I am Boorloo

Hi everyone I am Boorloo and some call me Perth.

Are you ever puzzled about your life? I mean where you are headed? I am! I have always been a very special place because I am on the banks of the Derbal Yarragan although now most people call that the Swan River. Do you ever get muddled about your name? Do you have different names sometimes, like a nickname? I think I like Derbal Yarragan best. It seems to capture my spirit better, you know when the wind blows and I am rough and then when there is no wind, the sun just rising and I am glassy smooth. There is a richness about Derbal Yarragan, like I want to discover more.

What I Booraloo have always loved are the groups of people who walk around me and find places to camp under my trees, and the fresh water out of my sand hills. I love it when Dolphin swims by and when I can see all the crabs in Derbal Yarragans waters, tucker for my people. Did you know I have a great hill place, a special place to look out over my waters? I call my very highest bit Mooro Katta and some now call it Mt. Eliza.

But that’s not what I wanted to tell you about. Just in the last little while I have been growing. Not long ago I knew all my people because they came every year. I loved it when there were new babies and sometimes I was sad when someone did not come back. I really loved it when some of my old friends stayed the whole cold time because they could not walk far now. I still had good food for them and sometimes my Dolphin brought them beautiful fish and threw them onto the bank. Well one day, and it seems like yesterday, a strange river creature came with men in it. And they got out and explored and got excited. They seemed to love all my ducks and black swans which they ate. I could see my beautiful friends were a bit worried.

But I cannot tell you about all that now. What amazes me is that now I am very tall and I can see for ages. Lots of big tall things full of shining in the sunrise and sunset have sprung up real quick. And there are so many people and new ones all the time so that I don’t seem to know them any more; specially the ones in the buildings all the time because they are hard to see. I do have some great friends though and they walk around my river and plant rushes and trees; those are the ones that seem to love me most. And what I love is when I hear some old words. I have learnt to love all the new words. So now I am very tall and shiny and there are lots and lots of people. It seems like only a twinkle of my eye in time, and I keep getting taller.

I do wonder though, because the people before would talk to me and thank me for the food I have been growing for them all year. For a while I was really pleased with all the little gardens along the banks of Derbal Yarrragan just over the river, even cows for milk for my people but they are all gone now and I have not much food to give. The people seem to have lots and lots of food though so I wonder where it comes from. Now I am happy to give them beautiful places for their tall things and places for their cars to speed along in. Do ever think it would be better if things stayed just as they have always been? Well I know that things always change and that I have adapted and I am in love with who I am right now. Did you know that not really all that long ago I was just a meeting place along the narrow winding river and then the sea came in and I now have a beautiful wide watery river. Isn’t a bit wondrous to not know what is around the corner? I have got lots of corners now!

Now do you know what I love? I love it when people love me. Not long ago I loved my trees and rushes, and fresh waters and people singing as the moon shone. Now I love my bright lights and the hum of people wandering and rushing. I do not like all those fireworks, though it is a bit exciting. I get a shock when they start each year and so do my bird friends, specially my night herons. I would love it if people could be a bit less in a hurry and come and sit by my river and sit at Kings Park and just be with me. Feel me as a place, feel my vibrancy and energy, my moods with the seasons. I am really quite extraordinary and I am absolutely loving the journey.

Are you in love with your journey?

I am bright and clean, lots of good food to eat and a great place to stay in summer and in all my six seasons. If you must know I have always, for as long as I can remember, been a place for wonderful people.

 Rodney Safstrom February 2012

This story was inspired one very hot night in South Perth, looking across Perth waters to the city lights, the hum of cars and calls of Corellas in the night.