Stepping into the Cooks River, poem
in Guide to Sydney Rivers, Edited by Susan Adams and Les Wicks, Meuse Press, 2015
“We walked to Cooks River, which empties itself into Botany Bay, and fell in with a party of Blacks, who were fishing.” James Backhouse, 1843.
A community of giants, turpentine and ironbark grew
on this ridge of Wianamatta Shale overlooking paperbarks
damping the tides charging Cook’s River. Now metal sheeting
steels its sides and rubbish accumulates from a belt of light
industrial folded between acres and acres of housing.
The waters have been polluted for more than a century.
“I have fished with small lures, soft and hard, up the Cooks River and have found it productive for bream and flathead. I have caught some very large flathead up there that have been missing some fins so I let go all fish caught there and I recommend you do, too.” Gary Brown, 2004