Edge Walk

(based on a walk led by Meredith McKinney - Two Fires Festival – Braidwood 21 March 2005)

between Budawangs and Little River
scratchy soil on dry eastern rocky ridge
where hip-high she-oaks(1) hide the way
and rare boronias(2) bloom
we gather to walk with Meredith

she came here thirty years ago
the moving image of her words
confronts our current view
no major fires have ravaged
early wet years then continual dry

the scars left are from man and mining
mercury poison dissipates
growth claims back vacant diggings
old shafts provide shelter for ferns
and EDGE(3) itself designed to fit this framework

we walk down from the ridge
ancient rock speaks from the slope
unknown meaning except perhaps old Nellie(4)
last of her tribe to walk this land
who feasted on mussels from the river

we stop where the family once camped
to join the bush, swim in the rock pools
and sensitive to the tent print left behind -
today the water is out of sight
but cupping hand to ear there is a chatter

Meredith reads the poem River Bend(5)
wattle caught in autumn sun
white eucalypt stands by Black Sallee(6)
then we pause, turn, walk back up the ridge
while the azure kingfisher darts upstream


1 casuarina nana 2 boronia rhomboidea
3 EDGE dwelling designed to mirror mining structure
4 Nellie last of the ‘Braidwood Tribes’ part of the Yuin people
5 River Bend – Judith Wright poem
6 eucalyptus stellulata - distinctive brown trunk

Richard Scutter 21 April 2005

Comments ...

Meredith McKinney is the daughter of well known Australian poet Judith Wright. She took us on one of her mother's favourite walks from the valley crest to the river. She read some of her mother's poems including 'River Bend'.

Edge was the property of Judith Wright and is currently used by the ACT Writers Centre. It is on the Mongarlowe road a few kilometres from Braidwood NSW and lies between Little River and the Budawang Range. Briadwood has since been declared a heritage village.

The following images were taken at the time of the walk ...


(Right) Meredith McKinney reading Judith Wright at the family campsite.

The top of the ridge, start of the walk

Little River from the Mongarlowe road


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