Mountains to Mangroves (1999)





Copyright Liz Hall-Downs/Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, 1999


In June, 1999, I was commissioned by the Mountains to Mangroves Festival to write a suite of poems focussing on the social and environmental histories of the wildlife corridor from Camp Mountain to the Boondall Wetlands in Brisbane.

My response to this has been twofold. I have produced a series of poems based on historical characters and events from the 1840’s through to the present, and the ‘Mountains to Mangroves Haiku Cycle’, a collection of haiku describing some of the flora and fauna of the area.

I chose haiku, the ancient Japanese verse form, for its brevity and its traditional links with the natural world. In recognition of the original inhabitants of the area, the Turrbul people, I have used, where possible, the Aboriginal names for the species described as well as the English names we are more familiar with. Although the Turrbul language is no longer spoken, word lists exist which were compiled by anthropologists of the 1930’s. More recent lists have been compiled by John Bowden in consultation with Aboriginal elders. Using these words serves as a reminder of the not-too-distant past, when an eagle was a “bugawan”, and a pelican a “kulukan” – beautiful words for beautiful creatures, words which possess a lyricism and musicality well-suited to poetry.

The historically-based prose poems are intended as a representation of aspects of life in the young city of Brisbane and surrounding areas. Naturally, there is far more historical material available than is feasible to include here. In the text I have sourced only direct quotations. Readers whose interest is stirred can consult my sources listed in the Bibliography. Obviously it is impossible to give a clear picture of life in the past in what is now referred to as the Mountains to Mangroves Corridor without also referring to events in central Brisbane. As much as the agricultural and religious activities of new settlers to the north of Brisbane influenced the quality of life in the city, so the social and political conditions in the city impacted on the lives of those in the farming communities.

Most of the characters encountered in these poems are fictionalised versions of real people, where I have tried to imagine how they might have spoken, and what issues might have concerned them; other characters are pure invention. In all cases, however, I have attempted to create a sense of “the real” by including historical details as described in the source materials.

Liz Hall-Downs,Writer & Community Artist,Brisbane,July 1999

1. Women’s Days

bundal, yugam and mai lie

in dillys in the creek

till the poison washes out

and then we eat.

we lay rotting logs in water

so the kanyi come,

collect bungwal roots

and pound them into flour.

we gather cumbookie, dubi

and winyam in the morning

while the men take their

mandins, and go fishing

during booral we are frightened

of the sound from the men’s camp,*

of that scary big blackfella who eats

our boys then throws them up!

after two moons they come back

to fight and dance and feast

for days with all our neighbours

Bundjalung, Yuggera, Waka Waka**

bundal – roots

yugam – a large bean

mai – Moreton Bay chestnut

dilly – lomandra plant fibre woven into bag

kanyi – shipworm; bungwal – fern roots

booral – men’s initiation ceremony

cumbookie – yabby

dubi – mud crab; winyam – soldier crab; mandin – fishing net

* bugaram and wabalkan (bull roarers) were used to make this sound to frighten the women away from the men’s ceremonial areas

** Tribes from Tweed, Ipswich and Upper Brisbane River

2. Young Men’s Ceremony

they take us boys to the bul called keperra

the turrwan whispers in my ear my new name

then shouts it out to all the men!

our noses pierced and scars cut on our bodies

we’ll be men too, soon, and will make braggan

and pilar from the kanaipa.

we’ll make tabri and bakkan

and canoes from bulurtchu or diura.

it takes many days to make a good canoe!

(it takes many days to make a boy a man!)

bul – ceremonial ground

turrwan – great man/men

braggan – boomerangs

pilar – fighting spears

kanaipa – ironbark

tabri & bakkan – clubs for hunting & fighting

bulurtchu – mahogany

diura – stringybark


On our surveying expedition we noted how

from Breakfast Creek to the South Pine River

the country was at best indifferent. On crossing

the river, there was a marked improvement.

We found wild raspberries (that tasted insipid),

and some nice native strawberries and currants.

We sat in the bladey grass and gorged ourselves,

remarking on the infinite variety of flowering shrubs

and how, in this place so far from town,

their beauty and fragrance seemed wasted . . . .


We settled on the north bank

of the Pine River, and happy I was

to renounce a life at sea for one

as a squatter on this land

so perfectly suited to sheep grazing.

