The Fragment Between


   The landscape design of Nature has been examined on undulatingland, but the design and the shapes and the forms of the land are there in the 'flat'country. The shapes and forms may not always be identified by the naked eye, yetthe marking in of contours on the land with the aid of a levelling instrument andmany pegs, will clearly disclose them.

   Then there is the primordial landscape with its vistas of mountaincrags and caps and panoramas of cliffs and chasms where the hard geological structuresbelow appear to have thrust through the landscape. There may be only a thin soilhere and there which supports a few patches of scrub or scattered trees among therocks, Even in this harsh angular land there will be the water-divide lines of themain ridges and the drainage lines of the water courses, all twisted and bizarre.With the rocky foundations of the primary valleys and primary ridges, there willbe the rough land forms of saddle, hill and pond.

   The wind has intervened in the battle of water and the land.The signs of its victories are the hill forms in valleys which have created manysaddle forms and pond forms which may not hold water. Where the structures beloware previous and on the strips of dunelands, Nature's drainage lines have been obliterated,But where water has made good its retreat to the sea to attack again in rain andhas re-established the drainage lines, the wind and the water have fashioned landscapesof sparkling variety. There are occasional flood plains where deeply flowing waterhas fashioned landscapes like those of the dunelands--of many hill, saddle and pondforms.

   THERE ARE FRAGMENTS IN THE LANDSCAPE. They have great importancebut are not always of the three shapes of the land. These fragments are land whichis covered with water some of the time. Firstly, there are the areas between thetides. This is land at low tide and water at high tide. Secondly, there are the floodplains of streams and rivers. This is land for most of the time and becomes wateronce each year over many parts of the world. In Australia it is different: the weatherpatterns do not produce the regular annual floodings. On the other hand the floodplain of the Hawkesbury River, near Sydney in New South Wales, was covered by watersix times in five weeks in 1951.

   This land-water or water-land should be kept inviolate fromwrongful intrusions. Towns and buildings or stock care centres should not intrude.Towns were moved off this particular flood plain by Governor Macquarie in 1810. Theyare known today as the Macquarie towns--Richmond, Windsor, Wilberforce, Pitt-townand Castlereagh.

   These fragments are the thickening of the vital contact linesof water and the land. They are, as it were, adored and courted by each of the antagonistsin the battle of water and land. It is always the front line, the fragment between,the piece in the middle--but it must not be a no-man's land. It should be cherishedand kept for the landscape.

   Through all history man has battled man and illogically foughtwith Nature over these vital water lines. Now mankind at last should appreciate thatthe contact line of water and land has become his battle line of survival.

   Yet in all the special purpose landscapes of man, the movementof the water off the land has been speeded up instead of being controlled and sloweddown. Water moves faster off the farms than it did from the former natural landscapes,while the farms carry more animals that provide waste products which are washed tothe streams and pollute them. Rainfall run-off water rushes from the roofed and pavedareas of the city and waste water is lost quickly without reuse.

   Polluted water should not be allowed to cross these vital linesto destroy the sanctity of the common waters of the land and to upset the great balancingmedium of earthly life--the seas.

   In the design for the environment submitted in following chapters,the water which finally moves off the land surface flows first through the stripforests of the farm and grazing lands; and from the towns and cities, through theCity Forests--where the water is cleansed and reconstituted.

   When the nations of the world agree--as they must do--to protectthe vital line of land's contact with water the battle of pollution will be quicklywon and there will soon emerge landscapes of unparallel efficiency and beauty.