Legacy Way (Western) Opening



A people of a possum in a land of leeches

Cast an image with their concrete and cranes

The etched gullies retained some devotional features

To give it life, they bled cars and trains.

I have an urgency to fill you with meaning.


The Legacy Way will drain and replenish a catchment of vehicles – a tidal catchment.

Terrain is losing its meaning. Well before Yeats’ generic river, which he thought of as a ‘strong brown God’, was ‘solved’ and almost forgotten, gullies and creeks were ‘solved’, and almost forgotten.

Indooroopilly and the Cubberla Creek catchment form the fore-shore beneath the tides of Legacy Way – a gully and a creek described by faint and distorted echoes of ancient voices, supposedly referring to leeches and possums.

I am increasingly uneasy with references to ‘Aboriginal’ words. This idea perpetuates the corralling of hundreds of distinct Nations into a single group, which has no specific or distinctive identity.

I am so thrilled to see the work of Jeanie Bell and Amanda Seed presented in the ‘Dictionary of GUBBI-GUBBI and BUTCHULLA Languages.’ They not only offer possums names in these two languages, they distinguish between possums. Why would we expect anything less?  (This question is worth trying to answer.)

Thankfully, one of the words put forward (gabala) looks a bit like Cubberla and Cabarla, which are often rendered as ‘Aboriginal’ references to possums in the lands of the neighbours of the people who speak and spoke Gubbi-Gubbi and Butchulla languages. My known world was not entirely shattered. However, my view of it changed, as if I am viewing it through a kaleidoscope. It is intriguing, riveting, confusing and about to change again, unpredictably.

The possum skin wheels fed the thirsty terrain

Around the brand new road to the brand new train

Some where between the lizard localities

The creek disappeared down the drain

I have an urgency to fill you with meaning.


2 thoughts on “Legacy Way (Western) Opening

  1. “Capalaba is a word of Aboriginal derivation probably from ‘kapella’, a word of the local Aboriginal dialect for either the ‘ringtail possum’ or the ‘scrub possum’, with the suffix ‘ba’, that refers to ‘place’. (from ‘Naming Brisbane’ by Beryl Roberts p, 23)


  2. From Yeats
    Four Quartets

    I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
    Is a strong brown god

    sullen, untamed and intractable,
    Patient to some degree, at first recognized as a frontier;
    Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
    Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
    The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
    By the dwellers in cities

    ever, however, implacable.
    Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
    Of what men choose to forget. Unhonored, unpropitiated
    By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.


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