We have now completed the inspection of the former prison areas, again finding nothing out of the ordinary. But I came across a journal of a former prisoner the other day that is quite interesting.
The former Industrial School or Reformatory is quite extensive and contains a number of wooden structures. We have been monitoring them for termites for several years now, but I am happy to report that none has been discovered. One of the largest buildings associated with the school is the old headmaster’s house and we spent several days examining the walls and flooring for signs of pests. In the process we met a new ranger, Ted Wilson, who seems to spend much of his time there. He has also taken over responsibility for the tunnels and associated cavities that we will be inspecting as the last phase of our study.
The Air Raid Shelters are not very extensive, so inspection has not required much time. Again, a clean bill of health.
It would seem that we must forgo any inspection of the tunnel and cavities areas of the site this year as Ted Wilson informs me that he has stored some technical equipment there on a temporary basis. He promises that we may inspect next year if we simply give him a quick call before coming. This area has been clear of pests for the last two inspections and there is no evidence of any problem so we shall have to respect his wishes in the matter.
Have tried to reach Ted Wilson several times over the last few days without success. Our spot checks of potentially troublesome area on the island have proceeded well, but I am concerned that we will again not be able to examine the cavernous areas beside the tunnels.
The time and budget allotted for this year’s inspection has now been expended and I feel we have done a very thorough job with one glaring exception. We still have not been able to view what people increasingly call the ‘cave’. Ted Wilson has been unreachable and other staff are too busy with their own responsibilities to get involved. We have all agreed to let this go another year as there has not been any indication of pests that would cause any worry.
Congratulations to Cockatoo Island on becoming a World Heritage Site yesterday.
Our plan for the 2011 Inspection of Cockatoo Island is similar to last year’s in that we will rely on sampling rather than the full inspection which we have conducted every third year and which was last performed in 2009. However, because the former dockyards are such a large area, we will spend a little more time there this year than in previous years. Of course we will also do a full inspection of the tunnels and especially the cavernous area associated with them as we have not been able to examine them for several years now.
The dockyard area has held a fascination for all of the staff each time we have performed an inspection and they regularly vie to see who can lead the examination of that area.
Laura shot some photos this time to put on the blog. The rangers and staff, with the exception of Ted Wilson, have again been quite helpful.
Well, we have come to the same impass as in previous years. Ted Wilson continues to resist our inspection of the large cavernous area formed by one of the tunnels that was not fully built out. As no one has time to pursue this further and we have no authority to forcibly enter we must again omit this area from this year’s inspection. Fortunately, our lack of inspection in recent years seems not to have had any deleterious effect on controlling pests on the island as we continue to find the island pest-free.