Table of Contents
"The Sydney Bushwalker"
A Journal devoted to matters of interest to Members of the Sydney Bush Walkers, Sydney, New South Wales.
No. 25. JUNE 1935.
Miss Brenda White (Editor).
Misses Dorothy Lawry & Marie Byles,
Messrs. Myles Dunphy, Graham Harrison & Jack Debert.
Once again we are right in the heart of the best walking season, and rarely have we had finer weather for May and June, crisp cool mornings, and fine starry nights, albeit rather chilly, making big camp fires -very welcome.
Various long trips have been undertaken by members, some to the ever popular Kowmung, and others as far South as Wilson's Promontory. Era and the surf still have their devotees, as also have the creeks and rivers of the National Park and Woronora areas, while rarely a holiday week-end goes by without some making their way to the Blue Gum Forest.
With all this activity there should be many experiences worth publishing, also a large selection of photographic gems from which to choose illustrations for the Annual, which is definitely being published in October, in place of the ordinary issue.
But time is now very short, and much work remains to be done, so please let the Publishing Committee have your contributions at the earliest possible moment, and thus help to make our second printed Annual a record one.
Several members who recently visited Victoria were, as usual, well entertained by our friends of the Southern capital, where we also have in residence some old and valued members of the Club, who, by all accounts, seem to enjoy life as much as they did while living in Sunny New South Wales.
Judging by the latest programme, the newly-formed Social Committee seems to have been putting in some very good work, with promise of more to come.
The Dramatic Club is in full swing, and, not having heard of any free fights, we assume that the General Committee is working harmoniously - so altogether, socially, financially, and last but not least (we hope) “walkingly”, the Club seems to be heading for its 5th birthday in fine style.
Exploring Unclimbed Mountains
On the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
(continued from last issue) By Marie B. Byles.
As we sat beside our brand new cairn on the top of our first peak there loomed through the mist on our left a rocky aiguille which looked suspiciously higher than the summit we were on. Frank declared it was not, and Frank would probably be the better judge, but Marjorie and I had our suspicions, and still have. Anyhow, higher or not, we thought we might as well climb it.
So off we set along the snow ridge and dumped our rucksacks and ice-axes at the foot of the rocks. We soon found that the arrête involved a knife-like edge of schist. Frank led up, and I followed, or rather I did not, and that was the trouble; I took a route of my own which looked easier, but led me right to the top, and I soon found myself clinging prayfully, and apparently not too elegantly, to a thin slab with a sharp tilt on one side and nothingness on the other, with the disconcerting sound of suppressed laughter from Harry and Marjory, who for some reason seemed to find my posture amusing. After a frantic struggle to get up the steep tilt without handholds or foot-holds, I did eventually reach the upper end, but merely to hear Frank call out, “It's not worth your while coming, Marjorie, we can't get any further this way!” All my struggles in the middle of airy space, gone for nothing! But when I looked at the thin tilted edge of mica schist that led upwards, I had not the slightest desire to renew my desperate contortions. It looked no thicker than cardboard on the top, and there were no hand - or foot-holds below the top. I am confident that it would not have stood Marjorie's weight, let alone Frank's. We descended, I taking very good care to return by Frank's route, and not my own. We had a look at another possible way up, but it was far from straight forward, and as we had made a late start - after seven in the morning the afternoon was far advanced, and we thought it wiser to return.
However, we at least intended to return by a different way, and make a traverse of the mountain, though which particular species of traverse, I leave to Frank and Marjorie. We started down a rocky gully, and with us also started down a continuous stream of rocks large and small. We moved one at a time, so as to give the lower person opportunity of getting under cover before the next one started the barrage. Then we reached a “gutter”, too long for each to descend in turn, that is, too long for the length of rope between each person, and too dangerous for all to be in together. So once again we had to return having left the route much safer by removing many of its superfluous rocks. But, as a matter of fact when we viewed our route from Mount Butzbach at a later date, we found it ended in a precipice capped by blind, or hanging, glaciers. So that even had we survived the gutter, we should still eventually have had to return.
Such was the ascent of our first virgin peak. We then thought it was unnamed, and for identification it passed under various cognomens from New Year Peak to Sunrise Mountain. But later, when we saw it from Mount Butzbach uncovered by mist, we considered that it was probably the Mounts Query and/or doubtful of the map, but of this more anon.
Frank set the alarm for 1-45 the following morning and we were off by lantern light before 3 a.m. It was a starlit, dewy night, and we were soon wet above the knees in the long grass lying between our camp, about 3500feet and the Mueller Pass, 4500 feet. From the Pass we descended down a slope, of mixed scree and grass, most unpleasant going. A steep slope of good scree is just fun, for you can put your faith in the Lord, and run, but when it is mixed up with grass and plants, you cannot run and are always sitting down unintentionally on the most pointed of the stones. For some reason the schist does not seem to make good scree; it appears to powder into soil without first turning into stones, with the result that what ought to be a scree slope supports a partial vegetation between fair-sized loose rocks.
We were glad to reach the Zora Glacier, about a thousand feet below. Our objective was Mount Fettes on the other side, the mountain Frank and I had discussed the day before. We crossed the glacier, hearing on the way a splendid glacier-stream, or moulin, as it is called, racing below the ice exactly like a mill-stream that gives it its name. Then we went up the little rock gully directly opposite the Mueller Pass with what we had called Te Keo, or the pointed peak, on our right, and the peak intermediate between it and Fettes on our left. It was extremely easy going, just a rock scramble with a little snow in between, and we neither roped nor cramponed until we reached the col at the top of the ridge.
