Australia Network
English Bites

Print | Close


print friendly page for http://australianetwork.com/englishbites/stories/s1608218.htm

31 January 2007

Montague Island

Montague Island is a remote and beautiful place off the coast of New South Wales.


REPORTER (CRAIG ALLEN) : Montague Island rises from the South Pacific much like the mythical Bali Hai, beckoning to the mainland across 9 kilometres of open ocean.

And just like Bali Hai, Montague has stayed off limits to all but a select few.

ROSS CONSTABLE: Being a nature reserve, we do have stricter regulations regarding access. You can't just turn up here and land on the island - you can land in the form of day tours or evening tours - every tour is supervised by a trained NPWS guide.

RANGER LOUISE: OK, we're going to go up the hill now, going to go up through all these seagulls here, and they will squawk and carry on but they won't peck you so you don't need to worry.

The biggest problem we have with the lighthouse keepers arriving was fact, the grass. It was introduced by the lighthouse keepers because there was lots of sand blowing around the area and they just wanted to stabilise the courtyard and make things more pleasant to live around the lighthouse.

REPORTER: But the hardy grass they chose soon ran rampant across the island choking the burrows of nesting penguins.

AMY JORGENSEN (Researcher) : Each year we find approximately 2 to 3 per cent are becoming entangled, so this is one adverse effect on the little penguins of the kikuyu grass. If an adult becomes entangled it actually starves to death because it can't get back to the ocean to feed.

REPORTER: Researching the little penguins of Montague has been an all-consuming passion for Charles Sturt University student, Amy Jorgensen.

For four years, Amy has crouched in the scrub studying the biology and social networks of the island's 6 thousand breeding pairs... and at times she's been touched by the same loneliness that generations of lighthouse keepers suffered since the 1880s.

AMY JORGENSEN: It can become quite isolated; I can be wandering around by myself for long periods of time. Often I feel like I need lots of extra pairs of hands because there is so much gear that I have to carry around.

REPORTER: The NPWS is now providing many pairs of very helpful hands.
National Parks has taken the unusual step of opening up Montague to paying guests attracting those with a passion for the environment to help rehabilitate the island.


ROSS CONSTABLE (Island Manager) We insist that if people want to come out here they have to work, they have to get involved with the research, with the conservation works that we're doing on the island. One of the problems that we have with a lot of people is that we can't stop them from working - they get so taken up by what we are doing and they enjoy it that much. It's very difficult to get them to come in and have some dinner - so we're getting some really good feedback from these people.

AIKI (Researcher helper): I'm positive I'm going to come back, because we all want to see what happens to our little trees that we planted, and the experience, different times, different experiences, I think most of us will probably be back....And be dive bombed again by the shearwaters and all the other experiences that will remain with us forever I think.


story notes

 Montague Island
 
Montague Island is off the coast of New South Wales.
 

 off limits
 
Somewhere that is off limits is a place where certain things or people are banned.
 
Example: The school's staff room is off limits to students
 
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

 nature reserve
 
A nature reserve is set up to protect an area and all the animals and plants within it.

 stricter regulations
 
Strict regulations are firm rules and stricter regulations are even firmer rules - they cannot be changed for anyone.

 regarding
 
Regarding means concerning, or about.

 access
 
Access refers to the right to enter and use an area.

 turn up
 
arrive
 
For more meanings of the phrasal verb turn up, follow the link below to our language library.
 
more information: turn up

 carry on
 
make a fuss
 
For more meanings of the phrasal verb carry on, follow the link below to our language library.
 
more information: carry on

 hardy
 
Hardy means tough and able to put up with difficult conditions.

 chose
 
Chose is the past tense of the irregular verb choose. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
 
more information: choose

 ran rampant
 
Something that runs rampant increases suddenly in an out of control way.

 choking
 
Here, to choke means to block up or fill.

 burrows
 
A burrow is a hole that an animal lives in.
 

 little penguins
 
These penguins are also known as fairy penguins or little blue penguins. Their scientific name is Eudyptula minor
 

 helpful hands
 
A helpful hand means an offer of help.

 passion
 
love

 rehabilitate
 
Rehabilitate means to restore to good condition.

 involved
 
To be involved means to take part in something.

 taken up
 
involved; engrossed
 
Example: I was so taken up with reading this I didn't hear what you said.
 
For more meanings of the phrasal verb take up, follow the link below to our language library.
 
more information: take up