Pi­o­neer­ing days of youth go un­recog­nised

The Observer - - NEWS OPINION YOUR SAY - WRITIN RE­TURN GREG BRAY

we were dis­ap­pointed our names wouldn’t go down in his­tory...

FOLKS, as lads, my brother and I spent one set of Christ­mas hol­i­days nav­i­gat­ing Glad­stone’s fresh­wa­ter creek sys­tems; on leaky, in­flat­able, sleep­ing mat­tresses.

Our goal was to find the source of Po­lice Creek, which fed into Auck­land Creek, so we pad­dled up the ma­jor creeks of west Glad­stone (Briffney, Ti­galee and Carthur­bie), with the fer­vour of pioneers search­ing for the source of the Nile.

Of course, while those in­trepid folk had to con­tend with li­ons, croc­o­diles and malaria, at least they didn’t have to stop ev­ery 10 min­utes to blow up their air-mat­tresses.

We even­tu­ally nav­i­gated our way up­stream to the old reser­voir which now sits in­side the Botanic Gar­dens.

We scram­bled over the mas­sive con­crete spillway with the as­ton­ish­ment of ex­plor­ers stum­bling across a hid­den tem­ple in an Ama­zo­nian rain­for­est.

With day­light run­ning out, we thrashed our way back home, stop­ping fre­quently to re-in­flate our mat­tresses, then re­turned early next morn­ing to tra­verse Ton­doon Lake. If only we’d told some­one what we were do­ing, they might have warned us about the bad tem­pered eels and cu­ri­ous tur­tles. By pad­dling with our fin­ger­tips, and scream­ing a lot, we even­tu­ally crossed the pond and sailed into a wa­ter­hole full of kids from nearby Toolooa Es­tate. A mem­ber of this ‘lost tribe’ told us that the creek pe­tered out in the nearby hills just be­yond the cur­rent site of the Me­te­ors soc­cer fields.

Our quest over, we floated back down­stream, walked around the lake, then re-in­flated our mat­tresses be­fore slip­ping into the rel­a­tively eel-free sec­tion of Po­lice Creek to splash home.

Al­though we’d had an ad­ven­ture, and found some good swim­ming holes, we were dis­ap­pointed our names wouldn’t go down in his­tory as the dis­cov­er­ers of the source of Po­lice Creek.

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