The day had dawned with a lovely alpine glow on our first peaks, but it now belied its promise; a bitter wind sprung up and brought the mist low upon the mountains. As we went along the snow-slopes, we seemed to be looking down vertical steeps into a white abyss.
“Fine view, that!” said Frank ironically, waving his arm over the white nothingness. “I ask you, have you ever seen anything finer?”
It was true that we had not seen anything finer, but it was a view that was: getting a little too familiar!
But, apart from the cold and the mist, the climb continued to be easy. The snow-slopes led upward at a gentle grade. And Frank tried to persuade us to take off our crampons. But Marjorie and I, being lightweights, have a fondness for spikes on frozen snow and resolutely stunk to our crampons. But crampons with the kind of strap Marjorie and I had, were a bother to take on and off, and Frank did not consider it worth while our taking them off to climb over the rocks of the intermediate peak. Now crampons on rock, anyhow on my feet, always remind me of a cat on tiles, or keas' claws sliding down the iron roof of an alpine hut, and lacking the bravery of a cat or a kea, I generally end by getting stuck. Frank waited patiently while I took an infinity of time trying to get round a corner where there simply wasn't room for my feet and my crampons also. Of course Marjorie being a superb rock-climber does not mind what she wears, and would, I believe, cheerfully scale the most difficult rock-peak in high-heeled dancing shoes.
Once over the snow-ridge beyond the intermediate peak we saw a thing that made my heart sink into my crampons - foot-steps in the snow! That was the sequel to the proud boast of the day before. And who was it who had sullied the maiden purity of the snow? Who had for stalled us at our chosen peak two days before at most? We followed the foot-steps up to the little rock arrête to the summit, and on the top we found the expected cairn, and in it a card bearing the answer to our questions - Messrs A.J. Scott, R.S. Russell, and G.C.N. Johnson on the 4th. of January. It was now the sixth. It was rather like Scott arriving at the South Pole to find Amundsen had got there first, only this time it was Scott who got in first. However, as Mr Johnson was an old boy of Fettes College, Edinburgh, we could not very well grudge them the victory, more especially as he had reverently laid his college hatband on the summit as an offering from the patron god of his college to the patron god of his peak.
Clouds swirled round the mountain and occasionally between them we would get a fleeting glimpse of Cook's River or Mount Cook. We tried to get a photo of the latter, but though I lay on my tummy for twenty minutes with my finger on the camera while Marjorie posed uncomfortably on a suitable rock, it was all in vain, the clouds never once lifted to give us a chance.
It was bitterly cold, except, curiously enough, on the very summit, and as we had left our rucksacks as well as our ice-axes at the foot of the rocks, we were by now feeling hungry as well as chilly. To sit on the exposed snow-slopes below was impossible, so eventually we descended a suitable schrund and ate Aulsebrook's hiking biscuits and dates in the shelter of the ice wall.
On our return we climbed the summit of the intermediate peak, but alas there were scratches on the rocks. I tried to believe they might be the work of ancient glacial action, but in honesty I have to admit they were really very modern nail marks.
Then we climbed To Keo, not a very high peak, probably only a little over 7000 feet, but it at any rate was virgin, and from the Mahitahi side the most conspicuous peak of the lot, so we built our cairn and put it in the rucksack along with the other virgins. We sauntered down the easy glacier-rounded slopes of To Keo, stopping often to admire the alpine flowers, daisies of almost countless varieties, the largest being the size of small plates, the most striking growing with eight or a dozen blooms on one stalk. Golden rhununculi with black eyes, white gentians in pin-cushion clusters, but loveliest of all were the little rock-gardens of dark-green, mossy plants, starred with golden gems and crystal flowers. What would not the city-dweller give to transport such a rockery to his garden!
We had tea on the Muller side of the Zora, watching avalanches thundering down from the hanging glaciers opposite, such a booming thunder for such a tiny puff of white smoke! The clouds hung heavily down to seven thousand feet, and of our mountains we saw nothing.
We reached the bivvy at 5 p.m., fourteen hours, having traversed the whole of Fettes Range and climbed about 6000 feet in all. Now we had to turn to on the far more Herculean task of removing the results of the blow-flies' efforts to propagate their species inside our carefully tied-up rucksacks, sleeping-bags and tucker-bags! One admits that the propagation of the species is a necessary and natural function, but surely blow-flies might be a little more moderate in the number of their progeny. Theirs would certainly be a fruitful field for Dr. Marie Stopes!
Even after we turned-in to sleep we heard Frank indignantly turning blow-flies off the perches where they had gone peacefully to sleep for the night.
And now you know why Marjorie named our camp, “Blow-fly, Bivvy”.
We slept the sleep of the just that night, and heard nothing until the alarm woke us to the sound of a howling tempest. When it grew light we saw the rain sheeting up the Talley at the rate of an express train and the fury of a host of demons. We were well underneath the rock, but the rain was beginning to blow in on us and find its way through the crevices in the wall we had built. We fastened the tent and fly in front by means of ice-axes, and Harry's shirt which he had trustingly hung up to dry was commandeered to fill up the remaining gap. As for the crevices in the wall, grass, paper, and everything available was stuffed in, Frank in his enthusiasm utilizing his own safety razor to say nothing of Marjorie's puttees and Harry's socks! Then we lay down in our sleeping bags, packed like sardines in a tin with not an inch to spare between us, not even for Marjorie to kick! The storm increased in fury as the day wore on, and when I peeped out in the afternoon, there was nothing to see but a white world of driving water; even the rain curtains were swallowed up in the general sheet which swept up the valley with such fierceness one could hardly stand up against it. When I had tried out my little tent under the hose on the lawn, people looking on had said, “But you never get rain as heavy as that!” Don't you, just? The hose was like a gentle shower compared with the tempest that raged round our bivvy.
