Greenough Wildlife & Bird Park

Experience : Greenough Wildlife & Bird Park

Located about 20km south of Geraldton is a privately owned wildlife park with a variety of agendas.  While it provides a wonderful experience to all animal lovers, it is also a sanctuary for injured animals that have been rescued and rehabilitated, and a place to educate people and raise awareness about wildlife conservation.

 

Tin animals at the front of Greenough Wildlife & Bird Park

 

The Park

Greenough Wildlife & Bird Park has been around since the 1970s but it was handed over to Michelle and Jo in 2008.  Since then, they have made a lot of changes to the park to accommodate school groups and educational demonstrations about wildlife conservation and reptile awareness, as well as constructing new enclosures for the animals that live at the park.

 

 

Within the park is a gnome village, which is sure to delight, and the Easter Island heads add a kooky element to the landscape.  There is also has a picnic area with BBQ facilities and colourful playground, which is perfect if you want to celebrate your child’s birthday, and the gift shop has a variety of mementos to take home with you.

 

The Animals

All the animals in the park have been hand raised and have either lived there for a really long time or are new residents.  The oldest animal we saw was a cocky called Wacker who was born in 1945!

 

 

As we strolled around the park, we encountered crocodiles and pythons, sheep and goats, emus and an ostrich, parakeets and cockatoos, dingoes and kangaroos, and a flock of guinea fowl.  The kids loved the talking galah and feeding the kangaroos, and they were fascinated by the silver pheasant, sparrow hawk and the tawny frogmouth, that silently followed the kids as they moved around the cage.

 

The park also offers the opportunity to meet the animals and have your picture taken patting a dingo or cuddling a snake.

 

 

The Conservation

Michelle and Jo are deeply passionate about animal rescue and conservation and use the wildlife park as a sanctuary to rehabilitate rescued animals that have either been injured or abandoned.  They have an average of 10 animals a month that are brought in due to injury – snakes, lizards, echidnas and bats – they even get called out to assist with injured seals.

 

The most common animal that is brought in due to injury are kangaroos.  In most cases, the mother has been killed while crossing the road or shot while the joey is still in its pouch.  They rescue and raise over 25 joeys a year before they are released back into the wild.

 

Sadly, some animals cannot be released back into the wild and are deemed derelict.  In these cases, they need to be re-homed or euthanised, and this is where the Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park steps in.  If the animal is of a young age and will not be stressed in a captive environment, then the park will take them in and give them the opportunity to live a fulfilling life in a safe environment.  The tawny frogmouth that we met in the park is a derelict juvenile and it looked quite at home in the park.

 

 

Birds that have been abandoned by their parents or have fallen out of the nest are also brought in so they can live the rest of their lives in safety. In the case of Priscilla the African Ostrich – she came from an ostrich farm that closed down and she probably wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t for Michelle and Jo.

 

Michelle and Jo are also involved with the National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program, an initiative based in Victoria that aims to create a database of DNA-tested dingoes for the purpose of breeding.  Dingoes are being hunted and have very little protection so it’s important that we do something to ensure that they don’t get wiped out like the Tasmanian Tiger.  They also support the Ochre Project, which aims to raise awareness about dingo preservation and ban the use of 1080 poison baits in Australia.

 

Michelle is also a licensed reptile remover and has been called to move many venomous snakes, including a 1.3 metre monitor lizard. Because the Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park is an animal rescue refuge, if you find an injured animal, you can call 08 99261171 at any time.  If they are unable to take the animal in, they will help you with advice.

 

The Essentials

The Greenough Wildlife & Bird Park is located on Company Road in Greenough.  The Park is open every day from 10am -5pm, and is closed only two days of the year – Christmas Day and New Years Day.

 

 

Entry is at the great price of $9 for adults and $6 for kids, and a bag of feed for the animals is $1 each. Discounts for group bookings are available and callouts with the animals for special events can be arranged.  They also have a huge photo op board at the front of the park.

 

Phone: 08 9926 1171

Website: http://www.wildlifeandbirdpark.com.au/

 

 

Dave & Juz with HRH Prince Leonard

Micronation : The Principality of Hutt River

There is a place in Australia that is not Australia.  It is an independent sovereign state 75 square kilometres in size, which is about the size of Hong Kong.  It is the oldest micronation in Australia and they seceded from Australia in 1970.  This place is called the Principality of Hutt River.

