The following article appeared in The Plains Producer
(Balaklava S.A.) on the 24 Jan 2007 - [pg.3]
pretty crook, says this
• By KAY CALDER
SEEN A LOT OF
AND ANALYSED MANY RIVERS :
`walkaboutjoe' CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY LOCALS
STOOD BY AND WATCHED THE RIVER
HE'S an opinionated modern-day dinky di
swaggie who calls himself Walkabout Joe.
Home is a bizarre fully-equipped cart he pushes around to
keep fit. He sleeps where his car runs out of petrol and that's
how he rolled into
early one morning back in November. That and an infected toe
requiring medical attention.
walkaboutjoe is a quintessential
Aussie-he loves people, yarning and
. He's especially passionate about conservation and wildlife and
what he calls "balancing the ledger". Unashamedly
patriotic and with a fiery conviction to save our rivers, Joe says
he's old enough to speak his mind and not care what people think
He's quick to tell you respect is
the only way to protect our birds, wildlife and environment. Walkabout
Joe - or Ronald William Murray as his parents christened him -
knows a thing or two about rivers. He's written books about the
plight of two major rivers, including the Darling, and blames
man's interference for destroying
Australia's precious water ecosystem.
Being waylaid in
, Joe decided to camp a couple of weeks at The Rocks, curious to
see first-hand how our own small river system compared to major
rivers such as the Darling.
Sadly, in both cases, he concluded man
was responsible for destroying entire water ecosystems,.
including our own River Wakefield. He succinctly and accurately
described the health of River Wakefield as "pretty
crook". Joe found the river reserve overrun with imported
weed, trees were exhibiting signs of stress and swarms of European
honey bees had invaded the area.
While he was camped there, he came across
a team of people from the Australian Native Fish Club on a field
trip. Of all the fish they caught in traps set along the course of
the river, none were Australian native fish.
He also struck up a conversation
with a well-dressed local man who reminisced about his youth when
he would camp, trap, fish and swim at The Rocks. "He lamented
that it wouldn't be possible today because of the river's
deterioration," Joe said. The same man commented he thought
many bird species had disappeared with the advent of mist