Monday, February 21, 2011
Aussie Icons #2 - Cooper's Creek
You couldn't swing a fishing line and sinker without hitting a major league 4WD, loaded to the gunwales with tinnie*, camping gear and several loaded eskies**. Most contained a group of three – ALWAYS three! - males, albeit in random combinations. Father + two sons. Father + son + son's best mate. Three best mates. Two brothers + one best mate. Two best mates + one son. Why? WHY??
Viewed from the air, Cooper's Creek, and the surrounding 'Channel Country' is a network of often dry channels flowing from Queensland's southwest corner into South Australia before reaching Lake Eyre, lowest point in Australia, and depending on weather conditions, its largest salt pan - or largest inland sea! And as shown during recent Australian floods, riverbanks are neither here nor there to a breaking drought.
While map naming conventions have changed the name to 'Cooper Creek' – that's just plain wrong! When he discovered it in a dry year, misguided explorer Charles Sturt named it 'Cooper's' after Charles Cooper (then SA Chief Justice) and 'Creek' because he didn't think anything that small was actually a river!
SO have a bet each way and call it 'the Cooper'!! But miss this iconic Aussie landmark, and miss what makes Australia unique!!
*Tinnie = Australian coloquialism for a metal boat (ie 'tin can' derivative)
** Esky = portable cold storage unit used as an outdoor fridge (most commonly to keep drinks cold)