Leadbeaters's Possum - Investigation of Bass River Valley sighting 1962

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Leadbeaters's Possum - Investigation of Bass River Valley sighting 1962 is associated with Poowong located at these coordinates -38.440225, 145.53608

Following the publication of Norman McCance's article in the Weekly Times in 1961, he received dozens of letters reporting sightings of Leadbeater's Possum from a various locations across Victoria. He received a report from a family living in the Bass River Valley and passed this information to J McNally at Fisheries and Wildlife because this was from an area that was previously known to have Leadbeater's Possums present.

Record Citation: PROV VPRS 11559/P1/311
Record URL: http://www.access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewSeries&entityId=11559
Agency: VA 551
Agency URL: http://access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewAgency&entityId=551
Date: 22/3/1962
Record Type: Correspondence
Event Type:
Language: en
Copyright URL: http://prov.vic.gov.au/copyright
Related Resource URL: http://wiki.prov.vic.gov.au/index.php/Conservation_of_Leadbeater%27s_Possum
Thumbnail URL:
User Tags: leadbeater's possum, norman mccance, bass river valley, poowong

Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
McCance reports Bass River sighting 22 mar 1962.jpg I have tried to do justice to your evidence re European Carp and have just corrected the proof for issue “Weekly Times” next Wed 28/3/62.

By today’s mail I have a note from [..] and she does not say “perhaps!” but as follows:

“there are quite a few of these little Leadbeaters just below our farm in the Bass Valley. My son and his cobber caught two and brought them home one evening to show us and they were exactly the same as these” (she included page of WT of 29/11/61 showing your Leadbeaters portraits).

I have had literally dozens of letters locating them all over Victoria, but I think this “discovery” may warrant your investigation, seeing that it comes from the Bass Valley!

Yours faithfully Norman McCance

If so, I’d be grateful if you would tell me about it

Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
McNally reply 4 apr 1962.jpg RMW/EV

30th April, 1962


Mr. Norman McCance has informed this Department of your communication with him on the subject of Leadbeater's possums. I am anxious to obtain any information on the whereabouts of this rare possum as the reservation of areas where it still survives is a matter of immediate concern to the Department. Your report of their occurrence near Poowong is especially important as the two original specimens were obtained from the Bass River Valley in 1867. Unfortunately the exact locality was never recorded an no further specimens were obtained from this are. Your son's discovery is therefore doubly important.

If it could be arranged I would appreciate you son showing me the spot where he and his friend caught the two possums. How long ago were the possums caught and were they released at the same spot?

Your assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

         Yours sincerely,
         (R. M. WARNEKE)
         Research Officer

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Reminder letter 6 jun 1962.jpg RMW/EV

6th June, 1962


I wrote to you on the 30th April last and as I have not received a reply it is likely that the letter has gone astray.

Mr. Norman McCance passed on to this Department an extract of your letter to him on the subject of Leadbeater's Possum. I understand that your son and his friend caught two and that you were able to identify them from photographs published in the Weekly Times.

These photographs were provided for Mr.McCance's article in the hope that someone would recognise this extremely rare possum in their district. Your son's discovery is of considerable importance as this species was first known from two specimens taken in the Bass River Valley in 1867. Unfortunately the exact locality was never recorded and no further specimens were obtained from this are. In later years it was concluded that the original habitat had been cleared by settlers and that the possum had become extinct.

I am most anxious to see the spot where your son obtained two specimens. If it would not be convenient for him to show me personally perhaps you could provide me with a map or directions to the place. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated and any information that you can give would be regarded as confidential and would be retained in my own research files.

            Yours faithfully,
            R. M. WARNEKE
            Research Officer

Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
Report back to Norman McCance on Bass River sighting.jpg B/Fon

27/8/62 Initials 12/7/62


2nd July, 1962

Dear Mr. McCance,

This is just a note to let you know of the results of my investigations into the report of Leadbeater's possums at Poowong. Recently I visited the Maplesons, armed with photographs and a museum specimen of Gymnobelideus, which quickly settled the identity of the possum that their son caught and brought home. It was a Sugar Glider Petaurus breviceps, caught in a dip-net after it had emerged from its next hole. It was later released at the same spot. The locality was near to the Mapleson farm,in a belt of quite large Eucalypts in the valley of the Bass River, about a mile from Poowong. In the company of Mr. Mapleson I spotlighted in some of the remaining areas of bush to the north and west of Poowong but with little result - Ringtailed and Brushtailed possums and one Wallaby. This rich dairying country has been so extensively cleared that little bush of any consequence remains. I feel that there is little hope of Leadbeater's possum being found hereabouts now. When time permits I will visit the area again. With a knowledge of the habitat of the species at Cumberland I have some idea as to what to look for.

Many thanks for the report. I am currently engaged in a survey of the mammal fauna of Victoria and would appreciate any further reports of the occurrences of our less known mammals. There is so little information available on the present day distributions of many species that adequate conservation is almost impossible.

             With best wishes,
             (R. M. WARNEKE)
             Research Officer

Mr. Norman McCance


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