Like just about anywhere, the Goulburn Wetlands is not a perfectly safe place. Young children in particular can place themselves at risk unless accompanied by responsible adults.
Below is a list of potential hazards and the means of alleviating them. But first a risk assessment matrix so that the numerical rating of the risk may be more meaningful:
Activities that involve hazards in the Goulburn Wetlands may include:
- crossing roads and parking areas (extreme) … ensure children in particular are adequately supervised
- danger from vehicles or equipment during construction (extreme) … stay well away from the site and if you must be there wear high visibility clothing and a safety helmet
- sunburn (high) … wear protective clothing, especially hats and apply sunscreen
- insect bites (high) … wear full length clothing in summer and early autumn; apply repellants only if highly allergic: the wetlands seldom has many mosquitoes or flies
- snake and spider bites (extreme) … avoid rock jumbles and long grass in summer; if you see either a snake of a spider, alert others and LEAVE THEM ALONE: the vast majority of people harmed by these animals are those that tried to kill them and remember, the both animals are essential for healthy ecological maintenance of the wetlands: its their home: you’re merely visiting, so treat them with respect
- poisoning and water borne disease (extreme) … never allow children or others to drink the water: while the effluent is generally cleaned as it enters the river, high waterfowl numbers and low water levels can mean that water is very unsafe to ingest or to wade in unless protected by long boots, etc.
- flying golf balls (high) … the wetlands is immediately adjacent to Goulburn Golf Course and some balls occasionally find their way into the wetlands: we have found golf balls near the car park in the past: merely keep an eye out for nearby golfers and/or stay away from the golf course boundary
- drowning (extreme) … at high to even low water levels it is always possible that poor swimmers or people becoming stuck in the deep mud substrate could be in some danger; it is important not to go near the water without nearby assistance or, in the case of children or the frail, without adequate adult supervision
- bird attack (high) … during the breeding season both Australian magpies and masked lapwings (spur-winged plovers) can fiercely protect their young: while some magpies do this for display purposes, others remember the rough appearance of people who have threatened them in the past; at least so far, no magpie attacks have occurred in the wetlands though magpies are present in reasonable numbers. Should such an attack occur it is advisable to walk away from the bird to safety while continually looking at the bird, or, more safely, take the precaution of wearing a cap with false eyes on the back and top during the magpie seaon in spring. Lapwings breed in open, short grass areas and can, if suddenly surprised, use the razor sharp spurs on their wings to inflict injuries, though they very seldom do. If lapwings give their warning cry and start to swoop, merely walk away from the area they are protecting and no harm will be done; again, if used to non-threatening people, both lapwings and magpies almost never attack: do not give them reason.
- falling/tripping (high) … please stick to the paths, but remember, the paths are in progress and it will be some time yet until they are ready for a stroll.