A colony of little penguins on a remote island near Sydney are moving into new, specially designed bunkers to ensure their survival, after a bushfire wiped out their habitat last year. Little penguins are just that — about 35 centimeters tall and 1 kilogram in weight when fully grown. In Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, there are just two remaining colonies.
One in the seaside suburb of Manly is endangered because of hunting by foxes and development, while the other on Lion Island, an 8 hectare outpost in the city’s north, is struggling following a bushfire that destroyed much of the island in 2018.
To help the population recover, wildlife rangers have installed 20 concrete burrows on Lion Island. They are fireproof and protect the penguins from predators, such as foxes and goannas. Rachel Labador is from the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.
“There is a nice curve in the burrows, so that stops predators coming in. So no goannas, or cats or dogs can fit around it. The birds are coming onto the island for what we call ‘prospecting,’ looking for their places to mate and then lay their eggs. So we are hoping in a month or two we will come on the island and these will be occupied by birds on eggs. It will be perfect,” said Labador.
The little penguin is the only species of penguin that breeds on the Australian mainland. These small creatures are found along the southern coasts of Australia. Originally, they were fairly common on the Australian mainland, but now their colonies are generally restricted to offshore islands.
Wildlife officials say that if the concrete shelters on Lion Island are successful, there are plans to install more in other places where fires and predators threaten the penguins. The ocean is the little penguin’s natural environment. Their wings have evolved into flippers that help them to swim gracefully underwater, where they feed on small fish, squid and krill. (VOA)
Located just 6km west of Sydney’s city centre, perched on a peninsula in Sydney Harbour, Balmain cemented itself primarily as the home of working families. It has a strong industrial background and was the home to coal mines, shipbuilding, metal foundries, boiler making and engineering.
Governor Hunter granted 550 acres to colonial surgeon William Balmain in 1800 and from then on, the first settlement of the Balmain peninsula was slow due to the lack of transport to the area. However, it’s now easily accessible by car, public transport and even by a ferry crossing.
If you’re looking for some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city life in Sydney, Balmain is just a 10-minute drive away. You will definitely want to visit the area, so be sure to compare car rentals in Sydney to find your perfect vehicle.
The area is charming and well known for its numerous pubs and friendly village atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to while away the time with peaceful walks, a spot of shopping and tasting the local food – all with fantastic harbour views. Darling Street, running from Rozelle all the way to the water’s edge at Balmain East Ferry Wharf is the best place to begin your adventure in Balmain.
Admire the views
As Sydney is just across the water, Balmain’s Thornton Park is the perfect spot to take in the fabulous views of the harbour, city and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The park has picnic tables available for you to sit and enjoy your lunch while you soak up the sights before getting back to your adventure.
Spot of shopping
No visit to the area would be complete without taking a gander around Balmain Market, one of Sydney’s oldest markets with a history dating back to the 1970s. Stroll around the historic grounds of St Andrews Congregational Church, to find an abundance of handmade products, jewellery and giftware, as well as a selection of tasty food to suit everyone. The market is open every Saturday from 09:00 to 15:00 in summer, and every second Saturday of the month thereafter, weather permitting.
Wine and dine
Balmain is known for its fantastic selection of eateries and bars. We’ve taken a look at the places you need to pay a visit to when you’re in the area:
Enjoy contemporary Turkish cuisine in a restored Victorian mansion. If that wasn’t enough, Efendy also has an intimate cellar cocktail bar. You know you’ll be experiencing genuine Turkish dishes; the Efendy kitchen team is entirely Turkish, with each member representing a different culinary region
Our Place on Darling
This is a cosy bar/cafe with rustic wooden tables and a courtyard – a perfect place for all seasons. Our Place on Darling serves modern Australian cuisine with a range of events throughout the week. Enjoy live music every Sunday night between 18:00 and 20:00 and if you’re up for a challenge, Our Place also has tech-free Tuesdays where if you make it through dinner without your phone or device, they will give you a free chocolate brownie and ice cream.
For wood-fired pizzas, classic dishes and a fresh selection of Italian and Australian produce, including antipasti, prosciutti, pizza rosse, pizza bianche, and pizza vegane look no further than Rossopomodoro.
Balmain East has changed from a working-family suburb to a thriving busy area. For a relaxing day-trip soaking up the world-famous harbour and sampling local delicacies, this is the perfect destination.