Walking in Parramatta Park

October 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Australia, Experiences, Gardens, Nature, Tourism, Writing | 8 Comments
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One Thursday recently, I drove my husband to work in western Sydney. I then had the day to myself until I had to pick him up. I decided to go to Parramatta Park, through which runs the Parramatta River.

The park is an historic place, part of it being the site of the first Government House building constructed after Australia was colonised by Britain. It also had the first real farm and the first successful dairy. Before that, it had been a significant place for the Aborigines, who had become displaced by the newcomers. 

The name Parramatta is based on the local indigenous word that means ‘place of many eels’ and the river was an important source of food. No doubt, the origin of the name is why the local rugby league team is known as the Eels.

Going to this large, beautiful park has inspired me before: to write, or to just enjoy the peace and the significance of the place for both indigenous and European inhabitants. There are the riverbanks, pathways and many open spaces in which to walk. There is also the old King’s Park cricket ground, and the Eel’s home football ground and Leagues Club.

On this day, it had been raining, and the clouds looked as if they held more rain to come. But, after parking the car, I set out for a good walk. In the end, I spent about enjoyable six hours in the park, and I came away with some images that I would like to share with you.

At the weir, river water washes through the overflow vents, swirls and churns into fluffy mounds, like suds on over-soaped dishwater. These float downstream, bright white islands on green, tree-reflected water.

Multitudes of flying foxes hang upside-down in the branches of riverside trees, like an abundant crop of plump black fruit.

I watch 767 passenger jets take off from the airport twenty miles away. They slowly climb into the air, and I marvel at the laws of physics that allow Man to conquer the skies. My ancestors, only a few generations back, would marvel even more.

The counter and shelves in the café display cakes and biscuits – creamed, chocolated or brightly icing-sugared. A gastronome’s sweet delight of highly processed sugar and carbs that draw in the unwary, and add yet more inches to already expanded waistlines.

Swallows swoop and dart for insects just above the lawn, zipping closely past each other but never touching; a perfectly choreographed aerial ballet.

A pair of batting gloves rests on the ground next to the cricket oval gate. Were they lost after a weekend match? Will the owner return to claim them, or will they continue to lie abandoned in the rain?

A man strides briskly past me, umbrella open and raised overhead against the rain. So intent on his thoughts, he does not realise that the shower has passed and the sun is breaking through the clouds.

An old peppercorn tree stands in the park, its thick trunk gnarled into rough lumps upon fissured bumps. A hole, deep and shadowed, could easily be the small entry to a fantasy world of trolls and goblins.

My walk in the park turned up wonderful images everywhere. As always, I had my notebook and pen with me to capture them.

 

© Linda Visman

 

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