Thursday, March 26, 2009

Room with a view

On certain occasions, in unexpected situations, Google's street-view gadget (mentioned in my previous post) is capable of rising to photographic greatness. Admire, for instance, this splendid image:

For Google, it's an unorthodox "street": the motor vehicle roadway on the upper level of the famous old steel bridge over the Clarence River at Grafton. When I was a kid, I surely rode my bike a thousand times past this quaint little room with a great view out over the Big River... as it was called when first discovered (by an escaped convict). The photo shows us the rusty toothed wheels and giant beam that used to raise a central span of the double-decker bridge (for trains as well as vehicles), enabling ships to get through. And the little room in the sky housed the electric switches to set the mechanism in action.

Children often dream of spending leisure time in a tiny house built up in the branches of a big tree. As I look nostalgically at this little control room (which has lost its electro-mechanical soul, for the span has long been condemned to immobility), I realize that I no doubt dreamt, once upon a time, of opening its door—stealthily, in the early hours of the morning, when the sun was coming up over the Pacific Ocean, and transforming the Clarence into a vast silver lake—and stepping into this tiny mysterious attic, like a cell in the tower of a medieval castle. I'm sure it would have been a remote and exciting place, far removed from urban neighbors, in which to meditate upon existence. For a child, it would have been a good address. For Google Maps, this little room with a view is located, so it says, in Craig Street.

1 comment:

  1. I love all of the North Coast of NSW and the area around Grafton in particular. The drive along the river going north is one of my favourites. I remember on my first car trips to Queensland ( early 1960s) we had to get a ferry across the river at Chatsworth Island(and maybe somewhere else - can't remember. Nice memories. (Of course in some places the Pacific 'Highway' is much the same now as it was then.