It will always be a drain to some

20/01/2012

Since getting an iPhone my mind has been opened to the world of apps. Most apps appear to involve the user being chased around ruined temples by gangs of monkeys, or slashing watermelons, or changing the user’s friends’ faces into fat men, bald men, old men, ginger-haired men etc. However, I’ve finally found a useful app. It’s Michael Morcombe’s e-guide to the birds of Australia, recommended to me by Max Elliott. It’s a revelation!

The other evening, around dusk, a shape flitted past me towards the gasworks. At first I thought it was just a flying fox but then I heard the unmistakable, cricket-like trill of an eastern grass owl, Tyto longimembris. I know that it was “the unmistakable, cricket-like trill of an eastern grass owl” because a couple of taps on the screen of my phone and there it was: picture, description, range and even an audio file.

This made me happy, but what happened next did not.

The creek bank is studded with outlet pipes. Many of these are decades old and usually link back to the industrial sites that formerly crowded around the Styx.

Most of these outlet pipes are defunct, though one (which comes from the ELGAS depot) was recently brought back into use to horrible effect. The ELGAS folk, or one of their subcontractors, had painted a fenced-off area with grey paint. And, once the job was finished, they’d cleaned up their brushes and spray equipment and … washed it all down the nearest drain.

It’s a reminder of the creek’s industrial heritage, of the way in which this beautiful waterway was (and, in some cases, continues to be) abused. And a reminder that to some people it’ll never be a creek, just a drain.