Cataract Gorge Residency: Days 8 – 14

Cataract Gorge Residency: Days 8 – 14

Mon Dec 7, 2009

23:00 – at desk

The sound of the old Post Office tower bell striking eleven times drifts across town and up the gorge. It makes me feel like I’m in some medieval village, safe and reassured within the village walls.

You can see the town hall with the help of my beautiful assistant, the red arrow, out the mouth of the gorge and across town. The good Lady Launceston tourist boat is doing a u-turn in the mid-ground.

view down south esk to Launceston. Lady Launceston in mid-ground.

Wed Dec 9, 2009

08:13 – On the Couch

It’s ‘peak quarter’ here in Launceston and it’s bumper to nothing as far as the eye can see.

09:56 – can’t remember where

Someone stole my favourite gorge bench (the one pictured in earlier entries). It was angle-ground into non-existence, under the cover of daylight I suspect while I had my back turned. Damn those council workers and their ‘civic upgrade’ management plans!

Thurs and Fri Dec 10 & 11, 2009

In search of lost time – Not sure what happened to this bit of existence. Must have fallen asleep.

Sat Dec 12, 2009

19:35 – at desk

Sitting on the balcony, I look to my left and am confronted with civilisation. To my right, prehistory stares back at me.

Sun Dec 13, 2009

12:40 – on balcony

Open Day at KBC today and I just managed to lock myself in the toilet for five minutes, leaving the rest of the house and my gear unattended.

There’s been a good number of pax through – 60-odd at this stage.


Just finished. Mostly locals visiting but with a few mainlanders, Taiwanese, Dutch and even a couple from far flung Reunion Island – off the coast of Africa near Madagascar. ‘Twas lovely to speak with a few locals who’d always wanted to see inside but who had never had the opportunity. That felt great.

18:17 – First Basin Lawn by the Swimming Pool.

Just had my first swim in the pool. Such a wonderful setting – even ‘glorious’ wouldn’t be an exaggeration. This is the most incredible setting for a public swimming pool I have ever seen. And it’s free.
First Basin from CafeFirst Basin and Alexandra Bridge

First Basin from Lookout above Alexandra BridgeFirst Basin Pool

20:33 – KBC Balcony

Voluminous clouds hang over Mt Barrow, bathed in soft pink-orange hues. Minutes later the soft pink-orange is replaced with a medium to light slate grey-blue.

Earlier at First Basin a seagull passed over the pool, its underside turning blue as it did so.

From the balcony again…to the left sprawls the civilised world, to the right prehistory. I often want to head right…and not return. Here at the cottage I, and it, sit on what I’ve come to call The Dividing Line. The cottage itself is surrounded on all sides, above and below, by nature: lush and dense vegetation; rocks, boulders and tors; and the river below.

The river and gorge has given me strength.


Darkness descends quickly now and the Gorge floodlights begin again to take over the job the sun previously did. Slowly, subtly and softly at first but soon a surreal glow will emanate from the rocks on the south face – aggressively, almost violently and with the power to leave one spellbound.

A plane flies overhead, heading south to the airport. The roar of its engines descends into the cavernous gorge of my ears before its arrow shape comes into view, dividing the dusk blue laid out before it. The roar could be natural but it is human.

Last night a party boat, adorned with fluorescent red beading split the waters up the gorge as drunken voices split the night air with screams of "We love the Gorge!" and "Woo Hoo!" The surreal visual and party atmosphere within this timeless gorge reminded me of the concert scene by the river in Apocalypse Now as helicopters dropped through the sky and dancing girls descended on ropes to the stage below which was lit by multi-coloured lightbulbs strung across the military outpost.

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