Fire survivors get a good drink

Tumut Men’s Shed’s Luke Gorman and Gerry Fitzgerald with some of the watering stations for birds and animals who survived the Dunns Road fire.

Hard-working volunteers and generous donors are giving animal survivors of the Dunns Road fire a much-needed break in the form of watering stations.

Robyn Sweeney of the Dunns Road Fire Wildlife Assistance Group says it all began when she found herself in the “wrong place at the right time.”

“I was at the Gilmore Hall, which was a relief station during the fires, and I took possession of a donation of a number of watering stations from Charles Sturt University,” she said.

There were other donations from ARC (Animal Rescue Cooperative), Little House of Healing and Precision Gas and Water, and a big number were made and/or modified by Tumut Men’s Shed.

The stations are made out of PVC piping.

Tumut Mens Shed made most of them from scratch and some from CSU designs, and modified many that came from CSU.

They greatly increased the number of stations to be distributed by making two of them out of one. This made them more practical, easier to place and of course more numerous.

Dunns Road Fire Wildlife Assistance Group volunteers have been busy collecting watering stations and placing them all over the area.

“Some of our volunteers are elderly, and it is much easier for them to place the stations now they have been made smaller,” Robyn said.

Each station needs be tied securely to a fence or tree stump.

About 100 stations are already in the field in fire-affected areas in Ellerslie, Gilmore, Talbingo, Tumbarumba, Batlow and Lower Bago.

Many birds and animals such as macropods have been seen drinking from the stations, but volunteers would like to take a closer look at where the areas of greater need are. 

“We are chasing up donation money to purchase night-vision cameras to monitor our water and feed stations to see how they are working,” Robyn said.

The Dunns Road Fire Wildlife Assistance Group also has feed stations, but is pulling back on these as some greenery returns due to recent rains as they don’t want the birds and animals becoming too dependent on them.

The Group is calling on more volunteers to install, monitor and maintain the water stations.

The stations have to be washed frequently to ensured the prevention of spread of diseases.

The Group is also wanting to hear from people who live adjacent to bushland to cooperate or become volunteers.

If anyone wants to get involved, they can ring Robyn on 0448 477 661 or Clarissa on 0421 342 399.