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HomeCommunitySad loss for Manly identity after pond mishap

Sad loss for Manly identity after pond mishap

A koi pond popular with amblers along Ashburner Street in Manly, has suffered a harrowing mishap, leaving its elderly creator devastated but philosophical.

Roger Springer, 92, and his wife Mei, 65, were shocked to find 46 of their koi fish floating belly up along the surface of their quaint garden pond this week.

“Somebody rang me on the phone and said your fish are dead, but I didn’t expect to see the whole surface covered with dead fish,” Roger recalled.

Roger and Mei’s koi garden pond

The action is being treated as non-suspicious.

Roger believes the koi suffocated after the pump that circulates the water and provides oxygen to the fish was mistakenly switched off by the meter man inspecting his power box last week.

“Little ones and big ones died, this is still a disaster because there were 46 fish we counted – I’ve still got some fish, but they’re not enough for people to see.

“18 inches would have been the smallest one that died… the fish would be worth, if you had to buy them, they’d be roughly $400 each. But unfortunately, if you try and put a value on a human being or an animal the minute it dies it’s worth nothing.”

This isn’t the first time disaster has struck within the tranquil confines of the garden.

“I’ve had these fish forever, since the last disaster, which was the paint in there, which would have been 15 years ago or something, that they died.”

Koi fish swimming in a pond. Image: Pexels

That incident was much more sinister as an anonymous passerby poured paint into the pond resulting in a majority of the koi fish dying.

Once people discovered what had happened the community came together and provided new fish.

This time around Roger says at 92 years of age, he’s not looking for any replacement.

“I don’t intend to replace them… and maybe because the fish are only alive until I die, and then it’s up to my wife who is not real keen on the fish, to keep them.”

“And so the most I’ve got is 13 years and that’s not long enough for the fish to grow.”

Koi fish have an average lifespan of 40 years, but the oldest ever koi discovered died at almost 230 years of age.

The pond was created in 1995, it became Roger’s main hobby once he retired over 30 years ago.

Since then, the garden has been the centrepiece of Ashburner Street, not only providing a zen aesthetic to the suburban area but also teaching facts to ongoers about the traditional colourful carp.

Roger also likes to educate people on the universal language that is Esperanto.

Ivana, who also lives in the area and regularly visits the pond with her daughter, was disheartened to hear about the incident.

“I was walking with my daughter this morning. As always, she wanted to have a look at the koi fish in the little pond, but they were not there. Instead, there was their keeper with a friend and a lot of plastic bags full of dead fish”, she said.

“I’m sure every parent in Manly knows the fish pond.”

While Roger said that in the meantime he is more than happy to work on his frog garden in his backyard as his next project, he will miss the conversations he would have with all the walks of life who would stop by and admire his koi pond.

“If I wanted somebody to talk to, I’d go out the front and I got someone to talk to, now I haven’t got that.

“I still sort of got that because I can whinge about all the fish dying, but that’s temporary, but I’m temporary so it doesn’t matter.”

Roger and Mei’s frog garden in their backyard

Temporary or not, Roger and his wife Mei have lived a long and interesting life and still have a lot to say and own a beautiful garden, with still a few koi circling about.

So next time you see them out front, don’t be coy, say G’day – you may have more in common than just the fish.

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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