Friends of Melaleuca WILDCARE

BIG TEETH!  by Janet Fenton

Oh rats! I checked the Friends of Melaleuca hardware supplies at Melaleuca in January, and was surprised by fragments of orange leather. The gloves! Someone’s got busy teeth. Long-tailed mice are the prime suspects, having been the culprits for minor offences around Melaleuca on frequent occasions. This small native mammal, Pseudomys higginsi, is very cute, with its round googly eyes and pretty ears and so forth… except for its chewing ability. Suddenly it fancied orange leather as nesting material last year. Those Gripwell gloves were nice and soft. Notice the little critters left the cut-protection titanium gloves well alone!

Ah well, off to Bunnings yesterday for more gloves — and a heavy-duty plastic lidded storage box (Wildcare green).

Heritage Gate Valve – note the Heron brand

Some of you will be intimately familiar with the heritage gate valve at the mine site at Melaleuca from hours of wire-brushing and painting it with protective fish-oil. Using the Fergie tractor and trailer, Geoff and I relocated the valve to its rightful place, with the intention of including it in a future self-guided mining trail. Geoff made a stable base for it. The nearby dam was completely dry — unusual for Melaleuca.

Gate valve beside the dam. This area was burn in April 2018 in a control burn.

It was certainly a dry summer. While there were no fires in the immediate vicinity, on some days in January the mountains surrounding Melaleuca were obscured by smoke haze from fires on the west coast from High Rocky south to Low Rocky, and in the ranges west of Lake Pedder, as well as fires around the Scotts Peak Road, Mt Anne and the Arthur Plains.

Smoke around Mt Rugby

Otherwise all is well at Melaleuca. Visitors continue to enjoy the museum. Because of the dry weather, a lot of sand and grit is being walked in there. A new sign alerting visitors to this might be in order. The present one only refers to muddy boots. No mud this January!

Cracked mud in the bottom of the dam

We enjoyed the company of the wonderful caretakers at Melaleuca – Duncan and BJ and their little girl Evelyn, followed by a family (with two children) from Alaska. There’s always something going on – often the unexpected – to keep them busy.