“What do you do if you find yourself in a tent in rain like this?” I asked Frank.
“You just pack up and go home”, he replied laconically.
It rained like that for two days, and on the third day I woke to hear the rain still streaming off our rock, and Frank calling out.
“Someone's left the tap running. Turn it off at once!”
We lay down to doze again. It was while trying to doze during the day that I got dreadful nightmares - or daymares - as to what was happening in my office during my absence. Time and again I found myself struck off the roll of solicitors or forced to foot bills for anything up to a hundred pounds for disbursements on behalf of clients who would not pay. It turned out afterwards that everything had been managed exceptionally well during my absence, but no wireless to that effect relieved the uneasy hours when I tried to doze away the daylight.
On the third day there were occasionally breaks between the rain clouds; Marjorie and Frank woke up sufficiently to continue the argument about traverses while Harry joined in a discussion on politics. I learned that Australia is a well-governed country; the first time I ever heard such a thing suggested and I was very surprised. One lives to learnt!
The fourth day was even better. On the strength of a few lucid intervals everyone indulged in a wash, and Frank considered that a shave would not be out of place. It was then that the fate of the safety razor was realized. After lunch it had actually cleared and we decided to stretch our legs by going up the Matariki Glacier and traversing the range from the Matariki Col to the Mueller Pass taking in the peak between. It was a pleasant climb for Marjorie and me, but not for the heavier guides who dared not put their weight on the frail handholds of the slate and phyllite which served to support Marjorie and MB. In the veins of the rock were perfectly formed quartz crystals growing like plants. We had found much quartz crystal in this district, but there was an exceptionally large amount on this peak. So we called it Crystal Peak.
Everybody felt more cheerful that evening; Marjorie “lost” the ammunition so that the guides could shoot no more keas, but she eventually “found” six cartridges which Frank said was a very stingy supply. The shooting of keas except for food, was a second perennial source of controversy between Marjorie and Frank. I felt Marjorie's arguments were stronger, but when it came to frightening the birds away before they could be shot, Frank generally won, especially as the keas seemed to aid and abet him by refusing to be frightened away. The keas, which were put into the billycan, were stewed on an outside fire for which Harry gathered some small scrub.
The mists dropped low that evening, and were still low when we left at 4 a.m. for Mount Strachan, the chief Mecca of the expedition. As we topped the Mueller Pass we saw through the mist the pale orange glacier of Mount Strachan, faint and ethereal against the dim, hidden, sapphire sky.
“Bet, it's going to be a perfect day”, said Frank and no one contradicted him.
By the time we reached the glacier the mists had disappeared and the deeply crevassed slope of white stretched as far as we could see above us, clean and clear. It would have been a difficult glacier to negotiate earlier in the year, but the heat of the drought had broken down many of the seracs and schrunds. Even so, those that remained made it an interesting snow-and-ice-climb. We could not be sure from below which was the true summit, so we made for the snow-peak to the left, topped it at 8.30 a.m. only to find a much higher rocky summit an the right. The sky was flecked with cirrus clouds and a piercing wind was already blowing on the exposed rook arrête. We therefore redonned our crampons and went up by the steep but sheltered, frozen snow-slope.
All the way up I had been looking fearfully for signs of footsteps in the snow. But there were none. The snows were uncontaminated by man, and the summit rocks (6359 ft.) which we reached at 9.15 a.m., were innocent of any cairn. And to match a first-class climb, a peerless view stretched out around us. Sheltered from the wind we lay in the sun and looked across the Zora Glacier to range upon range of black rock alternating with white ice, rising up tier above tier till they culminated in the crowned head of Mount Cook. Never before did we realize how the Maori's “Aorangi” towers above everything, the queen and goddess of the subject mountains round her.
Clouds floated in the valleys like unsubstantial ranges above which towered the sharp peaks of reality, or like billows of silent seas below which on the west we could dimly discern the white breakers of the real ocean breaking on the shoreline whence we had come, ages past, it seemed. The soft murmuring of the mountain winds communing with the sea alone broke the stillness and seemed to make manifest the spirit of beauty floating among the high places.
Mount Dechan lay further along the range, but separated from us by a yawning gulf. It was this gulf that made us decide to tackle it from the Otoko valley further south.
After lunch we started back down the glacier, a glacier that will remain in my memory as a foretaste of the white heat of hell. The mocking clouds lay below us instead of above, and nothing broke the fierce rays of the sun that streamed down onto a field of flawless white, to be reflected back with an added intensity onto our unhappy faces. Next time I go mountain-climbing I am determined to invent a kind of nose bag such as the ladies wear in Port Said. Marjorie often climbs in a woollen balaclava to protect her face, but that sounds a little hot to me; Zinc ointment is good, but one always seems to forget to put it on some vital spot, so altogether I fear it will have to be the nose bag.
The wind, too, mocked us like the clouds. At eight thousand feet it was blowing the white, powdered snow from the peaks. But no breath of its cooling air broke the still glare of the glacier. The only respite was a few minutes while Marjorie was feeling her way down into a schrund, and I stood in a cave of shadowed ice and leant my head against its refreshing cold. Below, Harry stood hatless in the dazzling heat. Why he did not get sunstruck is one of the marvels of nature we shall never understand.
Altogether it was a glacier such as Geoffrey Windthrop Young described in that poem about the plunge into the glacier pool afterwards. Here there was no glacier pool, but we did gradually descend into the shadow of those gentle clouds and reach the relief of soft, green, grassy slopes where a peaty rill sang sweet, mellow songs, luring us to drink its waters nearly dry.
