05 February 2007

Ghost Frogs

While researching the Ex-stream frog education programme for Gosford, I was told of rumours that on some evenings frogs could be heard calling in the vicinity of the old Town Wells in Kibble Park. Despite thorough searching, no animals have been found.

Town Well excavated in 1980

The following is from City Council information about the wells:

“Before reticulated water was installed in Gosford in 1938, two wells existed on the William Street footpath alignment, each approximately 1.5 metres square, located side by side and lined internally with hardwood planking.

These wells filled naturally from subterranean water.

In 1980 during the conversion of the Kibble Estate into Parkland, the town wells were rediscovered, then left in place and covered over with a concrete slab and bitumen paving.

Cosford City Council erected a plaque on a drinking fountain in William Street near to the old wells, and that plaque read as follows:

This drinking fountain was constructed to indicate the location
(under the footpath) of two wells side by side. They were used by
generations of local residents as a public watering place
and covered in the nineteen thirties
Here, on benches placed under a huge Camphor Laurel tree, the
wives and families would gather at the end of a days shopping in
the township, while the men brought back the buggies and gave
their horses a good drink before returning home, thus conserving
their valuable home water supply.

Again, in 2005, the wells were uncovered and then left in position, covered by a new concrete slab to replace the one that had been damaged."

Approximate area where frog sounds have been heard.

There is a theory that some frogs previously confined to designated reservations, have hitchhiked their way into the centre of Gosford and set up a “squat” in the old wells. It has been suggested that these frogs used knowledge acquired in the Ex-stream programme to access Council information in order to locate the wells and gain access.

It seems a shame that these symbols of shared community and the water/life cycle are buried under concrete. Perhaps we need a new “water fountain” sculpture as an icon for the New Gosford.

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