Cooks River, Wolli Creek and Botany Bay
18 March 2022
By MURRAY WALDRON
RuffTrack is an organisation that takes teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds and gives them an alternative path, through teaching them farming skills—including training kelpie dogs to show dog level. Four members from the Club took eight youths and their leader from the RuffTrack Organisation out for a canoe trip on our local rivers.
After an introduction covering the basics of handling a canoe by Rob Walker, we paired up and jumped into the canoes, starting with a paddle up Wolli Creek to the weir. As the water level was high, we were able to lift the canoes over the weir and continue upstream to the railway lines. Unlike the area below the weir—which was scenic—above the weir the river is disappointingly littered with rubbish, which was sad to see.
Returning to the Clubhouse, lunch was laid out by Natalie. This was delicious Turkish food including meats, falafel, salads, dip and breads. This was a hit with the group, with many coming back for seconds.
One of the areas RuffTrack wanted to paddle to was Botany Bay. This was going to be a challenging paddle. The tide was going out, with a strong current. We set off in the canoes and made it out to the bay. After a rest, we headed back. On the way, we saw an eagle sitting on a pole eating a fish nearly the same size as itself. Toward the end of the paddle, some made a race of it, and put a price for the first canoe back. Two boats were in the race, including one with Rob. He swapped out his buddy, who went on racing, achieving a very close second. We had covered 16 kilometres during the day.
Back at the Club, everyone helped wash and pack away the gear. Nat surprised everyone with homemade chocolate cake and brownies. These were well received. As part of the Youth Program, Dave gets each of his group to rate their day: all gave it an eight or higher.
This was the first time a club like ours had taken the guys from RuffTrack on a day out. For many of their group, it was the first time they had been in a canoe. They really enjoyed the day and we hope they got a lot out of it. I’m sure this won’t be the last time we do this with RuffTrack or a similar group.
This was the first trip organised by Nat and myself. This was a challenging trip to organise, but we got there in the end. We would like to thank Rob Walker and Darby Carr for their help on the day, and Simon Wilkes for his help with the paperwork. It is a strength of this Club that members are willing to help when we first put our crazy idea out there.