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Magic Point – A Magic Place

By Keith Hutton on July 4, 2011 in Other

I was down at Malabar in the middle of May and set out to walk along one of the little tracks on the north side of Long Bay towards the cliffs at Magic Point. Apart from some wind-blown fishermen on the rocks and a young family huddled up on the sand below, there was no one around. It was bitterly cold and the air crystal clear; the sky largely a threatening charcoal grey, with snowy white cumulus mountains contrasted by the bright north western sun, and grey showers on the horizon. I pushed on regardless, along the soggy, slippery trail towards the rock platform, then to the eastern bushland area with its magnificent banksia scrub and the remains of tunnels, gun turrets, pillboxes and coastal surveillance posts, long abandoned after World War II. There was a rusted burnt-out car there too.

I poked around in the wreckage and was surprised to disturb two little geckos under a flaking, rusty panel. Lesueur’s Velvet Geckos had been discovered at Malabar recently so I assumed that’s what they were; I found another under a lump of concrete a few minutes later. Further opportunistic searches among the decaying rubble revealed three tiny Common Eastern Froglets close together in a shallow pool, a boldly-striped Copper-tailed Skink, and a Yellow-faced Whipsnake, which did not appreciate being disturbed on the cold, wintery afternoon. The snake shot out from under a broken concrete block and proceeded to throw its body around threateningly in a series of grotesque loops and curves in front of me. Scary! However, it soon calmed down then darted back safely under its original cover after the concrete had been carefully replaced; there was no way the feisty little critter was going to move house on such a cold day.

After this little scare, I wandered over to the edge of the cliffs and had a look out over the ocean to see if there were any albatrosses or whales about, but it was probably still too early in the year for them and I saw none. I imagine by the time you read this they will be here in numbers. A couple of black-backed Kelp Gulls and a gannet were below me, big, buoyant and obvious among the smaller Silver Gulls. Other than those there was nothing around so I scrambled through the spiky, tangled scrub to the old sealed road from the water treatment works and worked my way back to the car. It was an easier walk despite wet feet from the film of water seeping across the crumbling old road following recent rain. A Swamp Harrier ponderously flew south up ahead, then a Collared Sparrowhawk swung out in a wide arc low over the heath towards the car park.

It was good to see scarce native wildlife still present in both natural and modified habitats, despite urbanisation and changes in land use over many years. I (along with The Beast) am a strong supporter for the preservation and continuing restoration of the ecological, cultural and social values of Malabar Headland for the use and enjoyment of all future generations and recent experience there has reinforced the appreciation of this magic place.