Since I started chasing lost creeks, I have been drawn to spaces that most people would tend to ignore or avoid. For example, I often find myself peering into drains, which in many urbanised areas are the only waterways left. I’m sometimes tempted to venture inside them, but I rarely do.1 Out in the suburbs I’ll look twice at any gully or ditch that has not been covered over. These watercourses sometimes run through scenic parks, but more often they are tucked away in roadside scrub or remnant bush.
Exploring suburban gullies is hardly a taboo like venturing into drains, but neither is it a popular pursuit. For all of the prickles and scratches you are likely to endure, you can hardly expect to see nature at its finest.
Yet to me, there’s a certain appeal about being in a space that in all likelihood has not been looked at for many days, walked through for many weeks, or cleaned up for several years or decades. Such places remind you that there are still things to discover in an otherwise predictable suburban environment. If you keep your eyes peeled in a place like this, you never know what you might find.
I recently found myself in just such a place while exploring the headwaters of Langsville Creek. This creek exists only in fragments now, but it once flowed all the way from the Mount Coot-tha Quarry to the Brisbane River at Auchenflower. Its catchment neighbours that of Western Creek, the forgotten waterway that is the main focus of this website.
My exploration of Langsville Creek had taken me to a patch of bushland between Mount Coot-tha Road and Birdwood Terrace. I followed the Old Mount Coot-tha Road from near the entrance to the botanical gardens, and walked downhill through a clearing not far from Walter Street. Before I knew it, I was at the bottom of a damp and weedy gully.
- Kids used to explore drains all the time, but these days it is something of a taboo — and for good reasons. Thankfully, there are still a few underground explorers around to remind us what remarkable spaces drains are. (For more examples of drain photography, see subduedmidnight.com and longexposure.net.) ↩