Lagoon caretaker nominated as Australian Local Hero

Article image - Lagoon caretaker nominated as Australian Local Hero Brian McWilliam in McMinns Lagoon Recreation Reserve.

McMinns Lagoon Recreation Reserve showcases a majestic preservation of nature; its caretaker is up for an Australia’s Local Hero award.

Litchfield Council area covers 3100 square kilometers and is the gateway to adventure. Up the road from Humpty Doo and only 25 minutes from Darwin CBD, tucked away in the rural area is the magnificent McMinns Lagoon – one of Litchfield Council’s seven Recreational Reserves.

Brian McWilliam is the Caretaker of McMinns Lagoon. In 1978, he helped found the McMinns Lagoon Reserve Association Inc, when he saw the area beginning to be wrecked by motorbikes and weeds.
The Association is a volunteer community management committee that cares for and maintains the Reserve on behalf of Litchfield Council.

For his work with the association, McWilliam has been nominated as a Finalist for a 2015 Northern Territory Landcare Award and Australia’s Local Hero in the Australian of the year awards.

The Reserve area is just over 40 hectares and the lagoon is home to hundreds of water birds, water plants and aquatic life. It holds water all year round even now at the end of the dry season. The Reserve has excellent walking tracks and picnic areas thanks to the endless work of volunteers and Council Land management it can be enjoyed by all.

Part of the lagoon edge was cleared when land parcels were divided up nearby. Since then, hundreds of trees have been planted, signs and tracks installed and many weeds managed.

The Green Army team, hosted through Conservation Volunteers, McMinns Lagoon Reserve Association Inc and Litchfield Council have been working at the lagoon on land management issues, such as weed control, carrying out wildlife camera surveys, bird counts and building up their skills in many areas.

Since the late 70s, the McMinns Lagoon Reserve Association has established important partnerships with local schools, government departments, Natural Resource Management organisations, local businesses and the community.

McWilliam has been the driving force behind it all, coordinating activities, conservation and restoration initiatives, and most recently, coordinating the NT’s first ever ‘Bushcare’s Major Day Out’.

McWilliam’s continued commitment to the McMinns Lagoon Recreational Reserve ensures it remains a significant site for local residents and wildlife, and has earnt him the well-deserved Landcare Award nomination.