My Golden Friends

Roughly 28 years ago saw the beginning of my love for the dingo of Fraser Island. Being a very keen fisherwoman, the dingoes were always close by hoping to be fed a meal of fresh fish, which they loved. If you were too mean to feed them a few fish, they would help themselves from your catch in the bucket. I for one never minded, as there was plenty of fish to be caught in those days, and naturally the dingo still hangs around the beach looking for handouts.

The first dingo to attach itself to me personally was a young female. She just arrived from the bush, sat about at a distance watching me making a garden and coming closer all the time. Eventually she followed me from place to place in the garden. She was a loner and we became fast friends. All she wanted was company, and I didnt feed her in those days. There was plenty of feed for the dingoes, and not many tourists. I dubbed her Sally. Even when I was off the island she must have remained near home because when I came home to the island, in no time at all Sally would arrive, much to my joy. Then one day disaster struck. A young neighbour came to me to tell me Sally was lying dead on the beach. Much to my sorrow she had been deliberately run over by a 4 wheel drive, which the tourists and residents did quite often in those days. Its hard to imagine that people do these things to Gods creatures.

I didnt become attached to one particular dingo for a few years after that, and then a male made himself at home at my place. He never allowed any dingoes who came with him to stay. This went on for years until he became an old dog, mainly through fights by the look of him, and one day I saw him chased out of the Valley through my place by one of his sons and I never saw that old fellow Ding No. 1 again.

Then we had Ding's son taking over the Valley, so I just called him the same, Ding, which was just short for dingo, and he was with us for about 14 years. Now we had our new Ding, and very handsome he was, and it was only a short time later he brought his mate with him and our young lady dingo was in pup. They would lay around on the hillside of home resting, and even then Im sure they knew they were safe wherever I was. And the same applies to this very day since inside or near my home they must know they are away from harm.

There was so much feed for them then, the cattle (which National Parks eventually destroyed) and they also had the wild horses (brumbies), another food supply, and National Parks destroyed those also. Then they closed the tips, and removed almost the last food supply for the dingoes. Despite all this, Ding and Lady, as we called her (after all it was his lady dingo) had their pups each year. Hardly any survived, because the residents and visitors would shoot them, as so many seem to hate dingoes, especially if they come from the land. (farmers etc). I could never understand why they had to destroy our beautiful dingoes. Ah! what wonderful sport for our human males to destroy, maim and kill.

Ding and Lady were never any trouble to anyone, nor did they harm anyone, and gradually as their food supply went, so some of us in the Valley began to feed them any scraps we had, and Ding and Lady started bringing their family along. It was wonderful to watch. The mother, Lady, would go to the food and eat. She would allow her mate to eat with her or in turn he would sometimes allow her to eat with him, but the young ones dare not approach the bowl. When the parents left the food, the young ones ate.

Lady was always a sweetie, she would arrive at home near the door giving a yappy bark until I went out to talk to her and she would like very much to get a sweet biscuit. She would stay there licking my hand and arm as though saying, may I have a sweet biscuit. Give her even one and away she would go. How we loved that Lady. Ding would sit further away and watch all this, but he never went near a human being.

This pair of dingoes carried on in this fashion all over the years. Lady and Ding would go walkabout, I suppose to hunt. They would take all their young family with them miles and miles into the rainforest. They might be gone 3 or 4 days, but they always came home to the Valley. After each Christmas the numbers in the family were always down to Ding, Lady and two or three of the offspring. You would report hearing shots to National Parks, and you would know you would be down a dingo. Because no-one could be caught or blamed, it still goes on. In November 1993 we lost our Lady. She is now dead and we do not know how. When I questioned National Park rangers, they merely said she must have got sick and died. She was perfectly healthy.

Now Ding only had orphans left in the family, which he took under his fatherly care. He took them with him on walks. As he got older, he became a very beaten-up old man who got very tired. He looked after his family until early this year (1994) when he was caught in a dingo trap, as was one of the young ones, and shot by National Parks, on orders from the Minister of the Environment. So ends the lives of our Lady, about 12 years old, and Ding, who was then about 14 years old.

We are now treasuring the only one son of Lady and Ding called Hoppy, who hops along because of a bullet wound, and who is grandson of the old pair Handsome, and my dear golden girl I called Miss Pretty, who is the granddaughter of our dear Lady and Ding. Also Little Orphan Annie, named because she was orphaned when her parents were shot.

Lily wrote this sad story in 1994. By 1998 when Lily was forced to leave the Island due to ill health, all of her beloved dingoes had been killed by the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service. Lily is now over 80 years old and lives on the mainland. She still campaigns for the protection of The Fraser Island dingoes.

by Lily Bastin, written in 1994.