Most people know the island is possum-free, but not so many are aware that it wasn’t always so. As a primary school pupil living at the bottom end of the island in the early 1950s, Sue Pawley says she was involved in a successful local initiative begun in the late 1940s to eradicate these introduced pests. 

 Her dad was an army officer and part of the detachment at Stony Batter well into the post-war period. The family lived at Man O’ War Bay with other service personnel and their families. 

 “In those days it was a real community. You might be talking at somebody’s birthday and there might be 10 families there. Who came up with the fact that we had to get rid of the possums, I don’t know,” Sue says. “There were only about 800 people on the island at the time, maybe only 600. 

 “People said ‘right we’re going to get rid of these things’ and everybody just climbed on board. It wasn’t an egotistical thing and so nobody went around saying ‘that was my idea’. In those days you just got in and you worked.” •Rob Brennan

Full story in this weeks Gulf News… Out Now!!!


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