This image is a good metaphor for how some people feel about the Sunshine Coast’s infamous Murdering Creek. A foreboding road sign which attempts to direct the driver towards a place that they’d rather forget: a blight on the beaches, the surfboards and the summer holidays. Or is it? What’s in a name?
“….there are some dreadful place names around. The worst named street in Australia would have to be Murdering Creek Road at Coolum in Qld – it has great historical significance but still, the name is quite imposing. I take my dogs there when we take holidays – every time I turn into the road it makes my stomach turn,” she says.
Source: ‘Your Investment Property’ by Kevin Eddy
Contrary to this opinion, Murdering Creek and Lake Weyba are two of my favourite parts of the Sunshine Coast, if not Australia. I’m not a spiritual bloke, but this area has had an amazing effect on me and has given me a strong sense of ‘place’ – a sensation that I’ve not felt before. When I say ‘place’ I’m not talking real estate; it’s far deeper than that as the land is not mine to own, nor yours.
The Gubbi Gubbi mob are the traditional custodians of this beautiful piece of country and amongst the bone-like trees which jut from the banks like a broken ribcage, it’s a place for reflection.
The mouth of Murdering Creek. On this spot in around 1864, seven local cattlemen and a policeman lay in ambush amongst the trees and grass that fringe the mouth of the creek. One of the party waded into Lake Weyba to act as a decoy, luring the inquisitive men of the Gubbi Gubbi to paddle over in canoes to investigate. Once within range, the party unleashed a barrage of fire from their rifles. How many Gubbi Gubbi were killed is unclear, like many other pieces in this dark episode (read more).
On the distant shores of Lake Weyba, Cooroy Mountain sits proudly on the horizon, informally framed by silhouetted trees.
Skinny trees, standing like proud warriors, grasp for the last rays of sunshine.
Soulful Strumming. I met this young fella, Matthew, sitting on the edge of Lake Weyba at Murdering Creek at sunset, miles away from anyone. Strumming his guitar quietly Matthew told me that he likes to play for the spirits and gets a good vibe from them. “I think they like my music”, he said with a grin.
How about we don’t change the names of these places to improve property values or to make them more ‘palatable’? Murdering Creek is an imposing name and it must remain so. What if we simply adjust our perception about what the name of this place means, and allow it to teach us an important and painful lesson from the past. By doing so, we open ourselves to the healing process, much like that of the resilient scarred trees found in this area which continue to grow and thrive.