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The Young Australia League


Spotting the lyrebird
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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I wouldn't want you to think that I stayed in Melbourne all the time however. Australia's a big place and my brother and I used to bike a lot down to Geelong, the Otway Ranges, up to the Dandenongs, there were many places to go and visit. And on one of those visits I remember we went into Belgrave Forest. It is, interestingly enough, just up from Ferntree Gully where one Shane Warne was born. We went up into Sherwood Forest and we were hunting the lyrebird. The lyrebird is a superb animal about the size of a small peacock with a beautiful frond that it puts up, but it has the amazing ability to copy any sound that it hears. And we spotted lyrebirds, we saw them dancing, we saw them making their sounds. The only way that you could tell the difference between a lyrebird and a kookaburra or a bellbird or a butcherbird or any of the other birds was that the lyrebird was so much better. It had a long broad loud voice that you could hear.

So, we saw the lyrebird. Interestingly enough it is has picked up human habitation, it's picked up car horns, saw mills, train engines, it can imitate all of these things.

Norman Greenwood (1925-2012) was born in Australia and graduated from Melbourne University before going to Cambridge. His wide-ranging research in inorganic and structural chemistry made major advances in the chemistry of boron hydrides and other main-group element compounds. He also pioneered the application of Mössbauer spectroscopy to problems in chemistry. He was a prolific writer and inspirational lecturer on chemical and educational themes, and held numerous visiting professorships throughout the world.

Listeners: Brian Johnson

Professor Brian FG Johnson FRS, FRSE, FRS Chem, FAcad Eu, FAS. Professor of Inorganic Chemistry University of Edinburgh 1991-1995, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry University of Cambridge 1995-2005, Master Fitzwilliam College Cambridge 1999-2005. Research interests include studies of transition metal carbonyls, organometallic chemistry, nano- particles and homogeneous catalysis. Professor Johnson is the author of over 1000 research articles and papers.

Tags: Melbourne, Australia, Geelong, Great Otway National Park, Dandenong Ranges, Ferntree Gully, Shane Warne

Duration: 1 minute, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011