Blue Gum Flat campground

After a gruelling five and a half hour drive, Ryk was relieved to have finally arrived at their destination. Kauri had been asleep for the most part of the trip so Ryk had been left to her own wandering thoughts accompanied with the patter of light rain colliding against the windscreen and the sound of country folk playing on the radio. "Darling, we are here. Wake up!" Kauri stirred in the passenger seat, slowly opening her eyes. “How long was I out for – Ah wow!” Kauri’s attention was quickly diverted to the campground before them. Smiling, they both stepped out of the vehicle and stretched, eyes darting back and forth at the sanctuary they both had desperately been anticipating.

Ryk and Kauri were long time, long-distance lovers. They had agreed to see each other every two months at the very least, however with Ryk losing her job and Kauri having the responsibility of caring for her two year old daughter back at home, they found it difficult to see each other as regularly since December.  Blue Gum Flat campground was the perfect destination for a romantic get-away. They both enjoyed the serenity and peace associated with camping far from the city. Ryk made it a priority to escape civilisation to be closer to the earth at least once every year. Blue Gum Flat campground showed much promise, offering a remote riverside campground with plenty of hiking trails, swimming and fishing opportunities, and the prospect to see native Australian marsupials and bird species.

‘It looks like it’s only us. We better set up camp before it gets any darker” urged Ryk. “It’s fortunate the rain has died down.” Ryk had received a bargain in purchasing her four man tent. The previous owners had sold her two accompanying stretchers along with the tent for almost a quarter of the retail price. Camp was set up quickly, just before dusk. Kauri prepared a simple stir fry dinner and urged Ryk to get some early rest given the long drive she had undertaken. Tomorrow would be an eventful day of hiking and bird watching.

The pair huddled close against each other to provide extra warmth against the chilling bush they inhabited. Ryk fell asleep with ease. At around three o’clock in the night, Ryk woke up abruptly. She peered next to her to see Kauri fast asleep. She felt a presence about the tent other than that of Kauri. A cold and heavy aura was felt above her. She had heard that spirits would often visit in the night - those lost souls who had left the earth in circumstances that were not just. Her grandmother had many a time recounted stories of her past experiences with spirits in her time, when Ryk was a teenager. Now thirty-four and her grandma long gone, she closed her eyes and prayed to her nanna asking for protection against all evil.

The next morning, Ryk awoke with the name Dianne in her mind. She refrained from mentioning any of what occurred the previous night to Kauri given how sensitive she was with situations provoking fear. After a filling and nutritious meal of sausage, egg and baked beans on English breakfast buns, the two set out for a bushwalk. Five hundred metres from their campground, they sighted the Clyde River which their campsite was banked up against. The sun reflected off the water against the backdrop of lush and tall trees. “Race you over the river!” Kauri ran off towards the river, where the depth of the river was lowest; water trickling past the pebbles that lay on the river bed.

Restricted access area’, read the sign, erected against a tree a short distance from the bank of the river bed. Ryk felt uneasy at the sight of this sign. “We didn’t come here for nothing. There is no other hiking trail. I’m sure it will be fine” proclaimed Kauri. After about a two hour walk, the pair arrived at an empty area of terrain where the trees had been cleared. This was very different landscape to what they had seen throughout the walk. Ryk walked around the area, allowing for a closer inspection of the site. The site looked as if it had been previously inhabited, but had been vacant for some time. Several setups where fire could be lit scattered the area. On one tree, a rope was tied, dangling down beckoning for someone to swing off of it into the river. On a nearby tree, a swing hung; the seat old and tattered. An eerie feeling rushed over Ryk. “C’mon. Let’s go back honey. This place gives me the creeps.” In agreement, Kauri turned her back against the site and they began the trek back to their tent.

The two got back just before six in the evening. “Kauri, I will explain to you when we are in the car, but we have to leave now.” “What? Why? We just got here!” proclaimed Kauri. “Like I said, I will explain on the way back.” From the look on Ryks face, Kauri felt no need to object any further. The two quickly packed away their belongings and began the long drive back to Sydney.

As promised, the trip home saw Kauri informed of what Ryk had experienced the first night at camp. On arriving home, Kauri fell into bed, exhausted and unaffected by the incident that Ryk had experienced. Tossing and turning with muddled and chattering thoughts, Ryk could not sleep that night. At two in the morning, Ryk decided to turn on her laptop to search up the history of Blue Gum Flat campground. Chills ran down her spine with the first article appearing in the search results illuminated by her computer screen. The 1958 article was titled:

‘Dianne Spektor. Young girl brutally raped and murdered by four loggers nearby Blue Gum village.’ 

The End

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