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News & Events
Euroa village home to nature’s best
October 11, 2017
The young barn owl found stunned at OCAV’s Currie Park village in Euroa recently ended up in safe hands when gardener Tony McMillan came to the rescue. Tony loves birds and their habitats and he seldom travels around the countryside without his bird reference book.
He reckons the young owl was blown off course during a very windy day in Euroa and was stunned after hitting something and fell to the ground.
“I knew he was stunned because his eyes had turned white. I took him to the vet and they put a cloth over the cage and put him in a dark room and the colour returned to his eyes. A ranger then took him and released him into a safe area outside of town,” Tony said.
Bird spotting is one of the great benefits of working in country Victoria at the foothills of the Strathbogie Ranges. The Currie Park gardens are mostly native with a selection of red, white, ironbark and ghost gums and Tony’s favourites, the bottlebrush. He loves the native trees because of their appearance and mostly because they attract the birds, especially the blue wrens and the new holland honey eaters. As the gardener he values the native plant’s tolerance to the drought conditions so often experienced in Euroa. As well as the natives Tony tends to the 150 plus rose bushes that are set to bloom.
The winter of 2017 has been a dry one in Euroa and Tony anticipates having to manage the gardens through another dry summer and almost certain water restrictions. He has done it before and will manage again this year. Fortunately, he has a lot of experience and gardening wisdom to draw on in the village.
“A lot of the residents have a wealth of knowledge about gardens and a lot of other things and they share what they know. I have learned a lot from them,” Tony said. “It can be hard to keep the gardens alive during our summers around here but we have a plan and do what we can to manage the conditions. We can’t do much about the weather, can we?”
“There’s a lot of free mulch available around the town and I grab it when it is on offer. That certainly helps maintain the moisture in the ground.”
Tony loves his job and takes great pride in the gardens at Currie Park where he has worked for almost six years, with a break in the middle to try life in Tasmania. It’s more than just a workplace.
“I treat this place like I treat my own home because of the residents; it’s their home. And there’s nothing like working out in the gardens to improve how you feel. You can be having a bad day, but once you get working in the garden your thoughts change and you start to think about what’s possible,” he said. “It’s the same for anyone, the garden can make you feel better. A lot of the residents here enjoy sitting in the garden in a chair and just being in it. It gives you pleasure.”
Pete Zawacki drove to Leith Park twice a week to visit his mother, Helen, until her death a year ago. After she died he wanted to honour her memory and ‘repay’ the kindness staff showed her by volunteering.Read More