We had a visit from Mr. Leichhardt once

on his way to collect rock samples

from the Pine. The rocks he’d already

saved from his travels in the north

he’d left with one of the native guides

to deliver to Mr. Petrie in Brisbane.

On his return, Leichhardt was surprised

to find that the bag had indeed been left

with Petrie, but the geological specimens

had been thrown out, and replaced with local

ballast. That blackfella’s logic appeared

to be this: Why carry rocks to town

when they already have plenty!


(A found poem, source Moreton Bay Courier, 27 November, quoted in BHG Papers No.5, page 68.)

Oh! Have you heard of the APPLE WINE!

That out of Beer now takes the shine,

If you have not then now’s your time,

Send down an order to Brisbane.

In Queen-street, there right in a line

“Forenint” the stores of “Southerdine”

You’ll see the shop where they makes the wine

Everybody drinks in Brisbane.

In Germany, England, every clime,

On the Melbourne diggings was heard the chime

Of praise for the CHAMPAGNE CIDER WINE,

That now is made in Brisbane.

Twelve shillings a dozen’s the price to be paid,

By those who prefer it in bottles made,

But, in gallons, at THREE it is sold to the trade,

By Wittgenstein of Brisbane.

Now, all who want a refreshing drink,

To you old Louis tips the wink,

You can’t do better than go, I think,

To the Brewery in Brisbane.

The Doctors all say ’tis worth your while

To give the champagne cider a trial,

For it surely will not capsize your bile,

Like some of the drinks in Brisbane.

Then now you’ve heard of the Applewine

That’s made by Louis Wittgenstein,

And out of all drinks takes the shine

Send down your order to Brisbane.


The Cash family were the first white settlers in the Pine Rivers District. By the 1850’s there was “renewed resistance to pastoralists pushing forward into the Pine River and Caboolture districts.”

(Brisbane History Group, Papers No.5, 1987)

Joseph Cash:

In 1849 I was working at an Ipswich cattle station

when the boss asked me to accompany him to Brisbane

to meet his prospective bride. He was in high spirits

(and full of them too!) so it fell to me to meet the boat

and when I laid eyes on Mary, I knew I had to have her

for my wife. She was only seventeen; I, forty-six

and a widower. This didn’t seem to bother her,

so we married and ran off to the South Pine River

where we built our slab hut on the rise.

The blacks, they didn’t want us there – they

made that very clear. One day we were working

in the garden, and looked up to see a group of them

right near the house. By now we had baby James

– he was lying in his cradle – and the blacks started

dancing and jumping around him. Too scared

to confront them, we waited and watched

and worried for the safety of our baby. But

our fears were all for nothing; they left little James

unharmed. I guess they just wanted to look at him.

Mary Cash:

Home alone with my friend and the family away

we woke to the sound of feet on the ceiling!

I was afraid, and thought quickly, broke

my sheep shears in two, tied one blade

to a stick, and jabbed it through our bark roof.

It was mayhem, with their screaming from

their feet wounds, and my friend firing

the shotgun poked through cracks in the slabs.

We scared them off, watched them carry

the injured ones away. I wager they never

knew they were dealing with two women!

And I wasn’t about to tell them!

Joe Cash:

After ten years and several children

we purchased the land we’d been using

– thirty-five acres at five pounds per acre.

In another ten years I had three hundred

and sixty acres, two buildings, two

stockyards, a large garden on the river flat.

I’m out a lot with the cattle, and Mary,

being a little too fond of the rum, has

a fine time without me! I’ve tried tying

the keg to the rafters, but she shoots

at it with my carbine, holds a tin pan

under the flowing stuff, and drinks it all up!

Mary Cash:

Oh the perils of wedding an older man!

Joe’s gone and died and left me – his heart

gave out – and I have six children now

and a farm to run. Every night I sit up knitting

my quilts and pillow shams, which helps me feed

the family. I couldn’t keep up the bank payments,

had to forfeit three-fourths of the land.

The Leitches, the Eatons, and the Mecklems

bought it all up on reselection.

My boys, James and William, they seek to control me,

just because I jump my horse at the splitrail gates.

Well, why dismount, I always say, and I do so love

to jump! But those boys, they worry I’ll break

my legs and have hidden my riding habit. In return,

I’ve slaughtered their two pet goats, and fallen out

with both of them these past months.

