Reed beds and mangroves are often described by natural resource management people as the “kidneys” of our estuaries, filtering out the rubbish in the freshwater system before it hits the ocean. If that’s the case, then the mangroves around the Carrington board walk must be ready to go on dialysis. I was down there the other day, taking a stroll with the Jambo and The Wife. The state of the place is enough to make you weep.


The vast majority of the litter that ends up in our waterways, and hence our reeds and mangroves, consists of discarded plastic drink bottles. Which makes the challenge by Coca-Cola Amatil, Schweppes and Lion Nathan to the NT’s container deposit legislation hugely galling. As though these guys aren’t making massive enough profits from fizzy water with sugar in it? (You can sign the GetUp! e-petition supporting the NT Government here if you’re up for it.)


The Styx is the collection point for several smaller creeks and waterways. Hunter Water subbies out the job of picking up the bottles, syringes, polystyrene cartons and other junk to a private company. I see the guys often, out with their whipper snippers on the banking, doing emu bobs with garbage bags or in thigh waders down by the TAFE. They do a sterling job but, in the face of the tsunami of litter that thoughtless people send their way, they’re always going to be fighting a losing battle. I mean, look at this from a couple of months ago:


But amidst the gloom, a small moment of … well, not exactly happiness, but certainly surprise It was Froggy! The last time I saw this little guy was in August 2012, by the railway bridge.


Somehow he’d managed to hitch a ride on a flood down past the TAFE, under the Maitland Road bridge, down the Throsby and into the Carrington mangroves. He’s a survivor!

Though of course he’s a survivor because he’s made of non-biodegradable unobtanium or something. So, hmm. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so pleased to see him after.

(But I was pleased really!)



Got an email from Hunter Water regarding its customer panel. Like all good organisations, Hunter Water seeks customer feedback, and they set up this voluntary initiative a while back. Quite a long while back, in fact. I remember at the time filling in an online form, but then I didn’t hear nuthin. But its nice to know that they “value” me:

I am making contact with you because sometime in the last couple of years you indicated an interest in being part of Hunter Water customer panel. Thank you for your interest – Hunter Water places a lot of value on this panel.

Perhaps I’m just being a snarky old git, but I can’t help but feel that the words “sometime in the last couple of years” take a lot of the oomph out of the “value”. Did someone just find all these old emails that had gone straight to the “Trash” folder? As Spook from Top Cat would say, “Like, sheesh!”

Another undervalued thing is Richardson Park. It’s kind of stuck out on the end of Hamilton North and doesn’t seem like a park at all in lots of ways. The council uses it to park trucks, dump fill or pile mulch, and the football pitch is hard, uneven and unkempt. Most people know it as the place where the circuses set up, or as a temporary park on show day. But some enterprising photographer has used his imagination and has recently started using the park’s fig trees as a backdrop for wedding photos.

The first time I saw a wedding party in Hamilton North I just about fell over. Nobbys Beach: Check. Merewether Baths: Check. Next to the drain in Hamilton North: Wha …? But it really is a perfect, uncrowded venue, with the afternoon sun filtering through the figs.

Maybe brides and grooms on the lookout for unique venues could try the gasworks. Or the creek. Got yarning to Dave the other day, he was busy cleaning up the 66 gazillion empty drink bottles that had appeared since the previous clean up and were now rattling around the concrete. And the toy frogs, of course. Always, toy frogs.

But it’s looking very chipper down there at the mo, with the sun glistening on the incoming tide. Brides and grooms of Newcastle: think outside the square! Styx Creek awaits you! I promise that I will devote an entire blog post to the first wedding party to climb the gas tower or spend the afternoon tagging under the railway bridge.*

* This is not a genuine offer. Both the gasworks and the creek are private property etc. etc. you know the drill.