Saturday, 25 January 2014


Because I'm back on the road, I thought I might take a look at the Shuroo.

There's a couple of reasons for this.

One is the prevalence of macropods of all shapes, sizes and colours on the road because of the drought, and the fact that she who must be obeyed (the fleet manager) allocated me a vehicle with a Shuroo fitted.

On close examination, after noting that the car (a late model Camry) actually had one, I also noted that it was mounted upside down. I have no idea whether that makes any difference. I don't think sound transmissions are effected by orientation.

Speakers work whichever way you arrange them.

The other thing I noticed was the sandblasted appearance of this thing. Apparently it has been fitted to three different vehicles over time, so somebody thinks it works.

A quick Google turned up an article which pretty much debunks their effectiveness. Here's the abstract  from -

 Roo-Guard® sound emitters are not effective at deterring tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) from a source of food - Sarah MuirheadA, Dominique BlacheA, Boyd WykesB and Roberta BenciniA,C
ASchool of Animal Biology, M085, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences,
The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.
BDefence Estate Organisation LB 5001, Fremantle, WA 6959, Australia.

Auditory deterrents such as the Roo-Guard® sound emitters (Shu-Roo Australia Pty Ltd) have been used to keep kangaroos off crops and airstrips. We tested the efficacy of the Roo-Guard® Mk II sound emitter in deterring tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) from a known source of food on Garden Island, Western Australia, where up to 400 tammars are killed yearly by vehicles. The device was not effective in deterring the tammars from the food even when an alternative source of food was available. It was concluded that the Roo-Guards in their present form are not suitable to keep tammars off the roads of Garden Island.

That sounds pretty cut and dried, but when you read how the research was carried out, it muddies the waters, as the things were tested in situ (stationary) - not on moving vehicles.

You would have to assume that conclusions from the stationary tests apply to the device when it is moving, and I'm not sure that is a valid assumption.

Anyway, anecdotally, no vehicle fitted with a Shuroo in our fleet has hit a roo or wallaby. I average one hit every three years, and I reckon I know where they congregate, and don't drive at dawn or dusk.

Also anecdotally, I have always fitted those cheap ($7) roo whistles to my private cars, and have never hit a roo although I do a fair bit of bush driving.

They don't repel taxis, but that's another story.
I reckon these work

I didn't hit anything this trip, by the way.

Monday, 20 January 2014


New style climber
                                                                              Old style climber 

Back to work this week.

My first job is training staff in a bush school in the use of a stairclimber.

This was a regular part of the job, before the days of the BER scheme, but now that every school has at least one accessible building, it's become rare.

In the case of this student, the classroom is accessible, toilets built under BER are accessible, but the music room (attended once weekly) is not.

It's not practical for the music teacher to ship all her gear downstairs for the class lessons involving the student in the wheelchair, so a stairclimber is a solution.

Technology around disabilities has advanced in leaps and bounds in the thirty or so years that I've been involved, and nothing makes this clearer than a comparison between the new machine (top) and the old one (bottom).

The new one breaks down into three pieces that can be fitted into a small hatchback. The old one needed a station wagon or a ute.


Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...