Knowing you

I love being stopped in the street and told creek stories and shown photos of different creeks on people’s iPhones. No, listen: I really do like it!

The only trouble is knowing what to do with all this information. I feel a certain responsibility but I’m uncertain about where to go with it and how to treat it. So, until I figure it out, I’ve created a Facebook page called Down the Drain. It’s a place for anyone to post their own pictures of drains, creeks and waterways in and around Newcastle.

Look forward to seeing your contributions!

18 Responses to Knowing you

  1. ben ewald says:

    Hi Mark
    Ive just come back from paddling along the edge of Koragang Island, and thought of you when we found a tiny creek meandering through the mangroves that must be a bit like what Styx Creek was before urbanisation. We started paddling up it under the shade of mangroves then came out into grasslands where it meandered along between muddy banks full of crabs. I could take you there if you want to see it.
    Ben Ewald

    • Mark MacLean says:

      Hi Ben
      You’re on! It sounds gorgeous, a perfect place to be a on balmy February day. Do you have a two-seater or a spare kayak?

  2. Peter W Tait says:

    I never got to meet Styx Creek tho I must have crossed it daily as I peddled (or motored) across the Griffith Road bridge on my way from Cooks Hill to Mayfield to work in the early 1980s. And I’m not likely to do so soon. However as another ex-Alice Springs-moved south person I’m now likely to get to Hamilton North more frequently.
    The real reason for the post however is to say that, like Ben, the book has inspired me to look at other creeks aka drains from a new angle. In Alice the Todd provided a community, cross cultural focus when it flowed. Each flow was a major event and everyone turned out to witness and play in it.
    But other Alice drains provided a walk way behind the facade of houses that usually lined them, giving one a look into back yards and living rooms (another McLean past-time???:)), or out onto the surrounding natural environment for relief and re-charging.
    Now in Canberra, we have several local creeks that have become storm water drains along which the bike ways wander. Areas are presently being reclaimed as wetlands. I haven’t adopted one yet; Sullivan’s Creek that runs down central north Canberra was a focus for my time at ANU in 2010. Its seasonal and wet-dry cycles provided similar fascination to that described about the Styx. Perhaps … although not having a small animal to walk (cavies don’t count) and being even less likely to do a journal of any kind, I’ll just observe unrecorded.
    So great read Makka

    • Mark MacLean says:

      Bruce and Lou were telling me about the Canberra creek rehabilitation project. I’d love to see any pictures! I agree about the Todd; in fact, I’ve got a post coming up about a collection of empty casks that Vicki Gillick and a few others organised.

  3. Rob(ert) says:


    I met you on the ride with Dr Behooving.

    Found a link to the story about fishing from balcony into stormwater channel I mentioned to you



    • Mark MacLean says:

      Hi Rob
      Thanks for that link: an absolutely brilliant story!
      Hope to catch up on the next ride, whenever and wherever that is.

  4. big vern/ muzzzzz says:

    hey mark murray here ring me bloke have a new phone and not your number… i fancy a dain walk fri if you keen …good book too bloke

    • Mark MacLean says:

      Can’t find your number on my phone either, Murray! Mine’s 0419 04 02 09. Morning or evening walk?


    Hi Mark I was born and bred at Hamilton North ! I spent a lot of time as a kid playing in the drains around Hamilton North. As we grew older we use to ride our bikes and motor bikes along the drains to get to all the good spots were we could ride our bikes and to get away from the cops when they chased us. Looking at your photo`s has bought back a lot of old memories of back when i was a kid back in the early 70`s and late 60`s. keep up the good work mate. cheers Mick Mcguinness

    • Mark MacLean says:

      Brilliant, Mick. As you’ll see from the blog, the new generation is keeping the spirit alive!

      • mick mcguinness says:

        Thank-you for your reply Mark , keep up the good mate cheers !

  6. Megan says:

    Hello Mark. After hearing you on ABC Radio yesterday, I have just had a good ramble through your blogsite. Thanks for the birds, the rubbish, the graffiti, the abandoned industrial sites and your free-flowing commentary. I will be back for more of your guided strolls around Hamilton North.

    In the meantime, you might like this post about a concrete creek in Sydney on my own Pavement Graffiti blog:

    • Mark MacLean says:

      Hi Megan

      Had a look at the Pavement Graffiti blog: very interesting. Being English I often wonder how much the whole drain/creek/canal thing is a Newcastle phenomenon or something that happens in all Australian coastal towns and cities. It does seem to be more widespread than I’d ever imagined.

      Thanks for the link, and the nice comments!


  7. Matthew Squair says:

    Hi Mark,

    Got your book as a birthday present and have been enjoying it. As I work in the old Elma buildings on Clyde street it’s an odd but pleasant feeling to read someone else’s perspective of this postage stamp sized suburb. Sometimes N.H puts me in mind of ‘Passport to Pimlico’. 🙂

    If you’re interested I blog about Newcastle (and other stuff), though I’m more the iphoneographer taking pictures of the city when I’m out and about.



    • Mark MacLean says:

      Hi Matthew

      So THAT’S what goes on in the old light-globe factory! A very interesting snoop through your many blogging guises!

      I know what you mean about Ham North and P2P – it really is like nowhere else. I rather fancy myself as Stanley Holloway too: “Sam! Sam. Pick up thy musket”.

      I’m not much of a blog follower, I prefer to just turn up every now and again to see what people have been up to, but as of today you’re on the Good People list.


    • Mick Mcguinness says:

      Hi Mathew the old lamp works in Clyde street and lanes , plus the old store bakery as well . Just a bit of triva for you all the land along there belong to my great great grand parents , if only they hadn’t sold it I would very well off today. Well as they say that’s life ! Cheers mate Mick Mcguinness

  8. Matthew Squair says:

    Amongst all the tat and decay there’s still some lovely Art Deco left in the old factory.* Might make it a subject for a post. 🙂

  9. Mick Mcguinness says:

    Sounds like a great idea Mathew good luck with it mate

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