Home' The Great Southern Star : April 5th 2016 Contents PAGE 20 - “THE STAR”, Tuesday, April 5, 2016
THE Prom’s beaches are cel-
ebrated as a source of joy and
beauty for many Victorians.
Last week three endangered
hooded plover chicks have fledged
at the Picnic Bay beach.
Hooded plovers are an endan-
gered bird unique to Australia and
spend their entire lives on beaches.
They lay their eggs in the sand dunes
during the summer season, making
them difficult to see and increasing
the risk of them being trampled or
To avoid the nests and chicks be-
ing crushed, Parks Victoria rangers,
Birdlife Australia and volunteers
from Friends of the Prom installed a
series of temporary signs and fenc-
ing, along with consistent monitoring
of the sites.
“The united efforts of our part-
ners have kept this charming hooded
plover family of five safer while for-
aging on the beach since the chicks
hatched 35 days ago” said Parks Vic-
toria Ranger Tamara Vekich.
“The parents are constantly on the
look-out for potential threats while
the chicks forage along the beach
for food, allowing them to grow and
strengthen their wings”.
The Nationals Member for
Gippsland South Danny O’Brien is
encouraging environment groups,
schools, senior citizens organisa-
tions and youth groups to apply for
funding to support actions or proj-
ects that support threatened species
in Gippsland South.
Mr O’Brien has pledged
$800,000 to the Threatened Species
Protection Initiative for small-scale,
local threatened species projects that
helped the community to better con-
nect with the local environment.
“There are already many local
groups and individuals that are active
in undertaking projects that protect
threatened species and the local en-
vironment and this program provides
funding to ensure they can continue
the important work now and into the
future,” Mr O’Brien said.
Mr O’Brien said in addition to
the volunteer action grants, $200,000
was also raised from a crowd funding
campaign, which would be provided
on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
“This means that locals can raise
funds for additional threatened spe-
cies projects while being supported
through the Threatened Species Pro-
Parks Victoria is offering free
camping at the Prom for up to a
week during the summer breeding
season along with free training for
volunteers interested in helping out
with the hooded plover monitoring
By Hannah Box,
Work Experience student
AS a dry summer comes to an
end, March usually marks the
beginning of autumn and the wet
season, but not this year.
March was a brutal month in terms of
rain with most recordings coming under
the yearly average.
The only town that came above the av-
erage was Leongatha. David Shambrook
recalls that it rained for 11 days in Leon-
gatha with 53mm. This is just above the
average of 51.7mm.
“Most of it came in one big fall of
40mm,”said Mr Shambrook.
Fish Creek, however, did not have the
rainfall they were hoping for as farms
struggled through a dry month.
“We only had 51mm compared to
the average 68mm,” explains Neville
Buckland. Mr Buckland’s recordings
show that it wasn’t a good month for
Meeniyan and that the average was well
Lindsey Fromhold of Meeniyan con-
firmed that it had only rained 8 days in the
Meenyian area with only 40.8mm.
Stony Creek wasn’t doing much bet-
ter as Barbara Dyke recorded 48.5mm
over only 5 days.
“This is far less than the average rain-
fall for March,” Ms Dyke says. “There
was no growth in the paddocks and there
were cracks in the ground.”
“It is a little below average and is sim-
ply not enough for a lot of farmers.” Mr
He explained that follow up rain is
needed and that hopefully it will get bet-
“People still have shortages of water
in their dams,” says Mr Fromhold, hoping
things will soon take a turn for the better.
Hooded plovers kept safe at the Prom Rainfall still well down
LOOKING at Kerry and
Glenn Smith’s two year old
son Malachi, it is hard to
imagine just one year ago he
was in hospital experiencing
hundreds of seizures a day.
Malachi was diagnosed with tuber-
ous sclerosis after he started experienc-
ing a number of seizures on December
20, 2014. The Smith family were living
in Launceston at the time (now settled
in Leongatha) and ended up travelling
to and from hospitals for the next three
months in search of a solution.
The doctors did scans and found
two tubers in his brain and another
enlarged one which was believed to be
the source of the convulsions.
“Enlarged tubers on the brain can
have devastating effects on the per-
son’s life,” Ms Smith said.
“We were preparing to face the fact
that Malachi may not have a normal,
On Malachi’s worst day he had 280
seizures. The toddler was on six forms
of seizure medication and was experi-
encing hyperactive behavioural prob-
lems as a result.