Arrived back at camp we had a late lunch, packed up and proceeded down to base camp again. For we had catalogued and cairned all the peaks we could at the head of the Mahitahi river and the Zora glacier, but there still remained a first class peak above our base camp. Our packs may be imagined, but would scarcely be envied even by bush walkers, for we were endeavouring to transport all our gear together with about a week's food in one relay. Primus stoves, billies, sleeping bags, and all attachable things were draped over the outside long after the inside capacity of the rucksacks had been thoroughly exhausted. Our guides must have shouldered ninety pounds each, and all of us thought longingly of Himalayan expeditions with their long streams of porters and the white man marching free. Sad to relate my own pack was too heavy for me; I completely overdid it, arrived at camp at my last gasp, and was ill for a week afterwards. It is so much easier “to stick it out” than admit failure and give in. One realizes too late that though it is easier “to stick it out”, it is wiser to give in. I record this as a warning to others, but I know no one will be warned. I never am myself, so I cannot expect others to be.
Next day I felt ghastly, and perhaps it was as well that rain drove us back from our climb when we had ascended only a couple of thousand feet or so up the dry gully behind our camp onto the grass slopes above the tree-line. The bell birds sang to us from the crimson rata trees as we ate breakfast the following morning, which shows we were decidedly late in getting up, I heard Frank calling out earlier, but I thought, or pretended to think, for I was still feeling most unwell, that he was calling keas, and Marjorie nothing loath agreed with me; we both snuggled down again until the rising smoke made the previous explanation impossible. It was 4.20 a.m. before we left, too late when you realize that though our peak would not be as much as 7500 feet, yet as our camp was only about 2500 feet, we had a 3000 foot climb before us, and unless we were at the summit by 9 a.m,, it would be too late, for the inevitable clouds that grow to life in the valleys as the day advances, would already have risen up and shut out the view.
This time we chose the baby glacier, the source of the stream beside our camp, instead of the dry gully. It proved an excellent route until the rising sun, loosening the rocks, changed it from a mountaineers highway to a shoot for stones, which we watched in safety from the grass-slopes, dancing merrily over our footsteps of fifteen minutes previously.
From the baby glacier we went up the shingle arrête and thence onto the glacier on the Makawhio side, the valley into which we had had such tantalizing but unsatisfying glimpses from our first peak. It was hemmed in by an impregnable bulwark of rocky ramparts varied only by the peaks we had climbed that day. And below the crags we could see a blue river winding down a deep gorge and passing out of sight.
The view from the summit not only solved the nature of the head of the Makawhio valley, but cleared up many other problems relating to the geography of the district. For after all it was only the second time we had obtained any view worth mentioning. We discovered that it must be Mount Butzbach we were on, and that the peaks of our first climb must be the Mount Query and Doubtful of the map, placed somewhat out of their true position in relation to the Zora Glacier. It also removed the last doubt that the source of the Mahitahi river is at the Mueller Pass and not as shown on the map.
Once again serried ridges of the Alps rose up one above the other to the crown of Cook, but this time on the west we could see the whole horizon of the ocean above two small peaks that lay between us and it.
We traversed the peak and, descending by the rock arrête, arrived back in camp with plenty of time to wash clothes and remove biddy-biddies from them. Biddy-biddies are seed-balls with fish-hook claws, and they took the place of blow-flies in demanding our attentions at the end of a long day. But, sad to relate, we shortly discovered that blow-flies down at base camp had also developed the totally uncalled-for habit of laying larvae!
The climb had been as good as a tonic to Mia, but bush-walking for eleven and a half hours with a pack, albeit a light one, undid all the good of the climb. We left camp at 6 a.m. for Condonis farm. Each time we rested I collapsed, and had eventually to submit to being dosed with brandy, vile stuff which made me wonder how ever any one could become addicted to it. It was doubtless an exquisitely beautiful bushland through which we passed, but I felt I hated it, and longed to get out of it into the pure, clear air of the mountain tops.
At weary last we emerged from the forest, the valley widened out and we reached the cache where we had parted from the horses coming out. Here we parked most of our stuff, and tramped on leisurely with wider views around and better able to enjoy the lovely scenery. They say a sick body makes the mind especially sensitive to beauty. Anyhow I shall never forget the loveliness of that rushing, blue-grey river where paradise ducks flopped over the boulders pretending to be lame so as to distract our attention from their babies near by. Crystal-clear rills rippled out from the silvan glades of the forest to join the blue-grey river, Rata flamed against the blue sky, and scarlet lichen painted the grey shingles at the river side. Then the mountains flattened out, grassy flats edged the river, a telephone line wandered out, and lastly a house, and we were back in civilization after a fortnight of pemmican, biscuit and kea - not forgetting the kea-soup!
(To be continued in our next).
Jack Debert Interview's Tom Herbert (Parlorphone Recording).
“Hullo, Jack. Where's that perpetual grin of yours to-day? You must be getting prosperous for when things are bad your grin is well in evidence”.
“Oh, this is serious, Tom. The editor of “The Sydney Bushwalker” has asked me to seek an interview with you. Now be serious for awhile till I jot down a few notes.”
“Oh,good! Well put down the usual opening phrase - “After waiting three hours in the ante-room I was conducted by a uniformed attendant through miles of corridors and was at length ushered into the chamber of the Presence”.
“Look, Herbert, cut out the hooey and try to be presidential”.
“Presidential! What awe, what dignity, what lofty disdain that word connotes! How could I? I wish the Club could find some other title for its chief executive officer; something more in keeping with the 'happy-go-lucky' spirit of the Club”.
“Ah! - 'happy-go-lucky spirit'. Tell me more about that”.
