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Dugongs¯ Defend The Reef

Story: Redcliffe Guide
Published On : Nov 26, 2015
Dugongs¯ Defend the Reef
The Mavis Filmer award, given to honour environmental efforts in the Moreton Bay region, hasn't been endowed to anyone for at least ten years.

But this year, things have changed!

Local environmental group, the Dugong Collective, are the Mavis Filmer Award winners for 2015 and have been recognised for an outstanding contribution to the environment.

The group were awarded the honour at Redcliffe Seaside Artists gallery on 4th November.

The Mavis FIlmer award was originally created to honour the late owner of the Filmer Palace Hotel by the original dugong group the Redcliffe Dugongs. This troupe was the brain child of Richard Lancaster and started in 1998 out of concern for a small heard of dugongs in Moreton Bay. The group grew enormously in popularity, inducting prominent members Peter Beattie and Steve Irwin. When they disbanded there was a void left within the environmental community.

Richard Lancaster, the chairman for the Mavis Filmer Awards, says the Dugong Collective filled this need to give a voice to the marine life in Moreton Bay.

This year because of the tremendous work of Ray, Angie and Malaika Gannon in the dugong collective, we decided we would award them the Mavis Filmer Award¯, he said.

They literally picked up what the Redcliffe Dugongs were doing. They have built on what we did in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Mavis Filmer award is given by our little committee, which are all ex-Redcliffe Dugongs, to people who have done great work in relation to looking after the environment and indeed the wild creatures of the Moreton region.¯

Angie Gannon, who started the Dugong Collective with her husband Ray, says they are just a group of people who love marine life and want to make a difference.

We're just very passionate about the dugongs, turtles and dolphins in the bay,¯ Angie said.

Their enthusiasm for the reef has certainly attracted a lot of attention with over 5,000 people signing up to be members of the Dugong Collective. Their latest campaign is concentrated on trying to prevent littering in the bay.

We have a lot of followers who go along picking up rubbish, fishing line, hooks and plastic from the shore. We're also trying to get the council to have a patrol sweep along the rocks where the rubbish gets caught. I know the Redcliffe council have a tractor that cleans the beach to get rid of all of the bits, but nothing gets up on to the rocks. When it's high tide or it has been stormy all the rubbish gets stuck up there.¯

The group are also currently trying to raise money to install a life-size dugong statue featuring a Mother and her calf in the Redcliffe CBD area.

There are tourist signs with the dugongs on and everybody always drives around and says well, where are they?¯ Angie says.

We don't want people to actually go out there looking for the dugongs because they are very shy creatures and very important too. We thought why not have a designated spot in Redcliffe so that people can come and see it. They can sit and have a coffee and admire the statue. They don't have to go out there to disturb the dugongs.¯

The Dugong Collective have a stall at the Redcliffe markets every Sunday with all of the proceeds going towards conservation efforts.

Next year the Mavis Filmer awards will be back with another deserving recipient. ¢¢