Country Diary entry about recent
roadside tree clearing I bemoaned the loss of a stuffed
koala bear that had been gaffa taped to a high tree branch
on the Kings Highway between Queanbeyan and Bungendore. It
had been there for years, gradually becoming as weather
beaten and organic as it's surroundings. I've
about the graffiti and road signs that surge into our
attention as we flash past and then fade, or get cleaned away.
When you drive that road at least six days a week it
becomes its own entertainment. Weather conditions, fog,
frost, summer storms and seasonal changes all make the
twenty minutes between the two towns a continuing delight.
(We've been driving into Canberra for eight and a half years
and it's still the best part of my day. Or maybe coming home
Even with the jockeying for pole position coming up the
Bungendore Hill and all the cursing when a slow gravel truck
or an aging tray back ute with workman's tools, laying camouflage clouds of diesel
makes you... minutes late, you realise that for the drivers of
the hundreds of other cars and trucks, the daily each way
journey is probably
the same source of entertainment.
Then came the bears. Just a couple at first, wired to
branches high enough, and thin enough to think a
ladder was involved. Joh who works with me at the agency and
also lives in Bungendore, started to count. He reckoned on
at least a dozen based on a passenger's count (because it's a
busy section and you have to watch the road if driving). I stopped the
next day and took these pictures.
Yesterday, I noticed an red compact sedan
parked off the road edge near the main group of them. The
driver and passenger in the car were acting strangely (I
thought), not like there was a breakdown. A door opened and
closed as if waiting for us to pass, and in my rearview
mirror I then saw someone get out.
Today, I didn't see any of those bears.
Now that you have the basic details, perhaps you'd like to
offer a possible scenario? Was this a teddy bear's picnic
that is now over and they've all gone home? A whimsical
event set up for some child? Did someone take exception to
these nursery creatures wired to a branch finding them a
violation of childhood memories and remove them? Will they
(Oh, yes they'll appear again. There are twenty kilometers
of roadside myths and entertainment to perpetuate, and
there must be hundreds of cute furry animals discarded
each day from family homes. Like ours. As our children have grown and left
home they've hardly noticed their toys move from bedroom to
plastic garbage bag in the shed, and waiting a decent
interval, they will never notice the move to the tip.
Maybe I should get some wire, a ladder, perhaps a balaclava
mask and in the dark of one of these warm autumn evenings
test some of those theories. Would that be more like
In a touching tableau, certain to alarm 'the kiddies', a
pink snake threatens a blue bear. "Look out, he's coming to
get you!" "Oh no".