“Well, Jack, that's the Club's greatest attraction to me. It's a spirit that harmonises with my temperament. I have no interest in machines and things mechanical, synthetic things without emotion, things that clash and clang. They are all around us and to fly from them is a delight to be coveted. My interest is in people and personalities and in free and easy outdoor wanderings where you can feel you are human and not a cog in the mechanical maelstrom”.
“And how does the S.B.W. attract you more than any other recreational club?”
“Our Club offers a refreshing haven from jaded work-a-day reality. At the Club you meet and chat with your fellow members. You may talk of airy nothings and you laugh as much as you talk - and what a tonic that is! One big family of happy kids glad to drop the formality and seriousness of things commercial and just bubble over with glee. When wandering in the bushland and mountains the same merry chaffing will go on. If any of your little laughable oddities become noticeable you will promptly earn a nickname that will overshadow your real name”.
“You seem to have lived down your old nickname of “Mandelberg”.
“Well, I suppose I deserved the name when it was first applied. To save packing space in my sack I used to hang on the outside of it billy can, mug and anything else with a handle. In addition there might hang sundry items of wet clothing that I wanted to dry and my resemblance to a second-hand shop was greeted with the cry of “Mandelberg” I learnt my lesson and reformed”.
“And what of Club friendships? Do you think they are a phase of the 'happy-go-lucky' or do you think they are lasting?”
“Well of course some of them have developed into marriage but they speak for themselves. My experience is that when you make friends out on the track you do so without any illusions. There's no 'make-believe' there, you know and esteem your fellow bushwalkers as they really are without the frill and veneer that are so deceiving in the ballroom and in social circles”.
“Do the Club's outdoor activities appeal to you more strongly than any one of your other sporting pastimes?”
“I think the appeal is more lasting. By mountains, rivers and bushland you exult in your freedom from restraint and revel in the fresh air, sunshine and scenery and in that priceless companionship of good fellows who are sharing the delights and difficulties of a trip with you. And then there is the camp fire at the end of the day's activity. Having fed well you feel at peace with all the world as you recline before a blazing log fire and yarn and sing and smoke and yarn again. It's at times like these that you can open your heart and talk with freedom to pals who will give sympathetic response. Around a camp fire you listen to and discuss the varying opinions of life and all its complexities with a frankness that another environment would discourage”.
“Well if you have no further questions, that is all I have to say. These are my personal views on what you might call “The Club and Myself” and I would like to see the views of other members published. The manner in which the Club appeals to the various members would make intensely interesting reading”.
“I intend to seek the views of other members, Tom, and I will also invite them to make comments on any of your views”.
“Go right ahead, Jack. Now will I ring for the uniformed attendant to conduct you out”.
“Goodbye! I'm going before you get frivolous again”.
Why Wear Winter Woolies When Weather Wax Wery Wintry? A Personal Parley With Paddy Pallin.
When I arrived at Paddy's place I found Paddy rubbing his hands vigorously. “Hullo” I said, “Feeling the cold?” “Well” said Paddy, “It depends what you mean”. “How do you mean?” I asked.
If I am rubbing my hands because it's cold, not because I'M cold” said Paddy enigmatically, but his glance at a pile of sleeping bags explained his meaning. “Aha” I said, “Good for the sleeping bag industry, eh”.
“What are your views on sleeping bags?” was my neat question. “Well there are two views of sleeping bags”, replied Paddy, “the inside and the outside. I prefer the inside”. After this wise crack, Paddy assumed a look of intelligence and smiled reassuringly at me. Thus encouraged, I took the bull by the horns, “Are your sleeping bags warm enough for the coldest weather?” “No”, said Paddy promptly, “if they were they'd be much too warm for the majority of nights. One of my regular sleeping bags is right for 75% of camping conditions but on very hot nights they're too hot and on very cold nights - Glen Raphael camp at King's birthday for instance they're not warm enough”.
“What is the remedy?”
*Most people can put up with the warm nights and on a cold night a couple of extra sweaters and a pair of long woolly underpants will generally do the trick. By the way I heard of a good stunt a little while ago. Get a piece of flannel about 12“ wide and 4 or 5 feet long and after putting on all your extra clothing, wrap it round the waist - it should go about 1 1/2 times round. Have the extra half turn at the back so that you get a double thickness at the back. I have tried out the idea and it works well. The idea came from South Africa. They call it a “Veldt Blanket”.
“Sounds like double Dutch to me”, said I, “Got any more brain waves?”
“Elastic run through a hem in the top, draws the bag up close on a cold night and stops the chilly breeze from getting down the spine. In fact if the bag is long enough the elastic can be drawn tight over the head and one can breath through the opening at the side of the bag”.
“What about a person who is a cold sleeper?”
“If a person knows he is a cold sleeper he should have a bag made with a few ounces extra of down in it. It doesn't cost much more and it might make all the difference between cold and comfort”.
“What do you think of this?” said Paddy as he produced a few yards of Zipp, “It's an 8 foot Zipp. Fit one to a sleeping bag and “Zzzzzip” and you have a flat quilt. Very useful in hot weather, and,” said Paddy (being a married man) “Very useful at home too”.
Just then a few customers arrived and so our interview terminated, but we'll have another try later.
P.S. Paddy tells me that those 8 foot Zipps cost 12/-, Elastic in the top 1/6 extra and additional dawn 1/- per ounce.
PADDY PALLIN, 312 George St. over Hallam's, Opp. Wynyard Station, Phone 33101.
THE KOWMUNG-WITH VARIATIONS.
