Bourne’s Bird Museum and Bool Lagoon

Leader: Heather Kriesl Brolgas. We first passed over a broad plain – formerly a swamp – which had been terraced for flood irrigation. Because of the drought, the Brolgas which would normally be at the lagoon, now use this irrigated area.

Irrigation. The district is part of the food bowl for South Australia. Grains, fruit and vegetables are grown in the district.

Electrocution of Wedge-tailed Eagles. At the first power line we were alerted to the death of a Wedge-tailed Eagle which had electrocuted itself, when we saw its mate fly off. The eagle was still twitching. This was the fourth electrocution ina fortnight, and something like 12-18 in the past eighteen months.

Bourne’s Bird Museum. This museum would not be possible in Victoria where it is illegal to for private people to hold or collect dead native animals, let alone display them.

Jack Bourne has made his collection from powerline kills, from animals colliding with windows, and from Bool Lagoon after a duck shoot. He showed how the animals were prepared for display. It took about 6 hours to prepared a Wedge-tailed Eagle.

Included in the collection 302 species of bird, and dragons, goannas, frogs, tortoises, echidnas, wombats, and a koala and young. In a drawer were possums, bats, dunnarts, sugar gliders, bush rats, antichines, snake skins and countless skulls, skins and nests. There were also numerous bird prints and cards. There is also a collection of eggs and observations, from the late Reg Attiwill.

A cup of tea was most welcome.

Bool Lagoon. The group drove around Bool Lagoon. From Big Hill almost all of the lagoon and the lunettes could be seen.

In a normal winter, the water would be three or four metres deep, and just cover the reeds. Before the drainage works, the water flowed from Victoria along Mosquito Creek. Big Hill shelters the water and the swamp from the prevailing westerly winds. This helps make the water and swamp ideal for Swans’ nests.

Big Hill is a lunette, originally formed by the wind-blown material.

At the right of the entrance gate there is a long board walk, and further on a long board walk. The path continues to a bird-observation platform, picnic areas and bird hides.

Melaeucas have been planted in the lagoon area. These are Melaleuca lanceolata and are called Moonah in Victoria and Dry-land Tea-tree in South Australia. Salt Paper-bark is also planted.

From contributed material.