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News > School News > Juliet Magee - winner of the alumni entries in the Pate's Environment Photography Competition.

Juliet Magee - winner of the alumni entries in the Pate's Environment Photography Competition.

Congratulations to Juliet Magee for her wonderful photographs which really impressed the judging panel - images showcasing the rich variety of the flora and fauna of her adopted country Australia.
Taking Flight - Peel Inlet Western Australia
Taking Flight - Peel Inlet Western Australia

I moved to Perth in Western Australia (WA) for a work opportunity in 1983, intending initially to stay for a two year contract. Like many others, I fell in love with the lifestyle, warm Mediterranean climate and stunning landscape, and decided to stay, eventually becoming an Australian Citizen in 1998. 

Perth has just ranked sixth in the list of most liveable cities in the world, however locals affectionately call it Dullsville. It is a clean, modern and picturesque city with great ocean and river beaches, excellent schools and a variety of restaurants and vineyards.  Whilst at high school, my sons had the choice of surfing or sailing as their summer sports – a contrast to our more predictable options of athletics or tennis. I have adjusted to AFL (Australian Football League) being the dominant sport in WA. My family supports the West Coast Eagles, one of two local AFL teams and, after thirty-eight years, I even understand the rules.

I have also had the chance to live in Sydney and Melbourne for a few years and have travelled extensively across the country for both work and recreation. With adult children now living in both cities, I have plenty of excuses to return regularly. 

From my perspective, Australia is best experienced through all the natural environment-based activities on offer.  Interacting with nature here can be as restful or as exhilarating as you like. My own highlights have included: 

•    Watching a mob of kangaroos moving at speed across the desert landscape near Alice Springs from a hot air balloon at 2,000 feet
•    Swimming with wild dolphins just off the coast of WA
•    Being surrounded by wombats whilst hiking through grass meadows in Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania
•    Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef 
•    Watching inquisitive quokkas trying to raid the pantry of our holiday cottage on Rottnest Island 
•    Being given an unscheduled flight around Uluru (Ayers Rock) whilst on a domestic flight
•    Camping at Lake Ballard, a vast and remote salt lake in WA and the location for Anthony Gormley’s ‘Inside Australia’ art installation
•    Walking through WA bushland in early spring to photograph wild orchids – there are over 400 species of native orchid in WA alone
•    Enjoying the noise from flocks of cockatoos, parrots and corellas flying over Kings Park in Perth
•    Photographing a squadron of pelicans taking off from Peel Inlet, Mandurah – they are large creatures and their flight is quite awkward until airborne

Covid-19 lockdowns have stopped us from travelling interstate and overseas for the last eighteen months, so enjoyment of the natural environment has been limited to our back gardens, local parks, wetlands and nature reserves. Three of the photos I submitted to the photography competition were taken only a short distance from home.

 

1.    This photo was taken in the early morning at Peel Inlet, about forty kilometres south of Perth. The bird on the left is a yellow-billed spoonbill and the two other birds are Australian white ibis, now considered a pest species in urban areas where they are colloquially known as “Bin Chickens”.  

 


2.    This was taken at Herdsman Lake Regional Park, an area of urban wetlands only seven kilometres from Perth CBD which provides a breeding ground to at least twenty species of waterbirds, and a resting spot for migratory birds. This urban parkland is flanked by a housing estate on one side and a business park on the other and yet is able to provide an effective sanctuary for birds, including two protected species, the peregrine falcon and Australasian bittern.

 


3.    This is a macro photograph of some bracts of the flower head of a Leucospermum Cordifolium. The furry bracts are tightly packed together until the flower blooms into a large globe, resembling a pincushion. This introduced form of protea is frequently used in WA gardens and parks because of its drought tolerant nature. Watering restrictions are in place in WA every summer, so planting “water-wise” natives and other species is encouraged especially as maximum temperatures can reach well above 40° C in the summer months (40° C = 104° f).

 


4.    This image was taken near Marysville in Victoria at the beginning of 2020. The white trees dominating the landscape are dead Mountain Ash which were burnt by the “Black Saturday” bushfires eleven years previously. It is thought that clear felling of these areas and subsequent planting of Mountain Ash, instead of native trees, contributed to the ferocity of blazes in this area. The contrast between the living and dead trees in this image is enhanced by the use of black and white. Moments before I took this image, I caught my first glimpse of a Lyrebird in the bush – it was too quick for a photo, but still a thrill.

 

Juliet Magee (Hall) PGSG 1971-1977

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