Casey Hawkins and Tom Rogers work at Potoroo Palace; on Friday they had a nightmare day as they rushed to get as many animals in their cars as they could.
Casey, who looks after the birds, said: “It started with that ridiculous heat. We were concerned for them all day. We had the misters going and the last thing we thought of was fire.
“But at about 2pm the police arrived and said we have to leave now, it was a real shock. Tom was really focused and fantastic. I was emotional and said I couldn’t leave without the animals.”
But head keeper, Vicki McPaul was insistent that Tom and Casey had to get what they could, get in the car and leave.
Casey was especially concerned for her beloved rare Cape Barren Goose and ducks which she had raised.
“I was in shock. It was gut wrenching, our worst nightmare. The animals knew there was something wrong, the ducks just stood there, very still and I was able to pick them up and put them in the back of the car,” Casey said:
The six-year-old female goose, Barry, was put into a box and put in the car too. Casey said: “She is very special to me and I was able to grab her and put her in the front seat, but the guilt driving away was terrible. It was sickening listening to the radio.”
Happily the ducks adapted to their new surroundings very easily. Casey lives at Clunes, Merimbula and the block is mostly permanent residents would weren’t fazed to see three ducks taking a dip in the units’ swimming pool on Saturday morning. In fact the ducks appeared so comfortable, one had even laid an egg.
But Casey had been concerned for the distressed Cape Barren Goose and so she decided to sleep out on a beach lounger in an enclosed area next to Barry, who on Saturday morning appeared none the worse for her experience.