I know I cannot go on like this

and have accepted an offer of marriage

from one Edward Cain, a kindly man,

who does not mind that I smoke a pipe

and ride my horse like the devil!

7. 1860 TOM HOWARD, BREAKFAST CREEK (a fictional character)

I am the boy who saw them burn the gunyas.

I was there, me, Tommy Howard, on the Eagle Farm Road,

was on me way to town that fine Saturday

when the five footpolice marched in with loaded carbines.

There were twenty-five gunyas there, and I seen

the blighters burn the lot.

That Duke of York’s Clan, I seen ’em,

there at the mouth of Breakfast Creek.

They been there for years, it was their place

and everyone knew it. There were hollow logs there

filled with the bones of their dead, all sizes,

and they’d marked all the trees with strange symbols.

I seen ’em with their nets when the mullet was runnin’

when the tribes from all around came specially

for the singin’ and dancin’. I tell ya, I seen ’em!

That constable, Cox I think his name is,

I heard him say to ’em, “We burn camp, you go

set down bush,” saw them scatter as their gunyas burned,

saw the coppers fire so randomly, even on the family

with the sick old man while they carried him down

to the canoe. They had to leave everything

– blankets, nets, and all their food.

Then three toffy-lookin’ riders joined in,

and they all took off up the hill to the other camp.

But the blacks had heard the shootin’ and they’d bolted.

The only sign of life was a scrawny old dog. I winced

when Cox shot it, ’cause I like dogs, and I seen how

the blacks treat their puppies, carryin’ ’em

around like babies. That poor old dog,

he’d never done nothin’ to no-one …

Imagine how many years those blacks’d been

meetin’ there, before we came and started killin’

and diseasin’ ’em, runnin’ ’em off their places,

rough Englishmen (and some gentlemen too!)

chasin’ after their women …

Why can’t they just leave ’em alone?

They weren’t even close to town!

I know where they went to, those people.

They’d have gone up to German Station.

At least the missionaries there are kinder to ’em

– they have to be, it’s their religion.


I started at the new school four years ago

when Mrs Cooper was the teacher. She was

kind to us, though some of the boys behaved

badly for her. Last year, they sent her back

to the Normal School, and now we have to tolerate

Mr Beattie. He’s strict! He makes the girls

write out, “I’m a sinner, because I ate my

breakfast before my dinner”. I don’t know

why that should be a sin, but Mr Beattie claims

close contact with the Lord. The classes are growing

smaller and smaller, as Mr Beattie gets meaner and meaner.

Mother says he’s a curse on the neighborhood, and that

some fathers have written to the board of Education,

asking for his removal. I hope we get a new teacher

who’s good. I’ve learned so little from this one

and now that I’m twelve, my schooldays are almost over.


Life in this colony is far from the conditions

I left behind me in the home country. I work

harder than I have ever, ploughing and sowing

alongside the men, controlling the stock,

and toiling in the dairy. And every year,

there’s been another baby! I labour

at the wood stove and the wringer in such heat

of which manners demand no discussion.

My white ladylike complexion has turned brown

and lined, though we women wear sunbonnets with

wide side flaps to shield our poor skins from this

relentless sun. Concerning European fashions,

I have long given up, preferring to buy swathes

of lightweight muslin and gingham, from Finney

Isles and Company in Brisbane. Significantly,

many women here are still in crinolines.

I myself have, over these years, constructed some

semblance of serviceable hoops from various local

timbers and vines, to keep those heavy petticoats

away from my legs, and myself cool enough for the

daily chores, the relentless round, with no servants

to order, or mother or others to pity my plight,

with a hungry, hardworking husband and a rapidly

growing family … Oh who would be a colonial wife!


I can’t tell you my name for fear of getting

into trouble. But me and my mates had such fun

with that preacher, Reverend Brown! He still

hasn’t noticed the hole in the church floor.

We sit underneath, and wiggle sticks through it

during his sermons. It’s cool under the church

– we are not heathens, we listen to what he says –

but yesterday it was all about the sufferings of hell,

and we just couldn’t resist lighting a little fire

so’s the smoke would seep in like a spectre. We could

hear the murmuring building inside, even the grownups

were laughing. My mates and me, we ran off into

the bush, before anyone came out looking!