 

Mid West Coast 2013-04-17 002

 

The capital is called Nain, and there you can learn about how the Principality came about, get your passport stamped in the Government Office and send a postcard from the Hutt River Post Office using one of their official stamps.   After exploring the inter-denominational chapel, wander over to the souvenir shop and pick up a few mementos, like fabric patches, badges, spoons, desk flags or stubbie holders.  You can even pick up a set of Principality of Hutt River coins and currency notes – all of which have the same exchange rate as the Australian dollar.  The one thing that was noticeably absent was a pub.

 

The population of the Principality of Hutt River is 23 people, but there are 14,000 world-wide citizens, with some holding military and naval commissions even though the micronation is landlocked and the ocean is about 40km to the west.  Primary exports include wildflowers, stamps, coins and agricultural products like wheat, but they are also heavily involved in tourism as nearly 40,000 tourists visit every year.  While we were there, we had to wait for a huge group of Asian tourists to finish filling out their VISA forms and taking pictures with their massive DSLRs before we got a chance to meet the Prince.

 

The Australian Government does not recognise the secession of Hutt River Province.

 

 

The Casley Family

His Royal Highness Prince Leonard I of Hutt is married to Her Royal Highness Princess Shirley of Hutt, Dame of the Rose of Sharon.  Crown Prince Ian was born in 1947 and is the Prime Minister of the principality and the designated successor.  There is also Prince Wayne, Prince Richard and Prince Graeme.

 

Prince Leonard is a micronation trendsetter because after his success, dozens of micronations were established around the world.

 

The History of Succession

It all started in 1969 when the Western Australian Government imposed wheat production quotas.  The Casley farm had around 4,000 hectares of wheat ready to harvest but the quota only allowed the Casleys to sell approximately 40 hectares.

 

Leonard lodged a protest with the Governor of Western Australia and the reply was “no rectification of the Casley Quota would be allowed”. With the reasoning that the Governor acts on behalf of the Queen, Leonard found Her Majesty to be liable and lodged a huge $52 million claim under the Law of Tort.  The government’s response was to introduce a bill that allowed the WA government to resume the Casley farm.  After repeatedly requesting to have the bill reconsidered, Leonard had to resort to International Law applied for succession, declared independence and created the Hutt River Province.

 

Later on, Prime Minister William McMahon took it upon himself to deal with the Hutt River Province and persecute Leonard. Leonard became aware of this and knew that if the Province became a Principality, then the British Laws of Treason would protect them and their land.  The family voted to raise the status of the territory to a principality and they were safe once more.

 

During Malcolm Fraser’s time as Prime Minister, Prince Leonard was informed that Fraser had ordered the Taxation Department to come after him.  After three court cases (with the transcripts mysteriously lost), Leonard accused Malcolm Fraser of waging a State of Cold War on the Principality and took it a step further by declaring a State of War between the Principality and Australia.

 

When the Australian Government was notified of the declaration of war, they laughed and thought Prince Leonard had gone mad!  Three days later, Prince Leonard sent word to the Governor-General declaring the State of War over, which, under the Laws of War, gives Sovereignty to the Government that is undefeated in a State of War.  Leonard also notified the Swiss Federal Council, the Governor-General and Malcolm Fraser that the Principality has accepted and applied the Geneva Conventions of 1949 under Act 103 of Australia, which means that the conventions regarding prisoners of war apply to the Principality, even if one party does not recognise the other.  By doing this, Prince Leonard accepted Political Duty and if anyone tried to obstruct or interfere with his political duty, then under Act 103 of Australia they would be guilty of an offence under the Australian Crime Act of obstructing a person performing their political duty.

 

When the Australian Government got this news, they weren’t laughing anymore.

 

Camping in the Principality

Just ‘down the road’ from Nain is a camping ground with toilets and a shower, a shelter, dishwashing station, picnic benches and a fire place.  We decided to stay overnight at a fee of $5 each and cooked up the fish we caught in Kalbarri as we watched kangaroos graze in the distance.

 

 

In the morning, we went for a walk ‘into town’, checked out the chapel with the kooky blue windows and admired the interesting art pieces scattered around the country.