Nicholas Duckworth’s photograph Wetland Safety Zone taken on his property, north of Grafton.
Nicholas Duckworth’s photograph Wetland Safety Zone taken on his property, north of Grafton.

Wetland's winning photo

OF all of the photographs taken of wetlands around Australia, it is a Clarence Valley scene that has taken the open section of the WetlandCare Australia national art and photography competition.

Clarence Valley photographer Nicholas Duckworth took the winning photograph overlooking the wetland on his property at Gurranang, 35km north of Grafton, during the bushfires in October.

He said he was awakened from an afternoon nap when helicopters landed in his front yard.

“The fires were burning two to three kilometres to the north and the firefighters landed and saved the day,” Nicholas said.

“They saved quite a few houses around here using water out of the wetland.

“I don’t think people realise how important wetlands are in that kind of situation.”

Nicholas named his photograph ‘Wetland Safety Zone’.

But the wetland hasn’t always been so lush.

When Nicholas and his wife, Daisy, first moved out to the property 12 years ago the wetland was dry and barren and the only sign of life was ‘two old butcher birds’.

“When we first came here the land was really in a bad way,” he said.

“The wetland had been drained and the land was used as a cattle farm.”

The couple has worked hard over the years rehabilitating the land, restoring the natural water courses and planting trees.

“We have rehabilitated the place for the wildlife and it’s amazing just how much life has come back,” Nicholas said.

These days he said there were over 150 different species of birds found at the wetland and an abundance of wildlife.

The couple named the property ‘Duck for Cover Farm’ because they wanted it to be a place where wildlife could go to hide and survive.

“It’s been lots of hard work but for Daisy and I, it’s a real love,” Nicholas said. “We get so much enjoyment out of it.”

Photographs and artwork by Nicholas can be seen at the Grafton cafe Vines@139.

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