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Relocating Kangaroos

Life on land

“When people around the world think Australia, they think Kangaroos and Koalas, in just the same when they think about Australia, they think the Great Barrier Reef or the Sydney Opera House”.

Peter Hylands, Andrea Hylands

November 12, 2022

As it turned out the relocation of the Kangaroos was a brilliant success and an exemplar for what should be done in other places when Kangaroos and other Australian species are trapped by urban development and infrastructure projects. All these animals deserve better than a bullet. Australian State Governments should also stop pretending that relocations of entrapped Australian wildlife are not possible. We see over and over again that they are.


The Sydney Opera House Concert Hall has just received a sparkling and brilliant renovation.

“After two and a half years, 2500 workers and a worldwide pandemic that held up work by five months, theSydney Opera House has revealed the $150 million final renovations of its largest performance space, the Concert Hall, which reopens next week”. Sydney Morning Herald July 2022

Meanwhile, the Great Barrier Reef, Koalas and Kangaroos have a very uncertain future, perhaps no future at all.

Relocating trapped Kangaroos

"At the time of our visit the situation was as follows. The Bathurst Regional Council had provided a block of land for the temporary housing of the Kangaroos as they were being gathered in from the surrounding landscape which included the nearby eastern slope of Mount Panorama, the location for a world famous car race, the Bathurst 1000."

So we made the long drive north from Melbourne to Bathurst, stopping by at Canberra to talk to Australia’s Threatened Species Commissioner, to visit the remarkable Kangaroo rescue and relocation, known as the Bathurst Kangaroo Project.

Bathurst Kangaroos

Ecologist, Ray Mjadwesch, partner Helen Bergen and a team of dedicated volunteers managed the project. In the video I ask Ray how he planned the complex move, of what was a significant number of animals.

The land where the Kangaroos were initially relocated to on Mount Panorama was a derelict orchard, due for redevelopment. The orchard land was surrounded by a temporary fence, an area where the Kangaroos on part of the mountain and surrounds were herded into before the final relocation to their new home.

The funding for the temporary fence had been provided by the Bathurst Regional Council.

Inside the fence there was an abandoned house and some shedding, the old orchard, which was well past its used by date, fruit trees felled and scraped together in heaps, their leaves long gone; a number of felled pine trees, still laying where they were cut and various piles of rubbish and remnants of farm tracks.

The ground cover was weedy grassland. The land external to the fence was in similar condition and was used as a campsite for people attending car races. This site was mostly strips of tarmac and strips of cut grass. There were numerous rubbish bins stored here, ready for the campers.

The area was generally unattractive and contained little vegetation of significance or value. In its natural state, the region would have been covered by Box-gum woodland and other plants such as the Bulbine Lily, an important food for the Wiradjuri people of the region.

The Kangaroos were not the only visitors to the old orchard site where the surrounding land contains remnant Yellow Box, as the last survivors of an ecosystem, that is now listed as endangered nationally (Grassy Box-gum woodland).

We note that incredibly the site supported a small population of Dusky Woodswallows (a threatened species), as well as Butcherbirds, Pardalotes who nest at the site, Rufous Whistlers, Lapwings, Thornbills, Wrens and various raptors, commonly the Black Kite, but occasionally Spotted Harrier, Black Falcon and Little Eagle (all threatened species), which prey on the numerous rabbits that live around Mount Panorama.

At the time of our visit, the Kangaroos (including joeys) had been gathered from the surrounding land and were held in the enclosed area. They joined the few Kangaroos already resident in the old orchard. During our visit we helped gather in the last few remaining Kangaroos from the mountain into the fenced collection area.

The final relocation site

The next stage of the project was to move the Kangaroos to a place of safety and a new site had been selected in a secluded location. Andrea and I visited the secret site, it is certainly a beautiful place and we hope the Kangaroos find peace there.

The tension builds

This was a complex and skilled project, gently gathering the Kangaroos into the relocation compound, then moving the Kangaroos to a safe and distant location and then settling them into their new home. It took a great deal of effort and compassion to make it work. Shockingly, the relocation team had to wait for New South Wales Government approvals to move the Kangaroos, which after delays, were eventually granted.

Safely at their new home

A brilliant success

As it turned out the relocation was a brilliant success and an exemplar for what should be done on other places when Kangaroos and other Australian species are trapped by urban development and infrastructure projects. All these animals deserve better than a bullet.

Ray Mjadwesch

Council support continued

The Bathurst City Council, then Mayor, Gary Rush and councillors, should be congratulated for extending the funding for the fence surrounding the interim holding compound until May of that year. Extra time was required because of delays by the New South Wales Government in granting approval for the relocation.