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Five Islands Creation Story Inspires Rehabilitation Project

Media release: 14 December 2015

The Five Islands creation story painted by respected Koori artists Lorraine Brown and Narelle Thomas was unveiled today at a celebration hosted by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

NPWS commissioned the painting, hung at the NSW Government Offices in Wollongong, to celebrate the success of the Seabird Breeding and Nesting Habitat Rehabilitation Project. The project is a joint initiative of NPWS, the Friends of Five Islands volunteers and Berrim Nuru Environmental Services.

Diane Garrood, NPWS Regional Manager said the painting depicted the five islands in Five Islands Nature Reserve, including Big Island (Booirodoong) where current conservation efforts are restoring nesting habit for Little Penguins, shearwaters and petrels.

"The Islands are internationally recognised breeding grounds for migratory seabirds that arrive in August and leave mid-May, often returning to the same nesting site each year," said Ms Garrood.

"The focus of the joint rehabilitation project with Berrim Nuru and the Friends of Five Islands volunteers is the steady removal of weeds, particularly Kikuyu grass and Coastal Morning Glory that entangle seabirds and smother their nests.

"NPWS, Berrim Nuru and the Friends of Five Islands have been steadily replacing these weeds with more than 3500 native seedlings to provide healthy seabird habitat," said Ms Garrood.

The rehabilitation of Five Islands has attracted respected scientists from across the country who are surveying the nesting birds and providing NPWS with baseline data to measure the benefits of regeneration efforts.

"Today we were fortunate to hear Aunty Lorraine Brown retell the creation story, one of many freshwater and saltwater Dharawal creation stories that relate to the five islands clustered off the coast from Port Kembla," said Ms Garrood. Five Islands Nature Reserve.

"These stories remind us of the connection between family, land and caring for country and provide wonderful encouragement to NPWS in its rehabilitation of the Islands.

"I’d like to thank Aunty Lorraine Brown and the Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation for generously sharing their stories, inspiring our efforts to rehabilitate the Islands and protect its seabirds," Ms Garrood said.

See the National Parks and Wildlife Service website for more information on Five Islands Nature Reserve.

Photos for media: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nswnationalparks/albums/72157661793026750

Contact: Sarah Scroope

Page last updated: 14 December 2015