Tom Petrie:

I knew a blackfellow in the 1840’s.

His native name was “Yilbung”, really,

which was somehow truncated to “Millbong Jemmy”.

“Yilbung” meant “one-eyed” and referred to the accident

he’d had with a fire as a child. He was the only

blackfellow I knew who was unafraid to travel at night.

There’s no denying Jemmy stole. He took clothes

and provisions from the German Station, and corn

from the Windmill store of Old Marten. This last

episode saw him there imprisoned by the local

constable. But I was a boy then, watching,

and I saw for myself who struck the first blow.

I saw Redcoats lined up at the Windmill’s doorway;

they marched Jemmy downhill to the Queen Street

triangles, where Gilegan flogged him and Jemmy,

poor fellow, cried out to his mother to save him.

Soon released, he was said to be stealing again

– he took tobacco from the soldiers, and all

were seeking him after David Petty, at Norman Creek,

fearful of a group of blacks, accidentally shot himself.

Then Mr Gregor, the North Pine sawyer, was murdered

and, not knowing one blackfellow from another,

the authorities offered ten pounds for Jemmy’s capture.

Jemmy, in his conversations with me,

“never would own he had killed anyone,

but admitted he had often stolen, saying

he did not see any harm in taking flour when hungry,

and that as the white men had taken away his country,

he thought they should give him something for it”.*

Well, I couldn’t argue with this perspective;

it redefined for me the notion of “stealing”,

and I gave him a plug of tobacco.

A petty thief he may have been, but others’

behaviour was more disturbing. Those sawyers

at Bulimba offered him dinner, then tied him

and in the head shot him. He was thrown onto

a bullock dray and taken to the settlement,

dying on the way. At the banks of the river,

they dragged his body down, and “let it fall

like a log to the ground”.*

I heard his head was severed

and boiled free of flesh

so the scornful colonists

could make a cast of it.

Poor Jemmy, though no angel,

had an ignominious death, he

paid the price of being a well-known

personality. And I can’t help

but wonder if he took all the blame

for the various sins of the many …

* Petrie, p.169


Twenty-seven years ago my family came here

from Germany, staying at Downfall Creek

with Uncle William at the beginning. Father

worked at clearing land, and we rented for a year

from Mr. Whickam, the printer. Finally, we

leased a section of the Bishop’s Paddock at Aspley.

It was good land for farming, though at first

the work was hard. To our tomatoes, potatoes,

and melons we added seventy-five beehives, and had

a surfeit of lovely honey till the wax moths came!

After that I turned to pineapples, bought a ship’s

tank for boiling, and a soldering iron for sealing.

I’ve been canning my own now for the past eight years,

and the transport strike’s worked in our favour.

All the farmers sold us their crop this year,

and I’ve readied some eight thousand tins. I’m going

into pawpaws next, I have to mind to can fruit salad.

And maybe some sauces, tomato and worcestershire, maybe

some gherkins, or beets. I know we’ll do well here,

for no matter what, everybody has to eat!

(By 1920, this family business was processing 20,000 tins of

pineapple, 14,000 tins of beetroot, and 10,000 tins of gherkins

per year.)


I was happy to join the Bunkum family. For years

I’d listened to Mr Bunkum calling his cows in

of a morning. And a few times I’d helped, with

the other children, to drag home his amorous bull.

You could hear that bull bellowing for miles!

I married Harold Bunkum the night before he left

to fight the Great War in Europe. We’d decided not

to wait, not knowing how long it would last. Three

years now he’s been gone, and now this news has come,

that poor, dear Harold is never coming home.


My father bought a strawberry farm in 1908

along Neville Road. As soon as I was old enough

I went to work for Huttons, but after hours I

farmed a plot of my own. I soon realised that

a farmer was what I wanted to be, and I took it up

full-time, planting three hundred rows of beans …

People usually lost their crops in drought season,

so I experimented with irrigation. I filled

hundreds of kero tins down by the creek, and

lugged them up to my seedlings by hand. Then

I bought a pipe and pump to save my poor legs

and planted lots of pineapple trees. These

shaded the cabbages, and on the other side

I had a go with spring vegetables. I grew the

first celery in the region, and my lettuces did

so well with this system that people nicknamed me

‘The Lettuce King’. Now, when asks about my success,

I tell them, ‘It’s all due to irrigating’!