The doctors later discovered Mala-
chi’s tuberous sclerosis was not in its
classic form and could be minimised
“Malachi’s condition is not genetic
and it started when he was an embryo.
Doctors thought that if the enlarged
tuber was removed, Malachi may con-
tinue to function and develop like other
children and may experience fewer sei-
zures,” Ms Smith said.
“When we went to the Royal Chil-
dren’s Hospital last February, they did
further scans and found that the tu-
ber could be removed and the condi-
tion was not as bad as they originally
Doctors performed surgery on
Malachi to remove the tuber and also
removed a fifth to a sixth of Malachi’s
brain in the process.
Despite the drastic surgery, Malachi
has miraculously made a full recovery
and has continued to develop at the
same rate as other children his age.
“He has not had any seizures and
he no longer takes any medication. Pri-
or to the operation, Malachi could only
manage to say five words and now he
is catching up to children his own age.
Considering how sick he was it is fan-
tastic,” Ms Smith said.
A year on Malachi has started at-
tending playgroup with other healthy,
active children and looks forward to a
life without debilitating seizures.
“Looking at him you would never
know what happened a year ago,” Ms
Malachi was a Good Friday child in
2015 and celebrated his second birth-
day on the holiday, he will turn three
this month and looks forward to years
of celebrations to come.
TIM and Joy Linton embarked
on a huge adventure when
they moved to the Northern
Territory last year and are
glad to have settled into their
The general practitioners, formerly
from Leongatha Healthcare, left for
Nhulunbuy last July to take up work at
Gove District Hospital.
“It was harder to settle in than I
thought it would be,” Mr Linton said.
“Recently though I think we found
a good routine. It took a while to adjust
to the cultural differences here.”
“The way indigenous people ap-
proach healthcare is very different and
at first it was difficult to communicate
because of our cultural differences,” he
Mrs Linton has been learning the
local indigenous language and recently
completed her first unit of study.
“It has been really hard. I am cur-
rently studying the second unit online
but it is very difficult to converse in it,”
Mrs Linton said.
“I am learning slowly but becom-
ing fluent is another matter. It does
build bridges between the patients
and I and it gives us something to talk
about other than health.”
As part of her work, Mrs Linton
travels by car and plane to remote
homelands to conduct doctor visits.
“They are very remote commu-
nities and they have different health
concerns. For instance the elders do
not allow drugs or alcohol so they are
healthy in that they do not consume
that,” Mrs Linton said.
Mr and Mrs Linton’s son Andy has
been working in Nhulunbuy for three
years and was adopted by an indig-
enous family, providing his newcomer
parents with relatives.
“We have all new relatives who
are teaching us about what we can
call them. We are learning words for
‘uncle’, ‘aunty’ and ‘sister ’,” Mr Lin-
Mrs Linton had the opportunity to
visit her ‘sister ’ in her homeland on
a number of clinic visits before she
passed away from cancer last year.
“In her culture we are sisters and it
was a really special experience getting
to visit her,” she said.
“Andy had made these connections
over time so we were fortunate to have
those when we came to Nhulunbuy.”
Mr Linton said while it has taken
a while to cross cultural barriers, the
community has been kind and wel-
“The stereotypes of aboriginal cul-
ture are unfair. Family relationships
are so important to them and they do a
lot to look out for each other. Our soci-
ety has lost some of its connectedness I
think,” he said.
“While drunkenness and domestic
violence are prominent problems here,
it is not different to our society except
that it is more out in the open here rath-
er than behind closed doors.”
The pair agreed while they miss
their South Gippsland friends they
would continue on their Northern Ter-
ritory adventure for the foreseeable
“It is a great place to be and we are
acquiring so many skills here,” Mrs
Mr Linton agreed.
“It has been a challenge but we
have been very persistent. We do miss
our friends in Leongatha though and
we would like to say a big ‘G’day’ to
them from Nhulunbuy.”
New adventure: Tim and Joy
Linton are enjoying their new
lives at Nhulunbuy in the North-
Surgery stops seizures
Healthy family: Glenn, Kerry
and Malachi Smith are living
happy, healthy lives in Leon-
gatha after Malachi underwent
life changing surgery at Royal
Children’s Hospital last year.
Lintons enjoying the North
Malachi’s miracle: Malachi
Smith spent months in and out of
hospital when he was experienc-
ing hundreds of seizures a day.
Almost a year on and Malachi is
healthy and fully recovered.
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