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Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – PAGE 13
By Rhody Gleeson
John Gitsham never gets tired
of watching birds, especially
those which have travelled up
to 15,000km from Siberia to the
Laratinga Wetlands at Mt Barker.
He said such sightings were one
of the joys of birdwatching at the
wetlands, apart from viewing the
Mr Gitsham will impart some of his
vast knowledge during a free bird
identification training session at the
site later this month.
The session, which is open to novice
and expert birders, is designed to
prepare people to take part in a
Citizen Science program to collect
information about birds in the region.
The program is an initiative of
the Natural Resources SA Murray-
Darling Basin (NRSAMDB) and
encourages participants to upload
information on their sightings on an
Mr Gitsham is also the vice president
of Birds SA and said recording the
movement and behavior of birds
could tell researchers much about the
condition of an entire ecosystem.
“Birds are great environmental
indicators, they react to changes in
their surroundings and can reveal a lot
about the health of the environment,”
Dr Sylvia Clarke is a project officer
at NRSAMDB and said participants
would be able to keep track of the
birds they had seen and view the data
they had collected online.
“It is a way for us to gain valuable
data and also get the community
more involved,” she said.
The information collected in the
program is submitted to the Atlas
of Living Australia which is an
online tool used by birdwatchers and
Mr Gitsham said there had been
a great response to previous bird
participants not only learned about
birds but also about opportunities
to increase conservation and the
protection of local habitats.
“I love citizen science because it gives
participants a sense of ownership of
the environments in which they live,”
The Mt Barker session will be held
on Sunday, May 31.
Dr Sylvia Clarke and John Gitsham will host free bird identification sessions to encourage people to take part in a Citizen
Science project and to enjoy the environment.
on the health of
Imagine waking at midnight, picking up
a 20kg basket of produce and setting off on
a 26km trek through the Hills to Adelaide,
dodging bushrangers in the dark, all to
make a living.
Then imagine filling that basket with sugar,
candles, needles and thread – and even bricks –
and hiking back up the hill the same day.
More than 170 years ago Hahndorf ’s pioneer
women did just that several times a week in the
name of survival.
Heavily in debt for the purchase of land they
were farming and the passage on the ship
that brought them to SA, the only way they
could earn money was to sell their homegrown
fruit, vegetables, butter and eggs at Adelaide’s
On Sunday hundreds of walkers will follow
the footsteps of those women from Hahndorf to
Beaumont House on the 35th Pioneer Women’s
Walk re-enactment for the About Time History
Among the walkers will be first time
participant Rachel McElwee and her 13-year-
old daughter Jet Freytag-McElwee.
“I really admire the determination and
survival instinct of those women,” Ms McElwee
said. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge
of the walk.”
Walkers can join the event at the official start
at the Hahndorf Institute at 8.30am or at other
starting points in Bridgewater, Stirling and
Eagle on the Hill.
Food and drink stalls will be set up at the
finish at Beaumont House along with live music
and tours of the historic home.
Entry in the walk is by $10 donation and a
pre-booked bus will run from Beaumont House
to all starts for $10 per person.
In the footsteps
From page 1
“We believe that luxury-level tourists are
looking for authentic experiences focussed on
high quality food and wine amongst the world-
renowned landscapes of the Adelaide Hills,
blended with unique cultural experiences such
as Hans Heysen’s The Cedars, together with
easy access to other regional experiences,” Mr
State Co-ordinator General Jim Hallion,
whose office can shift the decision making
powers on development proposals worth more
than $3m out of local government hands, said
in a letter to the council that the development
presents “an exciting opportunity for the region
in terms of economic growth and employment
A SA Tourism Commission spokesman
wrote that it was “strongly supportive of
the development of additional high quality
accommodation in the Adelaide Hills, the need
for which has been identified”.
Traders’ group Business Mt Barker
unanimously supports the proposal, chairman
James Sexton said in his submission.
“These are challenging times for local business
and retailers and the opportunity for such a
major benefit to our district bringing high worth
international tourists needs to be grabbed with
both hands and given all the assistance they
need,” he said.
But nearby residents are not convinced.
Leonard Road resident Richard Harris’ new
home will be the closest to the resort and he
said the amended application would do nothing
to minimise the impact on his property.
“They have only lowered the building by 70cm,
which is nothing,” he said.
“They say they have fixed the car parking – all
they have done is moved it from the far end and
put it in front of me.
“It’s just rubbish.”
He has flagged a legal challenge if the
development is approved.
Neighbor Helen Gerard, who runs the
Windamere Horse Haven for abused and
abandoned horses, said the changes would go
a little way to alleviating some of her concerns,
but said she still did not want the resort on her
“It probably won’t be quite as bad as before,
but it’s still going to be a problem,” she said.
In a submission on behalf of the National
Trust of SA Hahndorf Branch, chairperson
Anni Luur Fox said the group was concerned
approving the change of land use would set a
legal precedent that could open up rural areas
in the Mt Barker district to further urban
The application will be considered by the
council’s Development Assessment Panel at its
meeting this morning.
Support for resort
HEAVYWEIGHTS BACK LUXURY HOTEL
Hahndorf National Trust Branch’s Anni Luur
Fox, left, and first time walker Rachel McElwee
prepare to join the 35th Pioneer Women’s Walk
re-enactment this Sunday.
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