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THREE LITTLE TURTLES
Painting and story by Garry Purchase
When I was kid I lived in a house that had a huge backyard and over the years our family had all sorts of animals. There were 4 cats, 3 dogs. We had a huge walk-in avery with different birds, rabbits, Guinea pigs too.
In amongst the trees and plants we had a small pond that 3 eastern long necked turtles called home. We had them for years. We’d never intended to have turtles, but all three ended up with us in odd ways.
The first one I caught fishing in the Murray River near Albury whilst on a family holiday.
The second one was found by my father walking across a very busy road in Seven Hills. It had been hit by a car and its shell was badly broken and damaged. I’m surprised he survived.
And number three just sort of appeared. We found him buried under the backyard fence and figured he was one of ours until we realised there was already two in pond.
I think we had them for about fifteen years when we discovered that our house was riddled with termites and would have to be demolished and rebuilt.
We obviously couldn’t live there while that happened and there was no way to take the turtles with us to our temporary accommodation.
I knew a local park that had heaps of them in its huge ponds and lake systems. I took them down to an isolated and quiet spot far away from where people usually venture and released them into the water.
Watching them swim away to freedom following each other along is is a nice memory that’s always stuck with me. It made me happy that they could live out their days being free.