SATURDAY - 2nd, FEBRUARY:
We awoke about 7 a.m. and found that we had certainly camped in a rough locality. Rocks large and small surrounded us on all sides and the river roared through the canyon nearby. By the map our position seemed to be about one and a half miles above Hanrahan's Creek. We set out at 9.15 and until Werong Creek found the river rough. Fortunately there was no climbing, but rock-hopping and undergrowth made progress slow. I was particularly clumsy and several times slipped when crossing logs: in fact for the next couple of days my balance was all astray. This was probably nervous reaction from the strain of yesterday; it had been a hard day all through with the last couple of hours most trying. I should not like to compute the thousands of foot-pounds of energy used up in lumping a 45 lb. pack 500 feet up a rock face at an angle of 70 degrees. What was needed was a day's rest, but alas! We were short of food.
After Werong there was an improvement. Grassy flats and rough patches alternated, but, praise be to Allah, no granite canyons. The day had been warm early and the sky was now overcast. As we commenced to pick our way through the beginnings of Rudder's Rift just after 1 p.m. the big drops started to fall and in a few seconds a heavy rain and thunderstorm was in action. We took shelter under trees - more or less dry - and taking advantage of a lull sprinted for the shelter of a shelving rock where we had a substantial meal and prepared a damper.
Made a late start in the afternoon (5 p.m.) and until dark walked as hard as the conditions and our conditions allowed. We camped in a rather good cave - one of the few on the Kowmung - and after some cooking and eating crawled into our sleeping bags at about 9 p.m. (11 miles).
SUNDAY - 3rd. FEBRUARY:
I found that the eel line which I had set the night before had not been disturbed. There were eels in that part of the river because I had seen one about four feet long swimming downstream the day before, but apparently they were all good Mahommedans and gave our bacon a wide berth.
Breaking camp at about 9.30 and crossing the river, we found fairly good going for about two miles. Then suddenly, turning a corner, another impassable canyon confronted us. There was nothing for it but to climb, and scaling the jagged granite walls, we had another taste of the Morong Deep. For about an hour we struggled up and down to the tune of shocking profanity. Gordon had attempted a higher stratum than I and I can remember at one time relaxing in the heart of a prickly thicket and chuckling as I listened to his blistering flow of language. He was making a very fair attempt to scorch his way through. It took an hour to cover fifty yards back to the river.
While Gordon forded the river (falling in en route) to try the other side for variety, I tried to climb around the base of the rock walls but was soon pulled up by a deep pool. The only thing to do was to push my pack up to a ledge, strip and swim around, which was duly done. Gordon and I met again about half a mile downstream.
This bit of rough stuff gave me a strained leg muscle for the rest of the day and slowed our pace to a mere crawl, but fortunately things improved underfoot and we lunched just before Waterfalls Creek.
Lannigan's Creek soon hove in sight and we started up for the Colong Cave. The creek-bed for the first two hundred yards was bone dry and the rest of it just a series of sporadic pools.
At 5 o'clock we had not found the Caves and not being quite certain of our position, I dropped my pack and went ahead to reconnoitre. After half an hour's walk I came upon the limestone belt and returned to Gordon. Carrying water with us, for Caves Creek was dry for several hundred yards on either side of the caves, we found a lean-to and camped just before dark.
Once again the tent was not needed and we slept beneath the stars. So far we hadn't had one wet night and only one thunderstorm during the day. (14 miles).
MONDAY - 4th. FEBRUARY:
The weather was fine, and how, but there was nowhere to swim. We had breakfast late after which there was practically no food left. We decided to hack off 10 days supply of “ziff” and set to with a will. I had a hell of a job lathering with some of Jock's palmolive shaving cream, gave up in despair at last and used B.O. Later I found that I had been using concrete brilliantine.
At 11 a.m. the troops set forth for Yerranderie with an empty commissariat. Once or twice in the Colong Swamp the track faded but the compass soon adjusted matters. Nearing Yerranderie we put on our shirts and Jock went so far as to clean his nails with the bowie knife. Hot and very hungry we found the store and purchased all that was required with the exception of dried fruit of which one pound of prunes was at our disposal. This was a bitter blow but softened somewhat by some news about a certain apple tree actually unfenced. After a late lunch at 4 p.m. which included a pound of sweet biscuits we collected about eight pounds of apples and set out on the return journey which strangly enough occupied less time with full packs than in the morning with empty ones.
Jock shot a 'ponga wigeon' but alas later the blow flies got to him - the 'wigeon' not Jock. Most of the time before bed was spent eating - a noble pastime (18 miles).
TUESDAY 5th. FEBRUARY:
After breakfast, we started to inspect the caves. The Arch cave, being a daylight cave and the most obvious was entered first. It was about two hundred feet long and eighty wide, with its eastern entrance about eighty feet above the creek. The reflected sunshine made it very beautiful. The roof giving a glorious range of greens, pinks and greys. The floor has sunken at the southern end and four pillars, once joined, are now separated by about three feet from the roof. At the northern end there were several smaller stalagmites somewhat resembling crowned heads. The cave bore ample evidence of having been occupied by untidy campers and a collection of bottles on the floor seemed to indicate a some-time jamboree.
Leaving the Arch Cave we hunted around and found the entrance to Lannigan's Cave above the Arch Cave and about a hundred and fifty feet above the creek. A small opening led down into the cave and through a narrow squeeze hole we came to King Solomon's Temple. This chamber contained five large columns about forty feet high. Beneath one group of columns was a crystalline amber tinted stalagmite and overhead was a white stalactitic group, making the whole scene impressive and inspiring. At the end of this chamber a small opening to the right led to the Water Cave. This cave positively beggars description. Numerous stalagmites were observed in the bed of the underground river, the water of which appeared to be of the faintest green.
