Twenty five kilometers west of the city is a suburb that once housed the military barracks. From the middle of the 1980’s, the barracks were knocked down and affordable housing was built for military personal and their families.
The local government then went to a lot of trouble to make the area beautiful. So they built a bush walk. This walks takes two hours to complete one way. It is located in a national forest.
The path goes though bushes and swamps and parkland. It is common to see a family of Kangaroos on this path. Many birds also live in the swamps.
One day I was walking on the path with my Korean friend Erica. I wanted to show her Kangaroos living in the wild. But Erica got tired of walking after about fifty minutes and said she doesn’t want to walk anymore so I decided to take a short cut home. We left the main path and walked up a hill. We needed a rest so we stopped at a clearing. We sat down on a leg. Then I realized it wasn’t a log, it was a stump from a house. We were sitting in the middle of the remains of a very old small house.
I looked around and I could see the remains of the house and even old and broken things from everyday life. There were even old cups and pots.
Even when we returned home, I couldn’t stop wondering about the old house in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to know who lived there.
I want to the local library and I began researching the area around the old house. I found a book written by an old lady that lived in the area. The book mentioned the man who lived in there. The man whose name was Mr. Sam Wattle built the house himself. He was a recluse. The house was built sometime in the late 1940’s. it is said the Mr. wattle suffered mental illness from his experiences as a soldier in Papua New Guinea in World War 2.
He spent his time after the war doing odd jobs in the area. He often worked in people’s gardens and also worked for a short amount of time on farms. It said that he told stories of being born and raised by a rich family in Sydney, but he wasn’t taken seriously as the stories often changed.
I feel sorry for the old man as life the middle of the bush in on small shack must have been lonely and his mental illness meant that he didn’t make friends.