A Weekend at the Barattas
Friday night – headlights can be seen along the track,
Same cars and boats that left on Sunday, now coming back.
An hour or so south of Townsville, past Greenacres near Giru
Is the Jerona turnoff where hut owners chuck a left into.
Saturday morning – congestion as boats line up at the ramp
Eskies opened as it’s vital fishermen keep their throats damp.
Cast nets thrown, crab pots dropped, ‘Phew! What thirsty work,
Better have another round then see what fish are on the lurk.’
Saturday afternoon – happy hour at the ramp, fishing boats return,
Who caught what and where Baratta fishermen are keen to learn.
‘Jo was smashed up at the Five Ways, he was sure it was a barra.’
‘Pete landed a grunter at Tall Timbers but crabs all a little under.’
Saturday evening – sand flies bad, ‘Better light the smokey tin.’
‘I’ll get the barbie going soon as I finish my beer with Jim.’
In the backyard fire blazing, family and friends sit around,
‘No better way to spend a weekend.’ ‘Sure beats the life in town.’
Sunday morning – day dawning, outboard motors roar down the creek
Time to fish the run-in before the morning tide reaches peak.
‘Pass me a beer mate, pushing off that sandbar made me thirsty.’
Golden glow of sunrise becomes the reward for rising early.
Sunday afternoon – cars packed, kids’ bikes on the hood rack,
‘Catch up with you next week mate, I’ll bring over a six-pack.’
‘OK kids, time for home get this mud off the boat before it’s dark.
Next week we’ll give the front a go, where old Kev caught that shark.’
TSTmpj: The detail in this poem is captivating. Can you share a few thoughts on your own personal acquaintance and or knowledge of the Barattas?
Olive Oshyer: The Baratta River system with deep holes, overgrown timbers and snag-lined banks offers anglers excellent fishing and crabbing. About 1 km from the main Barrata River mouth is the fishing township of Jerona. To get to Jerona by road you would turn off the Bruce Highway onto Jerona Road, about 12 km south of Giru (64 km south of Townsville). After travelling 9 km along Jerona Road you find yourself in Bowling Green Bay national park which extends for 6 km until you reach the township. The national park encompasses a wetland that has gained international recognition as a significant habitat for waterfowl. There are at least thirty different species of birds that migrate to the park from various parts of the world in the winter months. My family is fortunate enough to own one of the hundred odd homes built on the banks of the Baratta River. Over the past thirty years we have spent many enjoyable weekends and short holidays with family and friends at our weekender. A great place to unwind and de-stress after a hard working week.
TSTmpj: Is all your poetry grounded in such distinctively Australian subject matter? What are a few of the other subjects you have chosen to write on?
Olive Oshyer: I wouldn’t say all my poetry is written on Australian subject matter, however I did grow up in Western Queensland and lived on a cattle property for a number of years. I am presently working on a book of narrative poems telling my life stories which I would like to gift to my grandchildren.
TSTmpj: What motivates you to write? Why do you write, and do you do it at a similar time of day each time?
Olive Oshyer: My motivation comes from the love of telling and recording stories along with the need to pen feelings and emotions. I lead quite a busy life and don’t always find time in a day for writing. Most of my writing gets done at the Barattas which is another reason why I love spending quiet time there.
Olive Oshyer is a retired accountant who enjoys writing and reading narrative poetry for pleasure.