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Australia: National Parks & Wildlife Association

A conservation volunteer day at Goat Island

About this project

On October 18, 2017, Endemol Shine Australia partnered with the National Parks & Wildlife Association to hold a Conservation volunteering day at Goat Island.

“Goat Island lies just 1km as the crow flies from ESA’s Sydney HQ. Smack bang in the middle of Sydney Harbour, the island is second only in size to Cocteau Island which once a year we take over and transform into Ninja Island for TV Megahit Australian Ninja Warrior. Today it was time for Goat Island to see some love, so we boated-in our elite gardening team. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

Goat Island has served as a quarry, convict stockade, explosives store, police station, fire station, boatyard and the film set of Water Rats. Other than a park Ranger called Rob and his wife, it currently has no other inhabitants. Not even one goat.

The main non-ESA culprits on the day were weeds which we dug up and disposed of:

  1. Morning Glory a vine / ivy that forms a dense blanket over all vegetation, suffocating other plants. When you pull it up it has a network of runners, it’s a lot like pulling the leads out the back of your TV and tugging them just to see what they’re plugged into, or that bit in The Hurt Locker where Jeremy Renner pulls the bomb out the ground and promptly bricks it (yeah, you know that bit).
  2. Asparagus Fern originally introduced to Australia as an ornamental plant, this is a very invasive coastal weed, spikey and thorny, these huge bushes had deep roots. They were not our friends (even if they did once look good accompanying your Grandpa’s Bonsai tree).

One plant native to the Island was Carpobrotus Glaucescens also known as Pig Face. It’s a succulent with a lovely purple flower and is edible. It’s red-purple fruit has a flavour like salty grape or kiwi fruit. We wouldn’t recommend adding them to your salad anytime soon.

Did you know? The Kings Of Leon, Foo Fighters, Midnight Oil and Green Day have all played gigs on Goat Island. The last Emo, being escorted from the island in 2016.

The day concluded with a refreshing beverage and a Conservation quiz in which we all learnt that a group of Jelly fish is called a ‘Smack’. We never did tell the rangers that Goats eat weeds and maybe they should just reintroduce them. Picking the weeds was way more fun.”

– Written by Owen Matthews
About the author: Creative Producer in ESA’s Development Team, born in Dartford, UK, Owen is now an Australian citizen after working at ESA for 6+ years.


Sara Horn

MD Production & Operations

Endemol Shine Australia
42-44 Victoria Street, McMahons Point
NSW 2060 Sydney



7 volunteers

lend a hand conserving Goat Island