Today I am going to encourage you all to visit a site called “There once was a creek…” And it deals with a subject that fascinated me (as well) when I moved to Auchenflower and started researching the history of the area.
Over the course of the excruciatingly-long 6 week settlement period (to buy our new house) I was so itching to move here I visited our State Library on a couple of lunch breaks — one of the perks of working in a building only 4 doors down the road — and read as much of John Pearn’s book on our suburb as I could. As well as that I looked at all the old photos of the area via the John Oxley Library’s online collection. It was amazing to move to such an old place — and the oldest place in my living memory. See I had lived here, in two separate dwellings, as a toddler and my very, very first memories of the world were carved into my brain right here.
Two pictures from the John Oxley Library collection
And over at the Auchenflower Resident’s Alliance webiste — which seems to be a bit dormant — they had this little story about our “hidden creeks”. So when the 2011 floods came that knowledge meant I almost instinctively knew where all the flooding would occur and crucially how to get around our neighbourhood in this saturated condition. In that period I spent ages riding my bike up and down the blissfully deserted Coronation Drive (once at 3am) seeing all these natural water-courses so gloriously alive again. And I know all that water brought a lot of pain and destruction — and I want to acknowledge that — but we live in a very natural world which we do our best to ignore with the artificial world we blu-tack on top of it.
Some shots I took in January last year
Anyway — the research on the “There once was a creek” site is outstanding and the way Angus (the creator) has merged the old maps with google earth images is absolutely inspired — and pretty much ART (see a few examples below).
Even if you don’t come from Brisbane — his thorough and insightful examination of the story of John Oxley and his search for water, plus his contact with the local indigenous community, is fantastically absorbing. And again, I say that knowing this was the beginning of a white invasion of this area and the beginning of many, many years of suffering for the original owners of this land.
Another pretty sobering point Angus is possibly making is the fact that Brisbane has a history of trouncing all over it’s own history. By turning these once beautiful waterways into invisible concrete drains is like an analogy of the fact we have no respect for our history or for natural beauty.
The other thing that was cool about this blog was that I learnt who our street was named for and he seems like a decent chap. (And Angus’ street was named after him too).
This site, which Angus hooked me up with, is also amazingly cool. It’s basically a mixture of local history, renovations to an old Auchenflower home and the observations you can only make if you lived here.