As a rule, dog owners – myself included – have a notoriously cavalier disregard for externally imposed rules. Throughout the Park, there are “Responsible Dog Use” signs that stipulate when and where dogs must be “leaded” but, if these are ever observed, then it’s just a happy by-product of whatever the individual owners deem appropriate for their beloved canine companions. Inevitably, it’s meant that these companions roam free throughout much of the Park, even in those sensitive pond edge areas where enraged black cob swans form the sole bulwark against serious doggy damage.
There is, however, one area where no owner in their right mind would allow their dog to roam free – Elephant Wood.
This heavily wooded area in the southwest of the Park has been fenced off ever since the incident that gave it its name, but the high razor-wire topped barrier that’s meant to keep people and animals out is riddled with large archway-shaped holes rimmed by molten chain-link metal. Considering the strange nature of these breaches, its always tempting to investigate them, but no one who has ventured through into the forest beyond has ever returned.
So far five people have done this. Two of them were part of a well-publicised “rescue mission”; the others were unfortunate members of the public who wandered where they shouldn’t. We know exactly how many there are from the number of voices that can be heard screaming from the depths of the woods. In addition to the five identified voices, there is another that requires no identification – the high, keening cry of a child whose wails are accompanied by the sound of something large and slow grinding against rocks and tree trunks…Continue reading "Elephant Wood"
Snoozer Harraway Memorial Stand
Like any municipal department with uncertain revenue streams, the Park Authority has always been on the lookout for new and unusual ways of spinning a buck from its assets, and in the last couple of years, its eyes have turned westward to the most profitable urban green-space redevelopment of all time – Pliocene Park in Homebush, the home of Sydney’s only un-extinct mammoths.
Unfortunately for the Authority, they have had neither the funds nor the corporate backers to make an extinct mammal cloning program a reality, so they have been forced to improvise. This has lead to two very tragic disasters – the first resulting in the death of a family pet and a costly law suit; the second resulting in something much worse…
The Glade Of The Beloved
Unlike the many other features of the park, there are no maps or signs directing casual visitors to the Glade Of The Beloved. If they were to go looking for it, they probably wouldn’t find it either. If they were lucky, they might stumble upon its high perimeter fence, but this would look no different to the high perimeter fence that surrounds the rest of the park, so they would no doubt pass it by without even pausing.
The only reason I know about it, is because of my recently-departed neighbour Edith.Continue reading "The Glade Of The Beloved"
The Squid Ponds
In the year since they were first sighted in the fresh waters of Warragamba Dam, barely a week has gone by without some story of the squids’ encroachment on the city’s water supply. Invariably, it takes place in the home of an ordinary rate-paying citizen who awakes one day to find crypto-cephalopods clogging drains, nesting in rainwater tanks, or fouling toilet cisterns with their ink. Or so they say. In truth, these anxious accounts rarely survive serious scrutiny.
There is however one very important exception to this cavalcade of fabrications – a colony of freshwater squid that lives in a pair of lakes in the city’s largest park. Unlike their dubious housebound cousins, they have been documented by reliable sources and have been seen in the flesh by countless visitors. In the process they have become one of the more disturbing tourist attractions in a city that already prides itself on the unseemly and macabre.Continue reading "The Squid Ponds"