Wild ride went down in his­tory

Wa­ter­ways great for some cool recre­ation

The Gympie Times - - NEWS -

IF YOU en­joy ca­noe­ing or kayak­ing, the wa­ter­ways through­out the re­gion are there for all to ex­plore and en­joy, just as peo­ple have done for many years.

Once the source of trans­port for early pioneers, the rivers, creeks and Pu­mice­s­tone Pas­sage make the area very spe­cial.

The choices of amaz­ing scenic jour­neys and ex­cit­ing phys­i­cal chal­lenges pro­vide se­cluded spots with bush­land along many of the fore­shores.

Be re­warded with the ex­pe­ri­ence of hid­den nat­u­ral won­ders, a sense of per­sonal achievement and the bond of shared ad­ven­ture with fam­ily or friends.

An early story of the re­gion’s his­tory tells a cau­tion­ary canoe tale.

In the late sum­mer of 1914, when the creeks and wa­ter­ways were run­ning swiftly after a wet sum­mer, Conon­dale’s Jack Flesser and his brother Char­lie cut ca­noes from a large gum tree log us­ing an adze and axe. The ca­noes were about 2.5m long with a depth and width of about 50cm.

The broth­ers had de­cided to take those rough ca­noes on a per­ilous jour­ney and each had the equiv­a­lent of about $10 for their ven­ture.

In the head­wa­ters of the Mary River, above the junc­tion of Harper’s Creek, they launched the ves­sels and away they went down the river.

They rode the wild waters of the Mary all the way to Mary­bor­ough in 40 hours.

Dur­ing the jour­ney, the rain poured down and the Flesser boys tied the ca­noes to­gether for most of the trip.

Such was the flooded cur­rent, the broth­ers re­marked that “the snakes tried to make friends”.

The boys camped at Widgee dur­ing the trip and rode the rapids, ar­riv­ing in Mary­bor­ough about 3pm after their long jour­ney.

The Flesser broth­ers camped be­side the river and while they rested from their jour­ney, the wa­ter crept up and washed their ca­noes away with the tide.

Per­haps it was be­cause the two ca­noes were tied to­gether that they were found some time later.

As for the Flesser boys, they took the night steam train known as the Old ’99, ar­riv­ing in Lands­bor­ough some hours later.

Still with money in their pock­ets, they walked home up the range.

Mary­bor­ough Coun­cil re­cov­ered the ca­noes which were wrapped around a tree.

They were put on dis­play in the Mary­bor­ough Gar­dens un­til be­ing eaten out by white ants some years later.

Thanks to Sun­shine Coast Coun­cil’s Her­itage Li­brary Of­fi­cers for the words and Pic­ture Sun­shine Coast for the im­ages.

WAY TO TRAVEL: Ca­noe­ing on the Ma­roochy River canal at the junc­tion of Brad­man and Du­porth Av­enues, Ma­roochy­dore, in 1936.

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