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I recently visited a small corner of southeast Queensland’s Main Range National Park, referred to as Queen Mary Falls.
Descending from the lookout above the falls into the gorge below, then gradually returning to the top, is a moderate 40-minute walking circuit. Starting through ridgeline eucalyptus forest, the trail drops into lush, temperate rainforest – one of Australia’s ancient Gondwana ecosystems (a World Heritage listing).
The small mountain stream, known as Spring Creek, approaches the cliff’s edge before cascading 40 meters (130 feet) to the canyon floor. At its halfway point, the trail crosses a sturdy concrete bridge beneath the falls which often casts a cooling mist over the pathway.
Within the rainforest, you may encounter gweela, or bush turkey, as well as wallaby, koala, and possums if you’re quiet. There are also various lizards, including numerous bearded dragons along the waterways. Among the ridgeline eucalyptus, you will see rosellas, king parrots, magpies, currawongs, and kookaburras, to name a few. The exquisite satin bower birds are in the area as well. And, in October and November, at dusk, and throughout the night, the rainforest is adorned by fireflies and glowworms.
There is little recorded about the relationship that local Aboriginals had with the falls and the general area. I would like to see Queen Mary Falls, along with nearby Daggs Falls and Browns Falls, be renamed. I think they should have Githabul Aboriginal language names instead of colonial ones, or at least something approximating the native names. There is no reason to have places in Australia carrying names from England or Europe. Widespread renaming will enhance Australia’s unique character, making it more distinctive.
As I strolled through the park, I quickly eased into a contemplative state of awareness of listening, seeing, and feeling, connecting with the forest and the area’s energies. I go to such places these days to drop out from the regular world of mind and thinking, and into a perceptual existence. Visiting these places is always a sacred occasion for me, rather than merely recreational. In this way, I hope to honor the country for its living gifts of contemplation and natural, timeless presence.