DEAD END: Bruce McCulloch at one of the warning signs he and neighbours put on a tricky steep bend, part of a lethal 2km stretch of road where about 100 wallabies have been killed as the human population increases.
DEAD END: Bruce McCulloch at one of the warning signs he and neighbours put on a tricky steep bend, part of a lethal 2km stretch of road where about 100 wallabies have been killed as the human population increases. Arthur Gorrie

100 of these animals have been killed on this Gympie road

BENIAN Rd at The Palms is at the centre of a recovering ecosystem and is now at risk of becoming a wildlife death zone.

Bruce and Maureen McCulloch and their near neighbour Wendy McPherson say they are amazed at the return of wildlife to their backyards, which drop down to a hidden patch of rainforest on the riverbank.

The three say 100 wallabies have been killed on the few kilometres of house site access that is their street in about 20 years. Ms McPherson says the body count is more than 20 in only the last few years.

 

A rare rock wallaby, killed by a passing car, along with its joey, too young to save.
A rare rock wallaby, killed by a passing car, along with its joey, too young to save. Contributed

One of the problems is a winding access road that would probably not be allowed under current regulations.

The design of the road is completely incompatible with shared use by wildlife, vehicles and pedestrians.

The neighbours say there are about 30 houses at the high end of their road and the population growth has brought challenges the road was probably never designed for.

Bruce and Maureen welcome the return of some quite rare wildlife, including varieties such as Herbert's rock wallaby, that are listed as vulnerable "over most of their range from here and Nanango to East Gippsland," Mr McCulloch says.

"We get children walking on the road," Mrs McCulloch said.

"People come visiting and get up for a morning walk.

"They can be in trouble if a car is coming down the hill too fast."

 

A rare rock wallaby from the McCulloch's back veranda at The Palms, where wildlife is making a comeback, despite the traffic hazard.
A rare rock wallaby from the McCulloch's back veranda at The Palms, where wildlife is making a comeback, despite the traffic hazard. Contributed

They agree it is the kind of road that looks adequate until someone comes the other way, or until a pedestrian or a wallaby appears in front of you.

A local wildlife carer has more work than she wants, they say.

"There's a small group of us involved in getting funding to control weeds and involving the community in its work.

"There's no need to speed in a short dead-end street," she said.

But there is hope as the neighbourhood becomes more aware of the shared nature of the road.

"Since we put the signs up a lot of people have slowed down."

 

ON THE ROCKS: A rare rock wallaby, right at home in a Gympie peri-urban back yard.
ON THE ROCKS: A rare rock wallaby, right at home in a Gympie peri-urban back yard. Contributed

"We've managed to get the council to lower the speed limit to 60km/h," Ms McPherson said.

"And that's all they can do," Mr McCulloch said.

The rest is up to residents, and on that subject, the McCullochs report good news..

"Well over 90 per cent of people in the street are very happy to have the wildlife around," Mrs McCulloch said.

"We're very fortunate to have the animals."

Mr McCulloch said the wallaby was killed last week.

Ms McPherson distributed a pamphlet to letterboxes a few days later, warning of the problem.

Victories so far include "getting the koalas back after not seeing them for 20 years".