Creek or drain? Ugly or beautiful? Wildlife corridor or polluted sinkhole? Alcohol-fuelled fun times or puritanical finger-wagging?


Yes, as a writer I have to admit that, sometimes, a picture really does say my thousand words in a single instant. But this idea of the creek / drain’s duality is one that’s long provoked me. We had a big rain the other day, big enough to trigger the release mechanism on the litter boom by the TAFE. This means that there’s nothing to hold the litter back and so it was all washed away and now the creek looks beautiful and clean. But only because the filth is elsewhere, and just because it’s somewhere else doesn’t mean that it no longer bothers me.

The cool change that preceded the rain gathered the discarded bottles up into clusters around the creek banks.


And yet it also blew the wattle blossom into beautiful patterns on the water’s surface, more beautiful than my poor photo skills show. (Which gives me a little hope in the “picture paints a thousand words” department.)


The recent fire in the gasworks triggered some debate on the Lost Newcastle facebook page about what should happen to the site; not just the admin building but the entire area. I’ve been contacted by Jemena to say that they’re “considering remediation options” but quite what this means is uncertain. Topping the whole place with bitumen and making it into a car park for the proposed transport hub is “an option”, but not one I’d like to see. Someone suggested a wetlands park, an idea I kicked around in the Newcastle 2020 exhibition.

I felt a step closer to the wetland idea when Jambo found a discarded kayak paddle up by the Chatham Road bridge. Is this simply rubbish or a sign of things to come?


I’m an optimist: I’ll take it as a sign of things to come. More kayaks in the creek please!



2 Responses to Duality

  1. Martin Unwin says:

    Read your book and enjoy your blog. My daughters live in Hamilton North, so I know the area through some early morning walks when visiting. Would love one day to make a similar blog of observations on my own dog walking circuit here in Barraba. Maybe one day when I get a round tuit.

    • Mark MacLean says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Martin. My suggestion: don’t wait for “one day” but get started. I stumbled around a bit making mistakes, losing posts and generally stuffing up before I got into the swing of it. Good luck, and keep me posted when you do start!

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