Seaside dreams and universities

I dreamt last night of visiting a seaside township and wandering around. In my dream the township was called Kurnell,though it was nothing like the peninsula Sydney suburb of that name. It did have waterworks, rusted pipelines, harking back to the controversial and cancelled desalination project to be located at Kurnell.

The real Kurnell is a collection of beachside houses overlooking Botany Bay, a national park, an oil refinery and a pharamceutical factory, now closed I think. In my dream it was far more extensive, multistorey office blocks on a main street, a railway line from Sutherland and Cronulla, parks and a campus of Deakin university.

Yet it all looked rather run down in the yellow late afternoon light of my dream. Only the university gave it life. I felt a longing to go to the university, to experience once more the joy of study. It was an urge that filtered in from my waking thoughts.

That image of a decrepit seaside township with a centre for science or learning and a railway track features often in my thoughts and dreams, though I don’t know where one exists. There’s Queenscliff in Victoria with its historic steam train rides to nowhere, Warnambool, connected to Melbourne by passenger train and actually hosting a campus of Deakin University, though it is a city, not a town.

I dreamed of Keppel Sands as something more than the tiny one pub, one shop township at the end of the tarred road near my parents’ house in Queensland. There was never any plan for a railway track to there, over the grasslands, salt pans and palm forested marshes.

Maybe these echoes of dreams are one reason that I eas so captivated by the walled township of Aigues-Mortes in southern France. Connected by a branchline, surrounded by marshes and salt lakes, Aigues-Mortes had a mythic quality of a place disconnected from the outside world.

I feel the echoes of my lucid dreams throughout the day, having holidayed in locations that do not, and cannot, exist.

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