Monday, 16 July 2007

I imagine ...

As I walk through our bush block at Homerton I am aware of the past as well as the present.
I imagine the local Gunditjmara people hunting, and fossicking for food - they probably never camped there because Darlot Creek and Condah Swamp are just over the hill. The bush then would have been less dense than it is now because it would have been burnt more frequently by the Aboriginals, and the older residents in the area have told me that they could easily ride through the bush on horseback when they were children.
I imagine the previous owners, Ted and Dorrie, planting their 'taters' in the open, flat and fertile swamp areas in the bush. Ted told me he harvested many bags of potatoes there over the years.
I imagine the Robertson's house, built next to a swamp in the bush in the 1870s, burning to the ground. There are only jonquils and rocks at that site now, but they probably had vegetable gardens, a horse paddock, a track to the swamp for their water. I have a copy of the letter Mr Robertson wrote to the Lands Department explaining that he was late paying his debt to them because of the cost of the fire.
I imagine the timber cutters cutting down the tallest and the straightest trees to take to their mills.
I imagine the early owners ringbarking the trees, for firewood and to open up the canopy before the trees were cleared from the paddocks. In our bush there are still old trees that bear the scars of the axe. They must be old because we have owned it for over 30 years and I would have thought saws (cross-cut or chain) would have been used for a while before that. Many of the old trees also bear the scars of fire, the new bark enclosing the burnt bark.

Ringbarked Stringybark

Ringbarked Stringybark

Ringbarked Stringybark

Brown Stringbark regrowth after fire

Hollow at base of fire-damaged Brown Stringbark

I remember my own family exploring the bush, walking or riding through on motor bikes, exploring the old house site, looking for koalas, birdwatching, building fairy houses out of moss, cutting wood for our log fire.

My attitude to the bush has changed considerably over the years but at all times it has given me pleasure. I don't feel that I own it - I thinks it owns me.

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