Billabongs were like that, places of calm and serenity. The place where you went to think through your problems, meditate and ponder the world around you.
In the autumn they took on a rare beauty, the surrounding trees changed colour, at least the introduced ones did, the natives soldiered on oblivious to the change of season.
Within the billabong, life teemed with creatures, most invisible and some very obvious, but you had to look closely to see them, and that in itself was fraught with danger.
These were the bunyips*, thought to be mythological beasts, but if you doubted their existence you only had to ask what happened to Barney Allsop. Plenty of locals would tell you the bunyip got him.
The trick was to stay away from the water, within six feet and you were fair game, beyond that safe, so it was said.
Today the local Church Youth Group are picnicking near the billabong. “Young and tasty,” thinks the bunyip eyeing off his potential dinner. “I’m sure they wouldn’t miss one,” he thinks edging closer.
- The bunyip is a large mythical creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes.