Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Searching for shacks

 Bird and I went hunting in the bush for shacks.

It's shack country after all, the country of old mining ventures and recent ancient massacres. Anyway, after several wrong leads that ended up being kangaroo tracks, we found the shack I'd come across years before, by the side of the River Steere.



 It'd been built by an idealist and by the tea cup hooks, I'm thinking an aesthetic thinker too. There was a pile of kindling protected from weather by tin, a well, created from an old rain water tank that had a run-off tin, a fish smoking set up and an open rainwater tank with a stick thoughtfully placed in the centre to save bees and other critters from drowning. The sense you get from this shack dweller and their thoughts is that they were profoundly sensitive to their environment, yet wanted to live within it.

Bird and I went down to the river to have a cup of tea from her thermos. We didn't talk about the shack much. We hadn't seen each other for a while and there were more important things to discuss. We drank from paper cups as the pups whizzed around on the river bed.

It's gold country, hard country. It's easy to imagine a man building this shack, smoking fish and panning for gold, living on the edge of the river.

I never saw myself as Davy Crockett when I built a shack about 20 kilometres from where we sat. After we'd had our cup of tea, Bird and I walked back through the flowering hakeas and pooled wheel ruts, got into the four wheel drive and went to my hut that I'd built myself.




 

11 comments:

  1. Amazing. Such a beautiful place and so different from here.

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    1. It was so nice to see people adding to the tin art as well. There's a visitors book of sorts in my old shack, and people have stayed there on their travels. Very sweet.

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    2. There is a tradition in Europe - alpine lodges, bothies in Scotland for those who get caught out on the moors and the English versions which are kept well stocked with the basics by the last people to use them. Your shacks sound like the same.

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    3. Yes I love the story of the bothies, think I first came across it in one of Robert McFarlane's books. These places are similar, although there is a sense of transgression when you enter these shacks. The visitors book changes that sense.

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  2. Living remotely in isolation places an individual one with nature. The shack inhabitant made a life and must have entertained or shared his/her life as indicated by 4 tea cups hanging on the wall. Do you spend time at your shack?

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    Replies
    1. Good point Susan, I hadn't thought of it as an entertainment venue!

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  3. I LOVE shacks. There is something so romantic about them though life in them was probably anything but.

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    1. I think it's the long term prognosis. It is terribly romantic. There is one story of Kundip where a man rode a bicycle there from QLD and built a shack there. That act of travel and rejuvenation is huge but what to do in ten year's time when he's still living there? For me the meaning was going there and building that shack. It's temporary. We really don't own anything but it's nice to stay for a while.

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