Leadbeater's Possum Rediscovery Day

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Eric Wilkinson with several of his photographs and research documents at the Rediscovery Picnic 2017 at Cambarville

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The Big Culvert near Cambarville

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Eric Wilkinson

The remarkable rediscovery of 1961

On April 3rd, 1961 Leadbeater’s Possum was discovered at Cambarville and Tommy’s Bend, not far from Marysville, in Victoria’s Central Highland Mountain Ash eucalypt forests.

Geologist Eric Wilkinson, along with two colleagues, had ventured to Cambarville as members of the Mammal Survey Group, looking for Greater Gliders  On the evening of April 3, Eric ventured alone not far from the main Marysville-Woods Point Road, near The Big Tree which is only several hundred metres from the old Cambarville logging township. With a torch he looked into the surrounding wattle trees and vegetation and spotted a Leadbeater’s Possum which he recognised by its distinctive tail, having seen specimens in the Melbourne Museum, where he worked. Later that evening, as they approached Marysville on the way home, a bird flew across the road and they stopped the car. Shining their torches into the trees they saw a second Leadbeater’s Possum! Eric returned to Tommy’s Bend the following week with his camera and a new flash and succeeded in capturing the first ever photographs of a Leadbeater’s Possum.

Video courtesy of the Museum of Victoria