Friday, September 30, 2011

Mulberries, yellowbellies and yabbies: school holidays Mitchell outback Queensland

On my walk with Major this evening, I met up with a group of four young boys 'mucking around' on the banks of the Maranoa River. It's the school holidays in Mitchell, outback Queensland.

Their wide smiles and purple lips and fingers told me that the mulberry tree growing by the river was now laden with clusters of ripe black fruit hidden amongst the large heart-shaped leaves.

But it wasn't only mulberries they were feasting on. They'd caught six yellowbellies. Fishing from the footbridge they'd used worms as bait, and in addition, had yabby traps ready to be pulled.

Dressed in T-shirts, shorts and bare feet, these kids were enjoying the river and the school holidays to the full. Bikes and helmets flung carelessly on the riverbank showed their mode of transport.

How wonderful to live in a place where children can play safely -- independent of adults -- while learning resilience, hunter gatherer skills and mateship with friends.

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