in it... in a wheelchair, infinitely more healing than being in a polio hospital.
My mother made my bed cautiously, alert for bunched sheets held taut by a hidden miniature vice grip – unknown wildlife secreted within. These wild guests were garden beetles, cicadas - the popular school collecting ‘swaps’ of ‘greengrocers’ & ‘black princes’ - and occasional Silkworm cocoons containing moths-in-waiting. Watching relationships between animals involved frog multitudes, kookaburras feeding on meat pegged to the washing line... a dog and two sheep (the grasscutters)... the dog and I graduated to ‘Companion Dog Obedience Test’ status.
Definitive wildlife moments: holiday treats at Fleay’s Fauna Reserve, Queensland (now David Fleay Wildlife Park) seeing emus, kangaroos, a platypus and flocks of wild parrots eating honeyed bread from my hand... A wild parrot taking seed from my hand remains a marvel, the more cherished as massive bushfires have now swept through the area pictured.