I have eighteen images from the walk that we made along Towradgi Creek on Sunday 2 November.
In attendance: Kim, Lucas, Mailin, Laurene and myself.
This is not a description of the walk. More a set of minor observations linked to specific images. I’ll leave Laurene to tell the story, inasmuch as she traveled all the way from Melbourne to join us.
I will note, however, that on the basis of my complaints about the limited trajectory and pace of the previous walk, this time we walked all the way from the mouth of Towradgi Creek to the base of the escarpment. The creek continues on from there up into the forest, but it seemed appropriate to stop at a shallow crossing at the limit of the suburbs, with a broken foam surfboard lying on the rocks. I would have taken a photo of this arbitrary limit point, except by then my phone battery had died.
Here I must offer a confession and apology. During this walk, despite my stated objections to excessive documentation, I succumbed to the very same vice, taking all manner of well and poorly considered photographs and even directing my fellow walkers to repeat various actions so that our activities could be properly preserved. I must acknowledge now (between slightly gritted teeth) that there is no pure walking activity – that multiple forms and levels of engagement are possible. Walking itself is never quite itself. It lends itself to distraction. What emerges then is an ethical and aesthetic question concerning appropriate contours and dimensions of distraction.
Here is an image of all of us (except me) at the start of the walk:
I group the remaining images in terms of the following evolving categories:
- Pretty things
- Dead Ends
Fantasy (to imagine the creek in other terms)
A short way along the walk we entered a narrow strip of low, re-growth Casuarina forest. We came across sections of weathered stone (dumped concrete) and a low creek side citadel (storm water outlet):
We stood at what has been dubbed ‘Woti Cove’:
Of course we are not the only ones with fantasies. I have no adequate images to demonstrate this, but the other side of the creek, which is strictly guarded by its proud residents, contains numerous examples of fantastic relations: small piers to suggest that one is living perhaps beside Sydney harbour; little fake beaches to suggest that this is not a creek but the sea; cabanas, decks and bus benches to suggest a relaxed, convivial lifestyle that is unfortunately contradicted by all the many fences and ‘no trespassing’ signs.
Denial (to turn away from the creek, to not see it)
The other very evident strategy is to pretend that the creek is not there. Just beyond the fantasy homes are group of new homes positioned just beside the creek. A zone of rock and a dark drain marks a division between the neat brick walls, white fences and suburban gardens and the alien presence of the creek.
Or this place further up the creek:
Perhaps the fence is to protect small kids from drowning? But at what cost? Only if the owner stands on tippy toe and peers over the top of the fence is the creek visible. I can’t help noting the effort to tame the region just beyond the fence. The grass is mown neatly to the edge of the flat section of ground and then a small unruly border passes down to the water’s edge.
We encountered a strangely contradictory footbridge:
Here there would seem to be an effort to produce something boldly in harmony with the natural curves of creek and escarpment and yet this strip of steel creates a visual barrier to actually seeing the creek itself while walking across the bridge.
Pretty things (to enjoy the walk, to see stuff)
There were little things – fallen flowers (from the cockatoos):
We came across plants above and below fences:
There were meadows to frolic in:
Not sure if this counts as a pretty thing precisely, but we discovered a pigeon fanciers clubhouse:
Dead Ends (to put a stop to walking)
There are four main barriers to walking along Towradgi creek:
- Pioneer Road
- Railway line
- Memorial Drive
- The Princes Highway
They are a series of north/south links that run parallel to the coast and cut across the creek.
Of these the most fearsome and resolute is the railway line. Only Kim had the courage to cross this line and even then she could find no way back to the creek on the other side:
We were forced to backtrack, cross the creek and pass under the railway line at a bridge:
Detours (to find a way around deadends)
Later dead ends led us off into suburban Fairy Meadow:
We continued along more straight roads:
Lucas pointed out this small feeder creek with a large white duck:
We were charmed by the duck until we noticed the poisoned creek verge. I guess a bit of Roundup provided an ingenious solution to the awkward mowing problem.
Rediscovery (to find the creek again)
At the end of a long detour we found our way back to the creek and I was surprised again at its beauty – and that it still somehow manages to exist. I took this one last photograph. Then my phone battery died, though we still had some way to go.