Observing and Writing by Taking it Slowly: Three Kayak Journeys – Scott Bevan
May 30, 2021
Scott Bevan has enjoyed the unique experience of navigating the Hunter River, the Sydney Harbour, and Lake Macquarie in a kayak. The Hunter, a sketch of the river valley, was the first book in Scott’s trilogy based on these adventures. From the watershed of the Hunter River in Barrington Tops, Scott kayaked to Newcastle. Along the way he interacted with the people of Muswellbrook, Singleton and Maitland, hearing their stories of industry, history and culture.
Sydney is an iconic city. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House symbolise Australia’s unique character but obscure a wealth of unheard stories. Sydney, living and changing with the movement of people, accumulates stories like dust. To uncover Sydney’s secret, human history, Scott toured Sydney Harbour by kayak, yacht and barge. Divers, ship captains, artists and environmentalists all increased the diversity of Scott’s outlook on Sydney Harbour.
In 2020, Scott published his most recent book The Lake, a record of his navigation around Lake Macquarie. Paddling its waters in a kayak and examining its shores, he encountered scientists, shipwrights, Indigenous leaders and historians. Not just a record of the history of “a splendid sheet of water,” The Lake also touches on the dilemmas the City of Lake Macquarie needs to resolve in its future. Together, The Lake and The Hunter evoke the spirit of the Hunter Region, blending the history of the region’s characters with descriptions of its flora and fauna.
Could Scott Bevan be the most interesting man in New South Wales? If not, perhaps he’s met him.