Rock-Hopping to Second Falls—Morialta
Story Behind the Painting
My mind wanders back to childhood. That’s what my mind does while I sketch and paint. Many times in my life I’ve visited this place in the Adelaide Hills. Memories, lots of them. Good memories. Blackberrying with Mum, Dad and my brother. Truth be told, Mum and Dad picked the berries and my brother and I fished for yabbies (fresh-water shrimp). I recall breathing in the scent of liquorice plant as we hacked our way through the path tangled with prickly blackberry bushes.
My earliest memory, hiking up the path, actually the young T-Family, mum pushing me in the pram—up over the ridge; the first falls barely visible, second and third falls and the creek in between, accessible only by bush-bashing. Every autumn, Dad and Mum picked berries while my brother and I, with our sieves, fished for yabbies and tadpoles. Once caught, we placed them in our glass jars to take home as pets. I liked to watch my tadpoles slowly turn into frogs, if they didn’t die or get eaten by our cats first.
One year, my brother brought home a yabby. He placed it in a metal bowl in the back yard by the Geraldton-wax bush. That particular yabby had a habit of escaping. I don’t think it liked its metal bowl too much. Understandable, since my brother would forget about it and often when I went to inspect the yabby, it’s bowl was dry with a few bits of algae stuck to the bottom. Then, there were the cats. Somehow, the yabby ended up in my brother’s room. A mystery how it got there.
When it disappeared, yet again, and months passed without sighting it, we assumed the yabby had died or become a treat for the cats. Then, one spring morning, when fossicking in the back yard, I turned over the bowl. Underneath, I found the yabby, half buried in the mud, and doing back-stroke to escape from me.
As we grew older, we progressed to the second and third falls; a challenge for fitness, but those successive falls were not as spectacular as the first. I enjoyed the canopy of leaves and branches over the base of the third falls; my own hiding place and kingdom for a day.
When we were preparing for the challenges of Central Australia, Dad, my brother and I ventured past the falls to the edge of the conservation park—epic anti-climax. Just farmland. Still, after the hike I felt ready to take on the rigours of Mt. Woodroffe, Mt. Giles and Mt. Liebig.
These days, it’s the K-Team who make yearly visits to Morialta Conservation Park and continue to relish the ancient geographic wonders as well as the abundance of koalas asleep after munching on gum leaves.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017; updated 2020
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