At the end of September, John and Meg flew to Western Australia to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Malleefowl Preservation Group. Based in Ongerup, some 400kms south east of Perth, John is the patron of this highly successful conservation group. Having grown up in similar country in the Mallee scrub of northern Victoria, the challenge of combining farming with conservation of native species, in this case, the endangered Malleefowl is something that John knows only too well.
John and Meg spent a fascinating two days mixing with enthusiastic volunteers and members of the 600 strong group. But the highlight was being taken to a Malleefowl mound, on the property where they were staying. Jesus, as this Malleefowl is known, came bursting from the scrub to greet John and in no time was putting on quite a performance, while we sat quietly on the ground near his mound. John’s mimicry of Jesus’s birdcall created a great deal of curiosity from Jesus.
A few days off seemed an ideal opportunity to take the Indian Pacific back to Sydney rather than flying. What a great way to travel from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and see the amazing diversity of scenery from the west coast, across the Nullarbor, to Broken Hill and through the Blue Mountains before reaching Sydney. The service and friendliness of the staff on the train was exceptional and the meals in the Queen Adelaide Dining Car world class, showcasing the best of Australian produce. It would have to be one those trips all Australians should put on their ‘bucket list’. A huge thanks to Great Southern Railways for making the trip possible and for looking after us so well.
Less than twenty-four hours back in Sydney and John was off to Byron Bay to perform at the Boomerang Festival. John was the only non indigenous performer at this indigenous music festival.