Retracing our steps we climbed over a wall of rock and approached a series of crystalline basins which became progressively larger as they approached the bottom. Looked at from below they had the appearance of marble steps. The column and stalactites on the left were very beautiful and gave us the impression of a curtain held back to show the stage beyond. The basins extended for a distance of seventy or eighty feet and were about eight feet wide at the bottom. A low passage to the right led to the underground river channel with some more delicate formations. One grotto resembled a jewel show, with the shawls on the edges sparkling like diamonds. Opposite these shawls were pillars of a delicate pink shade while another little grotto had a group of pure white stalactites like so many icicles.
A climb of about twelve feet brought us to a narrow passage decorated with tinted stalactites, which led us to the top of the basins.
A third passage from the end of King Solomon's Temple leading from the left, brought us to what we took to be the Crinoline, an amber tinted crystalline stalagmite surmounted by an attractive group of white stalagmites.
In my weakness for exploring caves I would have liked to have spent the rest of the day and perhaps part of the next day in investigating the wonders of these caves, but we were scheduled to be back on the Kowmung that night and decided to leave the exploration of the Onslow Cave (which I believe is almost as impressive as Lannigan's) and the other small caves further south to a later holiday.
It would be quite easy to lose one's self in the Colong Caves if precautions were not taken to leave a trail of some description. The popular method seems to be that of unwinding a ball of coloured wool as you go along, for many coloured threads have been left in the caves by past explorers. Someone has even been good enough to indicate the exit with a series of black arrows on the walls and it would indeed be unfortunate if with the old threads etc. one could not eventually reach daylight again.
On our next visit to the caves we intend taking a visitors book and a pencil with us to leave at the entrance. It seems an inexorable law of nature that people in visiting places of interest must inscribe their names on prominent parts of said places and already the beautiful walls of these caves are blackened with hundred of names (not to mention addresses) of the visiting public.
We emerged from the cold air of the caves into the heat of the midday sun and prepared to depart. At 3.55. we started for the Kowmung, once more heavily laden. On the way down I again came close to stepping on a black snake but this time hadn't the energy to smite him.
Lannigan's Creek abounded with wallabies, in fact on this trip we saw about ten times as many wallabies as rabbits and at times approached to within a few yards of them.
In exactly two hours we reached the Kowmung and continued downstream. A few rabbits began to appear and we soon cut one off in the flower of his youth. We covered about four miles of river and camped. With another fine night we dispensed with the tent and after a dip and a good meal plentifully garnished with swarms of small and suicidal insects, went to bed. I felt very tired although we had only done nine miles in one afternoon. The renewed heaviness of pack no doubt accounted for this. (9 miles).
WEDNESDAY 6th. FEBRUARY:
We had a dip before breakfast and made a late start at 10.15 a.m.. It was a relief to be walking along the easy cowpads again. After an hour a halt was called for lunch opposite Church Creek. There we met a prospector whom we had already seen in Yerranderie. While searching for gold he had used many means of transport - canoe, launch, bicycle, and of course Shanks' pony. On one occasion he had paddled a long way up the Colo. This made a common ground for discussion and on comparing notes, it was found that our canoe had reached approximately the same spot. News was given us concerning a party who had embarked at Putty and followed the river to the mouth.
About two hours was spent at this spot, swimming, sunbaking and of course eating. Easy river flats stayed with us during the rest of the afternoon until we camped after a big day of about 1 miles half a mile below Christie's Creek. Although the day had been hot and cloudless we both had a hunch it might rain so erected the tent. Sure enough as I sat peeling apples a gentle rain seemed to fall from the blue heavens. I called Mr. Kaske to assure me that I wasn't suffering from a delusion. We were both very mystified until the cicadas burst into song.
After tea we stayed awake longer than usual talking about various topics and it must have been after 11 p.m. when I left Jock in the tent and lay down under the stars.
THURSDAY 7th. FEBRUARY:
Rising at 8, I inspected the eel line and found a three pounder attached. We foolishly beheaded him before skinning and having nothing firm to grasp, had the devil's own job to get the skin off.
Broke camp at about 11 o'clock and commenced to wade through the Bulga Dennis Canyon. By 12 o'clock the pangs of hunger began to make themselves felt and at 12.15 we stopped wading at a convenient sand bank and prepared for lunch. Eating was a subject on which we were in perfect harmony and never disagreed and by this time were putting away about twice as much as we would have ordinarily at home. Lunch over, we cooked a damper, splashed about in the water for a while and Gordon posed in his birthday suit for my camera with a boulder poised over his head in the manner of Atlas of old.
Wading recommenced at 3.40 and we began to see a bit of bird life. About half way through the Canyon we flushed a duck from the reeds near the bank and it alternately flew and hydroplaned down stream at a great rate. While Gordon was busy trying to get it over his sights long enough to pull the trigger, another duck took off from the reeds on my left and skimmed across the water in the direction of the opposite bank. Observing that our official duck slayer was facing in the wrong direction, I yanked out the Colt, said “In your eye” and fired. It missed his eye but removed half his head with equally fatal results and I nearly fell into the water in surprise. By the time Gordon arrived on the scene of the slaughter, I had assumed a poker face and so far as I know, he still believes that I meant it.
We stopped at the Orange Bluffs for a few minutes to admire and photograph them and then pushed on to shortly emerge from the Canyon. On the way to Hughes' Hut, four miles distant, we passed a succession of bush fires, some of them stretching right to the water's edge.
Those four miles were about the longest we ever did and we walked flat out for two hours before the hut appeared just as dusk was falling.
We were both very tired although only ten miles had been covered, but not tired enough not to be hungry. After satisfying the inner men, we watched the bush fires making spectacular patterns up the ridges on the opposite side of the river and then set about the manufacturing of a damper and the writing of the diary, the former by Gordon and latter myself.
