Two Stops Down

A journal on photography by Thomas Riggs

The Oz Experience, Part III: Conservation Volunteers Australia

Previously: Part II: Melbourne

The long-awaited third instalment of The Joshua Foundation’s 2009 trip to Australia, beginning with our journey and beautiful Wirrabee Gorge State Park.

I’d like to take this chance to thank Marcus and the entire Conservation Volunteers Australia group, for their hospitality and continuing service to the Australian countryside.

At 9 a.m., two CVA representatives arrived and described the week’s work sites to the Skippies. We would have to split into two groups – of which I joined the ‘first’, travelling with CVA representative Marcus, as part of the aptly named A-Team. Midway through the week, we would switch work sites with the other group.

Seeing as it had taken a few hours to get everything organised, we stopped for a morning drink before work. It was a cool day, like most of the days on the work sites: around 17ºC with a slight breeze, similar to mild autumn weather in the UK.

I looked up the road as we were packing up: “Kangaroo to the north!”

Everyone swivelled their heads as the brown-furred marsupial made its away across the road, and over our work site — followed closely by a dozen of its brethren, all making their own paths around the trees that had already been planted on the hillside.

A few of them stopped, and started grazing on some of the trees (and as we later found out, the guards too). […] The guards were assembled at the main ‘site’, with all the equipment locked away in cargo containers to protect against the wind. The first day was spent assembling hundreds of tree guards, and to navigate around the site.

Our last day working in Victoria was a welcome change of scenery for all. Rather than the wind blowing tools over, and the sun beaming through the cool air, we found ourselves at a cool woodland in Mount Buangor State Park.

Unaffected by the Victoria fires earlier in the year, the trees here towered over everything, rich with ferns and flowers lining the various bush-walks through the park.

And that concludes our Victoria leg of the trip. Check back later this week for Part IV: Sydney!

This series of posts document The Joshua Foundation’s 2009 trip to Australia, as part of their Oz Experience fundraising program. They include a sample of photographs and text from my book documenting the trip, available as a paperback and free PDF at

This article was published on 3 February 2010.