Dalton gazed into the deep pool of the Boodicuttup Creek. Tree branches cast shadows over the water’s surface. Their
growth so dense, the sunlight only shone on the pool during the middle of the day.
the Cormorant,” Shane’s friend, Mitch Darcy, said.
Shane sat with
his friend, Mitch Darcy, on the outcrop of rock on the ridge.
the Cormorant.” Mitch pointed to where the cormorant had emerged from an overhang of low bush forming a hidey-hole at
the edge of the water.
cormorant glided across the pool to the road crossing a few metres away and clambered across the rocks. It sat on the side
of the road, basking in the afternoon sunshine.
A tall, gangly
boy of thirteen, Shane peered through the binoculars he had sneaked from the top of the kitchen cupboard at the cormorant.
the Cormorant doing?” Mitch pushed his dark, curly hair back from his forehead.
It's just sitting there.” Shane put the binoculars on his knee.
me have a look.” Mitch held his hand out for the binoculars.
them to him.
through them. “Gee! It looks like one of those vultures you see on T.V.”
because it's black, but it doesn't have a hooked beak like a vulture.”
someone coming down the hill on a bike.” Mitch followed the rider with the binoculars. She dipped down the rise, then
vanished out of sight before coming into view again. “It's Leanna Browning,” he said.
she doing here?” Shane said.
followed Leanna's progress. “She's stopped. She's leant her bike against a tree. She's creeping towards the Cormorant.”
He stood to get a better view.
sudden movement startled the bird. It dived into the pool and paddled downstream to vanish among a patch of thick bush growing
along the bank.
across the creek and stopped at the side of the road below Shane and Mitch. She looked neat, dressed in jeans and a blue,
checked blouse. Her fair hair was tied back in a ponytail by a matching ribbon.
how untidy he was in his grubby tee shirt and shorts.
the rip in the back of his shorts he had caught on a twig and sat down hurriedly on a slab of rock.
frightened the Cormorant.” Leanna’s voice sounded accusing.
sheepish. “It'll be back.”
long have you known about the Cormorant living here?” Leanna asked.
it ten days ago,” Shane said.
and I saw it two weeks ago.”
Shane and Mitch
glanced at each other. They had thought of the cormorant as belonging to them and were shocked to discover Leanna had known
about it before they did.
you seen it fly?” Leanna asked.
Shane and Mitch said together.
either. Dad thinks it’s hurt. That’s why it’s living here by itself. It's a Great Cormorant. I read about
it in the bird book that I borrowed from the school library. Its other names are Black Cormorant and Black Shag.”
Shane and Mitch
stared in dislike at Leanna. Neither of them had thought to look in the library at school to discover more about cormorants.
and I are going to search for the Cormorant's nesting place,” Leanna said.
Shane and Mitch
knew where there was an old cormorant-nesting colony, but they weren't going to tell Leanna. Her father was the police sergeant.
Sergeant Browning had blasted them last week when they rode two abreast down the main street without their hands on the handlebars
of their bikes.
In the distance
came a cloud of moving dust and with it the rumbling of a truck.
better get off the road if you don't want to get flattened,” Shane told Leanna.
her bike onto the road verge. The truck flew past, enveloping her in dust.
Shane and Mitch
waited in anticipation for the dust to settle. When it had, they were disappointed Leanna wasn't as dusty looking as they
Jem Gasper's truck and bulldozer,” Mitch said when the truck stopped halfway up the hill. “He's turned into Charlie
drove across the small paddock and parked by the creek. He climbed out of the truck and started the bulldozer, then drove
it off the low loader.
he doing with his bulldozer in old Charlie Buckle's paddock?” Shane said.
a face at Shane. “Perhaps old Charlie Buckle will use it to run over us the next time he catches us stealing his mushrooms.”
“I thought he was going to string us up by the heels when he caught us in his paddock last year.”
do that too, but he’ll flatten us first. We'll look like pieces of cardboard. He'll string us up under the mungji over
there.” Mitch pointed across the road to a Christmas tree. “We'll blow in the wind. Backwards, forwards, backwards,
forwards.” He rocked in motion. “We'll terrify everyone who travels the road of a night.” He let out a ghostly
There's a racehorse goanna behind you.” Leanna pointed to the rock above the two boys.
Shane and Mitch
turned to see a monitor lizard, nearly a metre long, perched on the outcrop of rock behind them. Mottled grey with flecks
of yellow, it looked carved from stone.
It's a big one,” Mitch said.
hate that to run up me in mistake for a tree,” Shane said.
I,” Mitch agreed.
goanna stared at them, then with a swish of its tail, it turned and vanished behind the rock.
her bike onto the road. “I'm off home. It’s getting late.”
and Shane picked up their bikes and rode behind her in single file on the gravel road.
going call in on Uncle Rolly,” Mitch said to Shane as they neared the town. “Do you want to come?”
see you at school tomorrow,” Mitch and Shane called to Leanna as they reached the turn off to Mitch's Great Uncle Rolly's
kids save a small part of their world,
December 25, 2008
Battle for Boodicuttup Creek is the story of two young teenage boys and a girl fighting against the damming of a creek which
serves as a wildlife habitat. They are up against the power of money, the force of the bullies and the slow grinding mills
of administration. But they are not easily discouraged. They create awareness in the community collecting signatures for a
petition, but won't be able to stop the men in time. They have to act quickly before the waterbirds' home is destroyed for
good. So they set out at night and call on the spirit of the Great Goanna to help them.
The story shows that everyone
is responsible for what's going on around them and everyone can make an impact for worse of better. Set in Australia the story
offers an exotic world of fascinating wildlife but Boodicuttup Creek is really everywhere and it's our responsibility to protect
it, whereever it still exists.