July 17, 2017
October 31, 2016
October 31, 2016
I began my rural journey as a knotty-haired tomboy playing in the singing creeks of southern Tasmania with frogs, tadpoles, skinks, mud and rocks. I had holes ripped in the knees of my hand-me-down boy jeans and would spend hours gazing at tiny living creatures in clear, sparkling water that shone and warbled over moss- and algae-covered creek stones. The Tasmanian land at Runnymede that my father was involved in was undergoing rapid change due to the fact its new owner, a civil engineer, had brought in some big machines to sculpt the landscape from that of marsh and bushland into a farm.
Right from the start there was conflict within me. I was a girl who loved the fairy glades of ferny rocky creek beds that offered a backdrop to my imagination, and yet all around were the ravages of the dozer blades that had fallen ti-tree, wattle and peppermint gums, and dozed sags, ferns, tussocks and rocks. The remnants of a beautiful bushland were windrowed into long giant heaps and left to dry. Then months or years later, on an autumn day when the wind was right, we would gather as a family and watch the burning. I would see graceful huntsmen she-spiders scuttling from the smoke, watch silver-sided skinks panic from log to log and hope with all my heart that any possums, quolls or Tassie devils sleeping in the piles would escape the furnace. Around the heaps the soil had been disced by iron ploughs, then harrowed and then sown with firstly turnips and swede, then later with improved pasture species that were delivered in giant bags from seed companies, and mixed with hard little white lumps of superphosphate fertiliser that was mounded in small mountains in the paddock. Back then the government helped subsidise superphosphate so it was literally bought by the truckload.Continue Reading