Grandmother Petty sailed here from New Zealand

in the late 1880’s, with her family. They started

a circus called “De Vere’s”. They cut costs by buying

tired old horses, that wore out and died, leaving

the wagons stranded in the paddocks of kindhearted

strangers. Rumour has it the wagons were never

collected; it’s no wonder the business went bust!

We never owned land of our own. In the twenties

a bag house on Old Northern Road was home! We

dipped potato bags in the lime and cement mix,

then hung them between our home-made frames.

Later on we built another house, this time

of corrugated tin, and wasn’t I a happy boy,

with a house with real walls for living in!

Before the war I sold firewood I’d collected,

and clothes props I’d made myself; after all that

madness had subsided I bought a truck and sold fresh

fruits and vegetables off the back. But the circus

in my blood just had to come out, so I started it up

again at Petty’s Flat. Now there’s birds, snakes, possums,

a cocky in the kiosk, and a lovely flower garden.

On Sunday afternoons I still help with the picnics

in that funny old hall, the one with the waist-high

tin walls. I hook up a loudspeaker to the back

of my truck, so the folks can have music for dancing.

I like to emcee, and everyone has such fun – some

even do handstands or play tunes on gum leaves!

None of these families have very much money …

But then that never stopped

either them or the Petty’s!


(a fictional character)

As a child I lived at German Station

– what used to be the mission –

with my father and mother and six

brothers and sisters. My english

was poor when I first went to

the school run by Mr McAllister

but he and his wife were kind to us

and soon sorted me out.

On our property we grew fruit,

maize, sweet potatoes, and grapes

for Childs’ winery, and we had

a small dairy for our twenty cows

that required milking twice daily.

Many new arrivals from Germany

came straight to us, seeking

fellowship, employment and advice.

We’d send some on to Herr Appel,

Brisbane’s first vice-consul – he

would find them homes and jobs.

Though the British in those days

did not much like us, it was our

German Band they hired for all

their concerts, balls,and bazaars,

and the Seal and Cramer brothers

later added to the brass – a beautiful

string section, and how I loved those

violins! Father’s friend, Mr Jost

and family, started the German Sausage

Manufactory and Pork Butchery, and I

remember how my mother used to feed us

black bread with the strassburg, and talk

about her youth in the old country.

There were so many animals in those days

– koalas, possums, and dingoes especially –

that we had to build picket fences around

our paddocks to protect the crops from them.

More German settlers came over on land vouchers

but these were stopped in the 1880’s by the

Britishers. With the Great War in Europe

came the suspicion that Kaiser Wilhelm

was after their Empire, so they locked up

thousands of Germans, some Australian-born

friends among them. In World War Two, they

tried to intern us again, though we’d been three

generations in Brisbane. But afterwards, Calwell,

concerned for the falling birthrate and the threat

of Japanese invasion, let thousands more of our

countrymen in. For at least, he said, they were European.

17. 1960 MURIEL DAVIES (a fictional character)

recalls the late 1940’s

Some Sundays Dad took us to the beach at Sandgate.

In winter we’d buy hot pies and peas from Old Man Dodds,

and in the summers icecream. I was much taken by the sight

of his big white horse with its fancy bridle leathers,

and the loud lovely sound of his announcing bell!

I was so impressed too with that old blackfellow,

Gus Davies, a veteran of both World Wars, hurtling along

the Bald Hills Road with his wife in their shiny sulky.

I remember eating lamingtons at Saltwood at Shorncliffe,

and the sense of competition when the grocers bought their

motor cars, and the time Torpie’s ute went in the swamp

at Devil’s Elbow. I saw also when young David Ward’s whole

load of market-ready watermelons fell off on the gravel

and broke open. How those melons rolled in the swamp!

How they floated through the paperbarks and far out to sea!

How sternly my Dad warned me not to laugh so loudly!

18. 1999 SHE SAID

“My father was born here in 1890,

and I remember how he talked of the blacks.

‘Poor things!’ he would say, ‘the poor

sick things!’ And I remember them healthy,

their men following Kedron Brook,

carrying bundles of forest-cut ferns

home to their families for eating.”

“My father told me about

another group of aborigines

– he described them as ‘pygmies’ –

who lived in the big scrub

on the north side of the city.

It was a very old forest, he told me,

mostly made up of Moreton Bay Fig trees.”

