Writing the Ghost Child
I was not planning this trip back to my childhood. I have not yearned for nor wanted to return to the memory of those days. I left the Nulla Nulla Creek in 1951 as an eleven year old and I did not look back. When I did go back more than fifty years later and walked across that same ground - the paddocks, the banks of the Creek and the white ribbon of road that is Nulla Nulla Creek Road - the same spaces and places my parents and grandparents and great grandparents and I had once traversed I saw it differently of course. I saw it through layers of my own life and living, and the memories of that childhood had faded. As a consequence I have had to re-learn my own life history to write this memoir and I have had to research the history of the small dairy farming community that once thrived along the banks of this small tributary of the Upper Macleay River. My memory of childhood is blurred and uneven. But memory is like that, it pulls us into spaces and places that we remember, vaguely or well, and from that somehow we shape a version, our version of the past.