You Can't Step in the Same River Twice

You Can’t Step in the Same River Twice
by Maurice Serico & Nurdon Serico, Elder of the Gubbi Gubbi Peoples.
Extracts from 'Brisbane: people and places of Ashgrove'.
 
As southeast Queensland’s water crisis deepened in 2007, locals became acutely aware of the importance of water to the wealth and prosperity of any community.  Our rivers, lakes and dams were taxed to straining point and desperate measures were introduced. As the original inhabitants of this area (including Ashgrove and The Gap), the Turrbal people were likewise water aware people.
 
Like many indigenous peoples, they used scarring as both initiation and decoration.  The men wore scars down the midline of their bodies that resembled currents or waves in a large stream or river.  Their women wore scars to represent the ripples of a shallow flood plain.  In a way, the Turrbal truly wore their hearts on their sleeves.
 
The Turrbal moved across their land in a seasonal pattern following the availability of fruits and game.  Travel was generally along the ridges of the country;  undergrowth is thinner, making movement easier and the lower lands could be surveyed.
 
The Gap was an important transition area for the Turrbal.  It stood between the Brisbane River and the mountain rainforest of Mt Glorious.  Through The Gap, the pathway to and from the rainforests followed the creeks and hills on the northern side of the suburb.
 
From the highest point of a modern-day walk in the area, the entire view is of forest, not a house in sight.  Within a few kilometres lie bora rings and camping grounds at Keperra and Samford and the past seems just out of reach.  The rivers that flowed and fed bands of Murris are still the same rivers, but when we step into them, their stories are washed away in the tides of time.  It is a landscape painted by the lives of ghosts and fleeing through each moment.
 
A regular camping site is believed to have been situated in Ithaca Creek at the most northern bend of Fletcher Parade, where the Chinese market gardens were situated.  The geology of the area makes this a good camping site.  There is a nearby high ridge for surveying the area which acts as a refuge during flooding and a rich alluvial plain supporting a verdant supply of plants and animals and ample opportunity for trapping fish, frogs, snakes and freshwater crayfish.
 
The Turrbal were skilled at both salt and fresh water food procuring using large fish traps, basket nets, hand held nets, fishing lines and spears.  Fishing lines were made from wattle bark or kurrajong stripped and rolled on the leg into twine.
 
The creeks provided not only food but also preservation tools.  A certain vine that grew along the banks of Enoggera and Ithaca Creeks, once wrapped around a caught fish, would keep it fresh for days. Enoggera is a corruption of Yowagurra, which in Turrbal and Gubbi Gubbi means ‘Dance Place’.
 
It is hard to imagine that anything of substance survives in Ithaca and Enoggera Creeks as they are today.