“Oh, there were so many stories,”

she told me, “but the one I have

always remembered is of how they

cleared that scrub, and all the blacks

got sick and died. I don’t know

what this means,” she said, “but I know

what my father said …”


From the mountains to the mangroves flow

the waters of the creeks, through

stands of ironbark and brushbox,

stringybark and grey gum

past the old quarries and gold mines

and along the Mailman’s Track

farms of pineapples, bananas

and the old jinker tracks.

Koala live here, and squirrel glider and echidna.

Hear the low growl of the dingo, the thump

of timid swamp wallaby, the whoo-hoo

of the powerful owl, (his speckled feathers

white and brown), the bush stone-curlew’s

evening song, and the gutteral squawk

of the black cockatoos, their yellow tails

bright in the mountain oak’s foliage.

There’s a ringtailed possum, startled in

the hickory wattle, and many other

creatures live down in the water

– platypus, turtles, eels, fish and yabbies,

and frogs, so very many, with their

quacks and clucks, their high-pitched

chattering, and the emerald-spotted

treefrog’s particular jackhammer rattling.

There are butterflies – blue tigers in their vast

yearly numbers, big greasy with its red and white

and transparent forewings, the Jezebel’s bright

colours (antidote to winter’s chill), giant

woodmoth in the summer, emerging from its

gumtree hole, and the richmond birdwing,

green and gold, flit so happily

through maidenhair, and wombat berry.

At the meeting of the waters, suburbia begins,

though still stand some ancient bloodwoods,

tallowwood and forest red gums, making homes

for tawny frogmouths, and the sacred kingfisher,

spreading branches for bright lorikeets and crimson rosellas.

red ash and paperbark mark the site of wartime

army camps; before that, it was the hunting

ground for brushtail possum, flying fox.

Further downstream are ibis, egret and brolga,

eastern water dragons, christmas beetles, manti,

grasshoppers, the circular filaments of the

garden orb weaver, and the yellow-striped

saint andrew’s cross spider. This was the settling

place for missionaries in the 1830’s, and where

Hartenstein famously bogged his wagon, his

‘downfall’ remembered by the creek’s naming.

At Zillman’s Waterholes, the Great Kangaroo jumped

and, according to legend, his footprints filled up.

Here are moreton bay figs, and weeping lilly pilly’s,

geebung, cabbage palm and batwing coral trees,

and spoonbill and cormorant, birds of creek and sea,

blue-tongued and monitor lizards, and scary-faced frilly’s.

till the creeks, Nundah and Cabbage tree

begin to merge with salt water from the sea …

Here are pigface, monkey rope vines, and samphire,

grey mangrove, tuckeroo and coast banksia.

Pelicans and oystercatchers one-legged stand,

while above soars brahminy, (white head

and chestnut belly), hunting bream and prawns,

stingrays in the shallows, crab and flathead

and blue spotted goby. Swamp sheoak waves

its branches in the salt-tinged breeze

and the mangroves hail the mingling

of the rivers with the seas.

20. The Meeting of the Waters

In the bush, serenity and calm,

and along the mountain’s long arm

live swathes of fern and cabbage palm,

veins of cool, clear water.

From fragrant bush the creek’s bright song

echoes through suburbs, to coastal plains,

mingles the salty taste of sea

with the bush-born water’s clarity.

Down by the sea, where the water runs free

prawns and fish, turtles and dugong

breed and feed in seagrass meadows

while mangroves gnarl and bend and breathe

– great fingers in the mud,

the hands of the creek.


Brisbane History Group, Brisbane: The Aboriginal Presence 1824-1860, Edited by Rod Fisher, Papers No. 11, 1992

Brisbane History Group, Brisbane: Aboriginal Alien Ethnic, Papers No. 5, 1987

Brisbane History Group, Brisbane Town News from the Sydney Morning Herald 1842-46, Source No. 3, 1989

Ballard, Kath, Geebong Story, Kath Ballard, Brisbane, 1995

Ballard, Kath, Geebung Story – The Next 50 Years, Kath Ballard, Brisbane, 1998

Bowden, John, Living with the Environment in the Pine Rivers Shire, Pine Rivers Shire Council, Brisbane, 1999

