Saturday, November 8, 2014

Three Rivers (cont)

At one point in my valley life  Nambour Council, always short of water for the coast, decided that they'd dam Brown's Creek and flood our valley. This would have been a double whammy for them - get rid of the hippies and supply the thirsty, moneyed golf courses by the ocean with a limitless supply of fresh green.
When I became an Australian citizen in a ceremony in Nambour in 1977 I was seated at one end of a long table with all the other candidates, next to the mayor, the very same man who was trying to drown us out. I don't think he'd ever met a hippy before, I dressed to impress by wearing shoes for the day and I remember having a reasonable conversation with him about what interesting, well behaved people we were living out in the bush, and certainly not the anarchistic antichrists that the straight people imagined we were.
The ceremony itself was surreal, especially the bit where I had to deny all other allegiance and then swear allegiance to the Queen of Australia, who, because I'm a pom, was the same person I'd just denied all other allegiance too.
They did give up on the dam but only because of the expense, nothing at all to do with words in the mayor's ear and so left another generation of hippies to grow up in relative peace.
In the wet season we could be isolated up the valley for extended periods as dark, cold, cyclonic water poured down on us. There were two clankety clank wooden bridges, one car wide, that the menacing, swirling water could cover in half an hour, followed by a dirt road into town, fine and dandy in the dry but impossibly dangerous in the wet. So when it started raining I'd make a dash to town for supplies as you never knew when it would stop raining. I went to get food but much more importantly lots of wine, you didn't want to be stuck in a leaky shack out bush with no phone, electricity or booze, that was how people went troppo.
It took me years to train myself not to run out and shop every time it rained, which would be a pretty stupid thing to do if you lived on a wet, windy island on the edge of the North Atlantic like I do.

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