OPINION: Sustainable Bathurst with Tracy Sorensen

NEW HOME: Some of the kangaroos that have been relocated from around Mount Panorama to a release site outside Bathurst. A storm on Thursday might have been disastrous for the program. Photo: SUPPLIED 030117dart2
NEW HOME: Some of the kangaroos that have been relocated from around Mount Panorama to a release site outside Bathurst. A storm on Thursday might have been disastrous for the program. Photo: SUPPLIED 030117dart2

FOR a moment, it looked like a complete disaster. After months of careful corralling, the roos in the top paddock might once again be loose.

The short, sharp storm on Thursday night had somehow caused the long northerly stretch of temporary fencing to fall over.

The heavy concrete footings now pointed uselessly up in the air; the chainmail fencing was lying almost flat against the ground. A few kangaroos were out, nibbling at the fresh green grass.

Since the middle of last year, Helen Bergen and Ray Mjadwesch have been leading an unprecedented project to get a mob of kangaroos off Mount Panorama to new digs away from racing cars and horses.

The project has consumed most of their time and a lot of their own money.

After a series of lows and blows, there was a high point at the council meeting last month when councillors voted unanimously to continue paying the bill for the temporary fencing until the project was complete. And now that very temporary fencing was lying flat on the ground.

I had gone up to join the volunteer team for an evening of darting and transferring roos. But when I got there with my big raincoat and head torch, the scene was a rather depressing one. The few of us that were there spread out along the downed fence to keep the roos on the right side of it.

But then, after a few frantic phone calls, the most amazing sight: car headlights coming up the Mount. It was people coming out on a wet Thursday night to help push the fence back up.

But then, after a few frantic phone calls, the most amazing sight.

A job almost impossible for the few was made easy by the many. The teams worked along the fencing, cutting the joining wires so that sections could be pushed back into place.

One, two, three, up! And then they melted back into the night. It was a wonderful moment that showed what can be done – almost effortlessly – when people are committed to a cause. The original core of volunteers returned to the task at hand.

After midnight, a troop carrier with some tranquilised kangaroos in it – their eyes covered by towels, stretched out on blankets, their flanks rising and falling with their steady breaths - made its way to the kangaroos’ new home.

- Tracy Sorensen is the president of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network. Visit www.bccan.org.au.