The Servant and the Stonemasons
Frederick McCoy's gothic-tinged description of Bell-frogs (now known as Growling Grass Frogs) calling from the moon-lit, swampy areas near his apartment conjure a vivid image of European institutions emerging from the colonial earth.
The general sound is a hoarse, prolonged croak, varied by a loud "clunk" monotonously repeated at intervals, very much like the sound of a mallet and chisel of a number of stonemasons.
So like is this that when a portion of the University was being built, and a number of masons were working on a hard sonorous basalt (called bluestone by the colonist) a hundred yards from my house, a newly arrived servant, writing home an account of the busy scene, mentioned that the masons could be heard at work the whole of the moonlight nights- so completely alike was the sound of these Bell-frogs in an adjoining pond at night to the noise of the men by day.
This same land had until recently been a naturally sustaining ecosystem, used by Kulin people for food gathering. In a rare reference to Aboriginal people, McCoy likened their culinary traditions to those of the French.
They are eaten by the natives, who, taking a torch at night, thrust a sharpened stick through as many as they choose to make a meal of, and using it like a spit, roast the collection to their taste; and no doubt the are as good as the epicures in France find the Rana viridis.