Ewart, Merv, Settlement to Sentiment, Pine Rivers Shire Council, 1995

Finger, Jarvis, The St Helena Island Prison, Boolarong Publications, Brisbane, 1990

Pechey, Sue, & Tremayne, Jean, Pioneers, Picnics & Pineapples, Pechey & Tremayne, Brisbane, 1994

Petrie, Constance Campbell, Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland, UQP, Brisbane, 4th edition, 1992

Reekie, Gail (Ed.), On The Edge: Women’s Experiences of Queensland, UQP, St. Lucia, 1994

Sandgate From the Beginning, Keep Sandgate Beautiful Association, Sandgate, 1980

Steele, J.G., Aboriginal Pathways, UQP, St. Lucia, 1984

Teague, D.R., The History of Aspley, 3rd edition, Colonial Press, Brisbane, 1990

Teague, D.R., The History of Albany Creek, Bridgeman Downs and Eaton’s Hill, 3rd edition, Colonial Press, Brisbane, 1980

Teague, D.R., The History of Chermside, Colonial Press, Brisbane, 198?

Waterson, D. & French, M. From the Frontier: A Pictorial History of Queensland, UQP, St Lucia, 1987

Welch, Melva A., Not pineapples, not pine trees but Pine Rivers, Pine Rivers Shire Council, 1995

Welch, Melva A., Toponomy – A List of Place Names, Pine Rivers Shire Council, 1991

Queensland Museum, Wildlife of Greater Brisbane, 1995




Liz Hall-Downs


stingray slick and grey

hiding in the mangrove mud

seeking good eating


hunting in pilli (gully)

the orange-bellied bugwal’s (wallaby)

faster than kannai (spears)

rainbow lorikeet


mad manic laughter

pillin in the banksias (parrot)

sweet juice from bumbar (flowers)


mad manic laughter

screeching in the banksias

rainbow lorikeets



two lovely kai-yar (cockatoos)

in baggur by yinnel (tree by creek)

cry out as we pass


pair of cockatoos

in eucalypt by the creek

squawk at our passing


cumbookie in sand (yabby)

waves his kutchi fingertips (red/orange)

then burrows deep down


such a big kupi (forest possum)

his long silver-grey fur

so soft for blanket

soldier crab

a big fat winyam (soldier crab)

under rocks in fresh water

good dinner for us!

small brown bat

little brown billing (small bat)

twists and turns as he chases

small insects to eat


brown and green splotches

see the tagun in warra (eel in river)

he travels so fast!

flying fox

gramman’s silver-grey fur (flying fox)

turns thick kutchi in winter (red/orange)

to keep him warmer


eating many ants

while sharp quills stop us touching

kaggarr hides in dirt (echidna)

squirrel glider

chibur at night-time (squirrel glider)

under mirrigin shiny (stars)

his nest’s in that tree!


dumpripi eating (koala)

sweet green leaves of the brushbox

tungipin blows him (the west wind)


mirri live out there (dingo)

on islands and by warra (river)

whole families of them!

eastern water dragon

big grey magil hides (water dragon)

along yinnel and pilli (creek&gully)

patterns on his hide

brisbane short-necked turtle


umpie korumba (brisbane area)

the binkin in the warra (turtles in river)

have purganpallam (yellow)


brisbane area

the turtles in the river

have yellow faces

pacific black duck

nar always swimming (black duck)

nyandas of this area (lagoons)

bright green on brown wings

grey shrike thrush

miram flies in camp (thrush)

he knows many sacred things

turrbul ask questions (local tribe)


kang-goon-goon watches (kookaburra)

as we stand in cold warra (river)

catching fat andakal (mullet)


silly bulimba (magpie-lark)

in his black and white splendour

dances on the grass


diving for towan (fish)

kulukan in the water (pelican)

shaking wet feathers


tunggi at nyanda (brolga,swamp)

walks dulan on graceful legs (mud)

catches worms, towan (fish)

lace monitor

giwer everywhere (lace monitor)

in the kabban and pilli (rainforest, gully)

big, grey and spotty!

black cockatoos

that sound in the trees

on black and yellow tinged breeze

the two karana (black cockatoo)

wedge-tailed eagle/lomandra plant

while cutting dilli (lomandra for weaving)

i spied the soaring tuwai (wedge-tailed eagle)

up high in the sky

i weave dilli to carry

watch tuwai watch me walk home