‘I can remember that during “Show and Tell” at Primary School a boy brought in a little dead bat in a matchbox and I was so fascinated that I bought it from him for a penny. As a kid, I loved taking photos of the ringtails in our garden in Newtown. I’ve lived in Geelong all my life and I’ve always had an interest in wildlife.’ Trevor Pescott has written a weekly column in the Geelong Advertiser since 1960, initially about wildlife and more recently birdwatching.
‘Another memorable incident was playing tennis for the Church team. We had to take turns umpiring so I was sitting there in the umpire’s chair. “15-love”, “15 all”, “30-15”…Then a flock of ibises flew over and I recall one of the players calling out “What’s the score?” but I had no idea. So I gave it away and took up birdwatching instead.
‘My wife Priscilla and I worked at the Corio Shire when we met. She still reminds me that on one of our early outings I took her out for a country drive one Sunday afternoon- to the sewerage farm where I’d planned to do some birdwatching.
‘I grew up in Newtown, moved to Belmont with my parents and siblings aged 16, then to our own home in Belmont when we got married. My Great Grandfather came out from the UK in the 1850s. He worked as a builder, initially building houses along the Ballarat train line until he started his own business. My Grandad and Dad were builders and so were both my brothers over the years whereas I can’t hammer a nail straight! My brother John went on to write regularly in the Geelong News then started his own publishing firm. Our family have been part of the Geelong scene for a long time.
‘I’ve seen lots of changes but the important thing is the birds are still here. There are places around the Geelong region that are known internationally and birdwatchers come from all over the globe. Mud Island in Port Philip Bay is renowned, as is the Western Treatment plant which draws an extraordinary variety of birdlife.
‘The wildlife column in the Addie had been written throughout the 40s and 50s by Percival Wood who went under “P.J.W”. I’d had a bit to do with him and he used some of my photos. In 1958 he died and in 1960 I was asked if I would take it over. Initially it was called “By Field and Lane”- can you tell the Editor at that time was British? My friends insisted it should have been called “Paddock and Track”. Later it became “Environment” then simply “Birdwatching”.
‘It’s been very interesting. I’ve met lots of people who say they read my column or that they liked a particular article. In ‘61 with a small group of friends I founded the Geelong Field Naturalists Club. It’s still an active group. http://www.gfnc.org.au/
‘Since my hearing is not so good I focus on reptiles and mammals now. That’s my main activity. Mind you, I still take an interest in birds, I couldn’t not. The varieties of birdlife and their flight paths is constantly changing. I’m a firm believer of Climate Change and I see it impact on the birdlife.’
Trevor was nominated by a loyal follower who, like many, marvel at his knowledge. He has also written several books on the regions natural history.
Black Cockatoo by Amelia Anderson Photography