Wednesday, November 26
I grew up on the outskirts of Sydney, just across a dirt road from Kuringai Chase National Park. That's where they filmed Skippy, by the way. Nine months of the year it was a million adventures waiting to happen; then every summer it turned into a 45,000 acre fire hazard.
You didn't need to go far to find another world in those days. There was a little stream down the block - a storm water drain further up, but at that point it opened out into the original streambed. And then fell - splish splash - over a cliff. A waterfall, not a big one, maybe fifteen feet high.
Once my younger brother got stuck trying to climb down it, and my mother had to climb up from the bottom to rescue him.
There were ponds that filled with water when it rained, and tadpoles as big as your thumb. There was a tiny natural stone bridge on one of the trails, with a span of just three our four feet, carved by the water of an equally tiny streamlet.
There were nasty spiky bushes, there were birds, probably there were animals, though you never saw them. Twice I met echidnas - spiny anteaters - but not in the bush. One wandered into our school one day; another I met on the footpath leading to the railway station.
Even then I was more likely to be found lost in a book than lost in the bush, but it was wonderful to have that outlet.
Now it's all gone.
Kuringai Chase remains, intact for all purposes but my childhood memories, but the F3 Freeway has long since obliterated that narrow strip of bushland I once explored. Which makes me wonder - what was there, before the Warringah Expressway, fifteen lanes wide where I cross it every day on my way to work, blasted its way through towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge? What tiny marvels would a child have found there?
It's not a call to stop building roads. And if you were to tear them up, as Bob Brown suggests, all you'd be left with is bare earth, dust in summer and mud in winter.
Posted by: Ted at Wednesday, November 26 2003 11:09 AM (Qj620)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, November 26 2003 12:10 PM (jtW2s)
Posted by: Susie at Wednesday, November 26 2003 12:42 PM (0+cMc)
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