Last Sunday 15 of us enjoyed a lovely paddle from Hacks Ferry.
With the Torrens Anabranch blocked by fallen timber, our paddle took us up the Maria River & back via the Maria Anabranch which runs between Torrens & Fenton Islands. Five of us enjoyed a pleasant deviation into Cooperabung Creek which is a little gem…very picturesque with beautiful tall trees towering over the relatively narrow creek. We were treated with a beautiful bracket of pencil orchids hanging down just before the railway bridge.
This part of the Maria River is winding & meditative, flanked by tall timber & apart from us, no boats to be seen. We rejoined the remainder of the group at ‘hillbilly corner’ for the return paddle down the Maria Anabranch which was also beautiful paddling. We were also fortunate to spot two majestic white bellied sea eagles along the way & several azure kingfishers, always a spectacular sight.
A bit of history:
Abraham Fenton arrived in NSW with the 48th regiment in 1818 on the convict ship MINERVA. He was employed as assistant surgeon under the command of Captain Francis Allman. In 1820 he was appointed assistant surgeon at the penal settlement at Newcastle. While there, Fenton treated the dying indigenous chief Burragong ( alias King Jack ) who had been stabbed by a prisoner. Fenton treated him with great care in his own quarters until Burragong requested to return to his own people. Not long after, Burragong died & a John Kirby was found guilty of wilful murder.
Fenton stayed in Port Macquarie until about 1824 & died at Trichinopoly ( India, to the best of my knowledge ) on 20 May 1825. He attributed his own poor health, & that of the military personnel in the settlement to a lack of fresh provisions. Fenton Island & Fenton Passage ( Maria Anabranch ) are named after him.
The main paddle was 10.6 kms. Those of us who ventured up Cooperabung Creek did an extra 4kms approx. while Bill, who paddled up from Riverside & met us at Hacks did 15 kms.
After the paddle we enjoyed lunch in the sunshine at Hacks Ferry Reserve at Telegraph Point.
Thank you to Catherine for making her Elliott 480 kayak available for new & potential members to try out & to everyone who assisted people in & out of their kayaks on what was a slippery ramp.
Thanks Greg for organising the paddle.