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'A Personal Experience of the Logan River' written by Ruth, landholder along the Logan River

almost 3 years ago

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute my views and personal experiences of the Logan River and indeed thank you for setting up this River Vision project. I think the Logan River’s protection is essential and if the water quality is preserved, the community and environment benefit not only now but into the future. I would like that the waterways be respected as a life blood to the community. Because in failing to do so, literally from personal observations, we are flushing away the wildlife. What is not healthy for them, cannot be healthy for us.

For over 40 years, the Logan River has been a special place for myself and my family. My parents bought the 10 acre lot on the River at Jimboomba in 1973. Since then my parents, my three brothers and I, and now our families, have spent our holidays and weekends there enjoying the river, the serenity of the bushland and the observation of considerable wildlife.

In 1974, the flood covered a third of the property and gave a good indication of where, and more importantly, where not to put the caravan, which, after a few holidays around Queensland, was rested there in the 1980s. We still use the same caravan when we are there with the next generation – our children sleeping in the same bunk beds where we slept as children.

My three brothers and I learnt to swim in the Logan River and have floated/walked down the river from our property to the Payne’s Bridge numerous times. The river has had its ups and downs, when shallow it is often crystal clear and although ankle deep, some deeper pools are always found on exploration. The “big log” upstream from our bank usually provided a good dip and the “cliffs” a bit further up, which we notice are in the River Vision Booklet labelled Logan River, Jimboomba. The beautiful, sandy bottom to the river makes walking and swimming in the river a delight. Some other memories of my experiences with the river, both current and past, include: running down sand dunes that disappear into the river, mulberry picking when the time is right, trees overhanging the river offering shade and adventure, kayaking and floating on tyre inner tubes, building cubbies and making special crystals out of tree sap, the odd oval prickles that Dad could pluck off a shrub, the Noogoora Burr, and throw at us, catching us on our clothes and starting a return play war.

We experienced the odd lightning storm that would move around us in keeping with the traditional aboriginal meaning of the name, Jimboomba, ‘place of loud thunder, little rain’. This was except on one occasion when the sky suddenly turned green causing us to pick up our towels and run up from the river to the dubious protection of the caravan. The tent poles of the annex were already flying in the buffeting wind. Eight of us were huddled inside to the sound of large hailstones hammering down on the roof but luckily there was no lasting damage. On another holiday spent at the river, we were accosted by a large wild boar who was heading in our direction quite aggressively and was obviously hungry or at least up for a battle. Mum, who was privy to tales of wild pigs in the outback taking people apart with their snapping jaws, got us all across the river, my youngest brother was about three and that was the first time he swam. We were safe we thought, until the wild boar decided to swim across as well. Up the tree we all went but it kept circling around. Eventually Mum, with dire warnings for us to remain up the tree, ran to a neighbouring property for help and a young man with a rifle and his pig dogs ran cross country to help. Lucky too, as the boar still hadn’t budged when they got back to us, still all up the tree. The dogs made quick work of rounding it up and it was soon trussed up and in the back of the man’s ute with a six pack of stubbies on the front seat from mum who was very grateful for the rescue. It didn’t deter us, however from future adventures.

As children we would head down to the river with everything we needed for the day, a picnic packed by Mum, who would settle on the sandy bank in the shade of a bottlebrush tree. On warmer days, I remember Mum with an old linen sheet that she rinsed in the water and hung up in the tree to create an evaporative cooler with the breeze. Even as a child I remember Mum saying: “when I die, come and bury my ashes beside this river”, so happy she was to always be there. Fortunately we have not yet had to do so, and she still is always happy to be there.

My father passed away in 2005 and his ashes are buried there beside a giant gum tree just a few metres away from the campfire where we all gather at night. His presence there at our Jimboomba land is remembered with respect and love in the stories we tell of him to our own children.

In 2013 we had a fortieth celebration of, not the land belonging to us but of our belonging to the land there. We had over fifty people come, many cousins who had their own happy memories of staying at Jimboomba as children.

In 2015, we celebrated at the land with my grandmother, turning 100 years old with cake and wine. She said how lovely it was. It was a privilege to have her out there.

More recently In April 2016, we spent some special time there with extended family introducing our youngest child, still a baby, to the lands sights and sounds and eucalyptus scents and peacefulness, enjoying the river, along with our two other children. Playing and exploring with their cousins just as we had done.

I no longer see turtles along our stretch of water, as we used to as children or sizeable fish jumping out of the water. The plentiful birdlife has seemed to dwindle, the distinctive soothing call of the peaceful dove that I always associate with being there, is not as frequent. The green tree frogs that were permanent residents by the caravan are no longer there. It is hard not to wonder that the health of the river has been impacted by surrounding development. Happily there are still some kangaroos that pass through at dawn and dusk and sometimes watch us curiously from a distance as we set up camp.

The Logan River at Jimboomba is a special body of water that deserves ongoing protection from all sectors. I would like to see frequent monitoring of water quality and an upgrade to what is currently considered “acceptable levels”. Also for public feedback to be given to the community on tested levels with strict guidelines for chemical use and run-off from surrounding areas. I would also like to see better education for people, whether it be in residential , business or government, about managing waste. Keeping toxins from running into the river and through the river, is key to its survival and the survival of the ecosystem that depends upon it. This ecosystem includes not only us but the generations ahead that will, hopefully, experience the area as the recreational paradise that my family and I do. Amongst the rapid growth in Jimboomba and surrounding areas, we all need to be the caretakers and guardians of the truly special wildlife and nature area that is the Logan River.

written by Ruth, landholder along the Logan River

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