The car park at Boondall North Station is packed with commuter’s cars. I remember a time when my days were dictated not by my will but by the train schedule and office hours. I know that in a few hours time tired eyes will stare blankly at iPhones, laptops, book pages or out the train window willing the day to be over. Bodies will emerge from the steel sliding doors and tired feet will carry the weary workers home. It’s a life that seems so foreign to me now but a reality that was mine until just a year ago. I park down a side road and use the railway station overpass to cross the tracks onto the Moreton Bay Cycleway. The first few kilometres of today’s hike are not so interesting. I follow the path between the railway line and Entertainment Centre, walk along a busy road and cross under the even busier highway.
But then I am here: Boondall Wetlands.
A sign tells me that it is 4km from here to Nudgee Road. That seems like a good target. And so I walk, taking in the fresh air, swampy surrounds and bird song. Progress is steady. I am in no rush but do have to be back on time to do the grocery shopping before picking Paul up from work. It sure beats the old commute.
The Boondall Wetlands are everything that is good about nature in Brisbane. Mangroves stand in black water swamps. Their glossy leaves often floating on the water and their gnarled shapes reflecting like an ancient architecture.
Paperbark trees shed their skins and show off the last of their autumnal blooms. Their bark provides shelter for insects and lizards while their blooms are nectar for the birds and bees.
She-oaks whisper in the wind telling stories to all who will listen. And grass seed heads blow around like fans.
I can imagine the way the Traditional Owners lived here. There would have been fish to catch and wallabies to hunt. Berries must have grown and they probably knew how to prepare the plant life that makes up bush tucker. Interpretive signs attempt to show glimpses of their lives. And Aboriginal art adorns the tops of poles along the path. I’m glad to have found a space where Aboriginal Peoples are not ignored and their stories told, rather than tacked on as an after thought to post-1788 history.