Growing up in Gladstone made us pretty resourceful, e.g.: if you couldn’t afford to go to the pool, you simply pedalled to the nearest sewerage treatment plant and swam in the creek it fed into; preferably upstream.
Popular swimming spots were Police, Auckland and Briffney Creeks, Tondoon Lake and the duck ponds. But the best swimming hole in town was Steiners’, located in New Auckland next to the golf course.
It was miles from the nearest sewerage outlet and had a Tarzan rope! On the downside, it did have snakes, eels, flying golf balls and the local ‘element’.
But the best swimming hole in town was Steiners’, located in New Auckland next to the golf course.
You simply ducked under water to avoid swimming snakes, but one memorable afternoon an eel slid up my leg and I left the water so fast that I was bone dry when I landed on the far bank.
Golf balls rarely hit us, and returning them was often rewarded with a few cents from grateful golfers. Sadly, some louts took to harvesting balls off the fairway and demanding exorbitant ransoms for their return.
This was typical of the ‘element’ who also started fires, broke bottles or nicked your clothes and bike while you frolicked in the water. Fortunately I wasn’t a fan of skinny dipping, so I never had to make the long scuttle home in an embarrassing half crouch.
Last weekend I hacked my way down to Steiners’ waterhole and noted it hasn’t been used in ages. Obviously modern Gladstone kids are a lot more resourceful, or smarter, than we were.