Chris' and Renates Holiday Downunder


Photos by David Royal (Aust ) and Chris Lukhaup ( Germany )

Text by David Royal

My home Epping 11.30am

Last week I finally got to meet my German friend Chris Lukhaup and his lovely new wife Renate. They just happened to pick Australia for their honeymoon. They arrived at 11am at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne Australia and were whisked back to my home for light refreshments.

Thanks to my Australian crayfishing buddy Joe Broes, he supplied me with a Glenelg Crayfish,
Euastacus bispinosis, it was a 300 kilometre round trip that morning to get it but this was to be Chris's first encounter with a spiny crayfish, so definately worth it.


My wife Sandra, Renate, Chris and my son James



First Encounter


Glenelg Crayfish Euastacus bispinosis

Chris had never touched a 'spiny' crayfish before and was surprised at the hardness of the shell, weight and sharpness of the spines. He was a quick learner and was soon handling the crayfish like an expert.
Melbourne Museum. 1pm


Shortly after his first encounter, we then went into the new Melbourne Museum. There Chris got to meet Alan Henderson who is the live exhibits officer and also an excellent wildlife photographer. Alan has a marvellous display which deplicts an Australian forest from the alpine region to the sea. In the exhibit patrons are exposed to natural bush setting and wildlife. There is a good asortment of native fish and spiny crayfish. Unfortunately for Chris, the crayfish were a little shy that day.

Alan Henderson and Chris


Australia is fun, especially if you know the right people, thankyou Tania and Chris

A preserved specimen from last century


Resource Centre Melbourne Museum

We then had the pleasure of meeting Tania Bardsley of the Melbourne Museum Crustacea Unit. Tania made the preserved freshwater crayfish specimens available to us. Some of these exhibits are over 100 years old. Tania then showed us the Museums new public access InfoZone (left) which has resource information on Australian Crayfish. It was hard to get Chris out of this place. Below is a link to this facility which you can access from home, this is a real assett for students studying Australia, click here.
Native Fish Australia Fish Hatchery 4pm


My very good friend Bob Hall of Native Fish Australia greeted us at the NFA Hatchery. Bob showed Chris the hatchery and results of this years trout cod,
Maccullochella macquariensis breeding program. Each year the hatchery breeds endangered fish which are then provided to the government for restocking purposes. In other years Australian Bass, Macquaria novemaculeata and Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica have also been breed.

Chris and Bob Hall NFA.

Renate and Sandra were surprised at the size of the brood fish, although Renate speaks little english and Sandra speaks no German, they got on like a 'house on fire', it was scary really.

Good old Bob had a surprise for Chris, in one of the tanks was a murray crayfish, Euastacus armatus that Bob had aquired for Chris's visit. I think the photos tell the story. Thanks Bob you're full of surprises.

Below, now you know, yes we crayfish crazies do anything for a good crayfish picture.

Chris and Murray Crayfish Euastacus armatus


Darebin Creek 6pm

I sort of made the mistake of mentioning that we can easily get an Engaeus species close to home. Anyway here we are in the Darebin Creek with a few of the local kids. They turned out to be great helpers, but they couldn't work out why we had this interest in little yabbies.

Chris and his new aussie mates


Engaeus ssp. Darebin Creek Victoria, thanks to Pierre Horwitz who identified this specimen as Engaeus affinis

Well why the interest. Most yabbies found in Australian creeks are the common Cherax destructor. This crayfish lives in the creek with running water and this type of behaviour is strange for this species. These crayfish usually live at the water table level and therefore don't come to the surface. It was my son James' trained eye that first identified them as engaeus and he knew this was unusual. When he first told me they were there I didn't believe him, I thought they would be Cherax d., okay he was right I was wrong.

Continued Day 2