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Australian Geographic March - April 2017

Australian Geographic, Australia’s premier geographic journal, brings you the best of the country from those who know it best. Discover Australia’s rich cultural heritage, its beautiful landscapes, its unique and diverse plants and wildlife, and explore outback towns and the true-blue characters who call them home.

Australian Geographic Holdings Pty Ltd
R 96,04
R 264,32
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
hidden wonders

I SPENT MANY a Saturday morning shivering on the sideline at Browns Field in Sydney’s north, watching my children play soccer. It always seemed a few degrees colder down there in the valley and an occasional veil of mist hovered above the oval, obscuring the far goal post. I discovered later that the sportsground sits in a maar-diatreme – a crater, usually 200-300m in diameter, left behind by a series of volcanic explosions interacting with groundwater. Diatremes, along with the more familiar cone-shaped volcanic mounts, reveal something of the dynamic forces that have shaped the landscapes in which we live, and it’s amazing how many there are if you know where to look. We can claim a globally significant volcanic hotspot in south-western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. Jeremy Bourke and…

1 min

Jiri and Marie Lochman are photographers and a husband-and-wife team. In 1986 they established a photographic agency and picture library specialising in nature and geographical imagery. They have co-authored several books, including Wildflowers of Western Australia and Portrait of Perth. Jiri’s first assignment for AG was in 1992. Together they shot this issue’s feature on the Stirling and Porongurup ranges on page 84. Dr Lindsay Marshall is a shark expert and scientific illustrator based in Sydney. Although Lindsay has never had formal artistic training, she has been drawing animals since childhood. She aims to portray species as accurately as possible so they can be identified. She created more than 650 images for Rays of the World (see page 32), the first conclusive guide for this group, with each drawing taking up to a…

4 min
your say

Featured Letter Amanda Burdon’s article about dingoes (AG 136) reminds me of similar issues we have faced in western USA over wolves. Our state encourages ranchers to take non-lethal steps (such as range riders and guard dogs) to protect livestock. Conservation groups help pay for these measures, which have been largely successful. The evidence is incomplete, but wolves also seem more likely to prey on livestock when the hierarchy of their pack is disrupted by the loss of an alpha member. Wolf-dog hybrids, which seem to lack something in pack discipline, are also harder on livestock. On the other hand, the evidence is very clear that wolves help biodiversity by keeping second-tier predators, such as coyotes and raccoons, in check, and keeping herbivores such as deer and elk on the move,…

1 min
bold baby

“This is a calf that we swam with on a few days in October 2016 in Tonga. At this time, many mums and calves have already started their journey south to Antarctic feeding grounds. The calf was very playful, even boisterous, and had a habit of rolling under us, showing off her ventral pleats – the folded skin on the throat that expands to take in tonnes of water during lunge feeding. She was nicknamed ‘The cutest most adorable calf in the whole wide world’ and the name stuck.” Dinkum Fingo WITH FRANK POVAH Back o’ Bourke THE FARTHEST west you could travel by NSW Railways in the days when steam was king, Bourke became synonymous with what was seen as Australia’s vast emptiness. Australia’s poets once revelled in synonyms for the “great unknown”,…

3 min
where few have gone before

“I GO OUT THERE to get in touch with the land, to get in touch with myself. When you get out there, you don’t get away from it all. You get back to it all. You come home to what’s important; you come home to yourself” – or so said late Tasmanian conservation hero Peter Dombrovskis. Dombrovskis and fellow wilderness photographer Olegas Truchanas were the inspiration that had led AGSsponsored adventurers Ro Privett, Dave Matters and Dan Kozaris to find themselves precariously balanced on the banks of the Gordon River in early 2016, ready to set off on a difficult white water kayaking expedition. The team was about to paddle down the Gordon River Splits in the Franklin- Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Thankfully,…

2 min
bodyguards for bandicoots

IN LATE 2017, highly trained canine bodyguards will be deployed in field trials, tasked with protecting the eastern barred bandicoot from predation by feral cats and foxes. Zoos Victoria began training a squad of eight Maremma sheepdogs in 2015. After two years, the first guardian dogs will soon be stationed on the frontlines of bandicoot conservation. The eastern barred bandicoot is extinct in the wild on mainland Australia. A population of roughly 1200 bandicoots survives in the zoo’s captive breeding program and across three Victorian sanctuaries (see our fundraiser on page 36). Maremma sheepdogs have been used in Italy for centuries to safeguard livestock. In Australia, a program on Middle Island, off south-western Victoria, has trained Maremma dogs to protect little penguins from predation. But no-one has tried introducing Maremma dogs to…