Home' The Bunyip : October 12th 2016 Contents "THE BUNYIP" GAWLER, Wednesday, October 12, 2016 Page 25
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Jackʼs answer for swooping ʼpies
Budding inventor Jack Meldrum showing oﬀ his magpie anti-swooping design.
PHOTO: Katherine Andrews
The Xavier College student's
invention involves attaching an
inbuilt sensor to a helmet that
emits an ultrasonic sound when a
magpie draws near.
The sensors give a full 360-degree
scan of approaching magpies,
which activate an ultrasonic
speaker to produce a distressing
sound, deterring the magpie.
The ultrasonic soundwave works
similar to a dog whistle, but at a
suitable frequency for birds.
Jack submitted sketches showing
his design, which are now being
judged, to Origin's littleBIGidea
competition -- a national initiative
which aims to nurture creativity
in students from grades three to
"When I used to go for bike
rides, there used to be magpies at
school, so it was just coming up
with an idea to stop the magpie
from swooping," Jack said.
"I have ordered a few parts to
build a prototype for the helmet,
so I could start (it) as a prototype
and see if that works, and then
The results of the competition
will be announced in two
weeks time, and the aspiring
astrophysicist is in the running to
win the ultimate prize -- a trip to
the NASA Cape Kennedy Space
Centre in Florida.
"I'd like to see the history behind
all of the rocket launches into
space," Jack said.
The judging panel is being headed
by former host of ABC's 'The
New Inventors' program, James
SPRING is peak magpie swooping season, but innovative
Gawler student Jack Meldrum has developed an idea to stop
them from attacking cyclists.
When I used to go
for bike rides,
there used to be magpies
at school, so it was just
coming up with an idea
to stop the magpie from
- JACK MELDRUM
MEDIA personality Andrew 'Cosi'
Costello's vision for a 10-kilometre
jacaranda tunnel in the Barossa
Valley will likely take on a different
form when it comes to fruition.
A Light Regional Council committee last
week backed a modified version of the
project, entailing the planting of native
vegetation as an attractive entry statement,
and fire-break, to some of the towns affected
by November's Pinery fire.
Mr Costello's 'tree tunnel' project, which
proposed the planting of 10,000 large
jacaranda trees as a tourist attraction, was
awarded $30,000 after placing first in the
State Government's 2015 'Fund My Idea'
However, following the Pinery fire, talks on
the project have turned to how it can assist
the community with its ongoing recovery
According to a council report, the current
proposal involves multi-layer plantings in
and around the Wasleys, Templers, Freeling
and Roseworthy areas, to help create future
"As has been well-documented, the Pinery
fire was a fast-moving crop fire which,
essentially, travelled as fast as the prevailing
winds," the report states.
"Multiple observations and reports indicated
that standing vegetation was useful in
slowing the fire front in many locations
and, in some instances, gave people an
opportunity to seek refuge and to protect
"Further observations also revealed that
certain combinations of vegetation acted as
an effective fire-break, reducing the intensity
of the fire front to the point where vegetation
was only scorched."
Suggested plantings include a combination
of trees over chenopods, and shrubs such
as wattles, native apricots, she-oaks and
dodoneas over chenopods, or native
A process is currently under way to secure
project partners, with council's ordinary
meeting to consider the project later this
Tree tunnel changing shape
A proposal for a large-scale Jacaranda tunnel could end up beneﬁting the towns aﬀected by the
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