Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Easter in Australia!

By Danielle Lancaster

Tomorrow is Good Friday and the start of the Easter holidays for those on our time clock down here in Australia. Some of you may already know that those of us here at Bluedog Photography support Easter: specifically, the Easter Bilby!

You see, a while ago we adopted, along with many others, that it should be the native Australian Easter Bilby hopping into our children's lives here in Australia not the feral rabbit.

Did you know bilbies breed like rabbits but it's the unfortunate presence of the fox and cat (and once man) that forced the lesser Bilby to extinction and the greater Bilby to  within a breath of it: by the way we have no malice to cat owners either. They are just best indoors at night).

My personal story with the Bilby was kicked up a gear on a trip to outback Queensland, some 18 years ago. I'd been showing my children the work being done through journals, scientific papers, news paper and magazine clippings and a very different internet than we have today about this cute little animal. We had the fortune to call into Charleville EPA headquarters and catch Peter McRae, the scientist behind the long hard studies and attempts to save the Bilby there.

 Peter and a Bilby at Currawinya National Park

John, my eldest son, a mere 8 at the time, emptied his entire pocket money and savings that day into Peter's palms. As the coins dropped onto Peter's work ridden hands, the skin creases encrusted with dirt from a good days hard work in red soil country, there was a moment. Peter accepted this stream of coins with as much dignity, as I later saw him accept thousand dollar cheques.

In the recent opening of my exhibition 'Across my Path' Peter features checking out the Bilby Fence within Currawinya National Park. And he is happy to report that inside the fence the Bilbies are breeding like rabbits!

So if you don't do it already consider changing to the Bilby for Easter. And make saving the bilby one of the most delicious things to do. Australian chocolate manufacturer and retailer Darrell Lea has been making chocolate Easter bilbies since 1994 raising in excess of $225,000!

Did you also know that in 2003, bilbies outsold bunnies by eight to one here in Australia! But be aware: it's only Darrell Lea bilbies that donate sales from their bilby chocolates back to the fund.

Have a safe and happy Easter everyone!

 Peter checks out the Bilby fence at Currawinya National Park.

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