Flora & Fauna

Encounters of the Third Kind

Two wallabies, one human

Remarkably calm, the wallaby and I froze in mutual fear. Its head bowed in a weirdly stern expression, big black eyes and long eyelashes focussed on some distant leaf, as if willing itself into invisibility. I slid my camera from the pouch, crept sideways to get a better angle and took a photo. The wallaby didn’t move so I crept closer. Still no movement. Closer. Another photo.

Fungus in your Brain

Rethinking food forests

Lately I've been dreaming of having my own garden, a place where I can sit and sip a beer on a late summer afternoon. In this dream there is a small raised bed of vegetables in the corner, bees buzzing about, butterflies flitting from leaf to leaf, maybe a fruit tree or two completing the picture.

A Timms Trap and a Bag of Apples

Man versus possum

My wife and I just bought a house. Mum has taken responsibility for the garden. Our place backs onto a neighbour’s overgrown section. Beyond that is a stand of blue gums. We have possums. At night they cross the wasteland and eat the new roses and strawberries.

I Was Afraid of a Lot of Things in There

Ashleigh Young revisits the dense bushland of her childhood


The bush that grew over the hills above our house wasn’t pretty, and it didn’t make an easy sense. It was grubby and damp, a muddle of tree roots, rotted tree trunks, supplejack, and periwinkle – a scrambling, hairless weed with tubular flowers. None of the trees were conducive to treehut building. They were too spindly, too tall, or too difficult, their trunks lathered in moss.

From the Entrails of the Earth

The secret life of eels

From my classroom you could see the river or at least the willows that hung down over it. It was a branch of the Heathcote, and although it was only about three metres wide and half a metre deep it was full of eels. They were vicious creatures with teeth like needles.