A slight diversion was created when, bending over the candle the better to see what I was writing, my hair caught fire and flared up and was only saved from complete destruction by the quickness of my compatriot, who crowned me very effectively. Retired at midnight.
FRIDAY 8th. FEBRUARY:
I had felt rather tired last night but after a dip in the excellent swimming hole opposite Hughes' was quite recovered. The sky was overcast and a few drops of rain fell while we were finishing breakfast and caused us to delay our departure till 9.10 a.m. We followed the right bank rather stealthily in the hope of picking off a duck but the ducks were too quick or I too slow. When approaching Gingra something made me look to one side and there sunning himself a couple of feet from my boot was a large black snake. Raising my rifle to my shoulder I took careful aim and fired. Mr. black snake was in the water in a flash and under a log. Jock and I spent quite a while attempting to dislodge him and when his head quite intact darted out I realised my shot had missed. I didn't do much shooting on this trip but what attempts I made were rotten. Fortunately Jock was in excellent form and rarely missed anything up to 75 yards with the rifle, while the shot with which he hit in the head a duck on the wing - drawing quickly and firing from the hip - would have done credit to a wild west gunman. So thanks to him our meat larder was plentiful in the latter stages of the trip.
At 12.45. a spot a mile below the Cedar Track was reached where the sun and a deep dark pool invited us to linger. We had several dips and Jock did some unsuccessful eeling before lunch.
Heavy clouds began to gather in the sky and on resuming at 3.15. it was felt that a big shower was on the way. Soon it came - and how! Rain fell in torrents and more or less drowned us, wetting our clothes (shorts) as well. The ground soon became saturated and slippery. I came down a couple of times like a “ton of bricks”; but when I remembered a couple of places on the upper Kowmung where such a slip would have been “Goodnight” I thought to myself that it might have been worse. Thunder split the heavens and vivid flashes of lightning zig-zagged across the sky. One tremendous peal accompanied almost immediately by an awe inspiring flash made us pull up “dead”. Fortunately I can use inverted commas.
At 4.45. it was decided to camp and taking advantage of a lull the tent was erected. Jock did some excellent work lighting a fire and in time warmth and food restored our shivering bodies to something like normal. For the first time I didn't sleep well. Thought of a rising river cutting us off from our destination filled my mind but the night passed without our having to make a break for higher ground. (10 miles).
SATURDAY 6th. FEBRUARY:
We rose at 6 after a fitful night's sleep and during a lull in the rain, managed to start a fire and cook the breakfast. After breakfast we pulled another eel out of the river and this time skinned him in quick time.
The rain started again and we broke camp in a deluge at 10 o'clock. The track continued on our side of the river as far as the Devil's Elbow and made progress easy. Our straw hats - Gordon's an F.A.Q. line at lO 1/2d and mine a super-fine at 1/- proved to be worth their weight in pound notes in the pouring rain.
In the Devil's Elbow the track gave way to rocks and rock-hopping, crawling and sliding became the order of the day. Although the rain made the rocks dangerously slippery, the going was not nearly as rough as expected and we came through without mishap and finished the Kowmung at 12.55. The last morsel of chocolate was brought forth and devoured in honour of the occasion.
With the rain still descending in large quantities we decided that it mightn't be a 'Sad idea to do all our crossings of the Cox before the flood waters arrived, so we wasted no more time in getting downstream. At Cedar Creek with the last crossing behind us we breathed freely again, thumbed our noses at the river and hunted around for a camping place. Eureka! a bark hut with half the roof gone but still better than nothing. The tent was pitched in the form of an annexe at one end and we made ourselves reasonably comfortable. A fire was built at the open end and dense volumes of smoke filled the interior, but the proverbial wild horses couldn't have dragged us out into the rain again and we suffered in silence. The last damper made, we turned in at 9.30.
At 11 I woke suddenly to the sound of an extra heavy downpour to find myself lying in an inch or two of water. I swore disgustedly and got up to spend the next hour lighting a fire and trying to dry my blanket and clothes. After losing about a square foot of blanket in the flames I gave it up, spread myself out on the bark table and slept there. Gordon refused to budge from his little island in the middle of the floor and luckily kept above water level all night. (11 miles).
SUNDAY 10th. FENRUARY:
We rose at 7.40. and after eating spent considerable time drying our clothes and shaving etc. At 10.45. on our departure the sun was shining through the clouds and giving promise of a fine day. Our track was the one up the ridge below Cedar Creek. This proved to be clearly defined and followed the ridge, which would be the Korrowall Buttress, for some distance, then gradually winding down to Kedumba Creek. Against Jock's better judgement we followed, the Kedumba up-stream. Nasty remarks were hurled at me as I led him through occasional ferns and undergrowth. Near Maxwell's fortunately he stopped to fill his mouth with blackberries and lost the flow of his eloquence.
Lunch was taken at the foot of the pass and the ascent was commenced at 3.5 p.m. Jock's watch was fast and actually indicated 3:35 p.m. Thinking ourselves late we made for the top at a steady rate and reached there in 50 minutes. Compared to old “March Fly” ridge and a couple of little hillside scrambles in the past fortnight Kedumba was a babe in arms. After a halt at the Falls to don our shirts the station came in view just before 6 p.m. After some high speed eating the 5.17 train rattled in and carried us off towards the “Big Smoke” (16 miles)
The mileage for the whole trip was approximately 194 miles in 15 1/2 days. Our packs counting clothes, books, etc. varied from 59 to 33 pounds. Our progress during the second week was very leisurely, the lunch period being sometimes three or four hours. The food consumption over the whole period slightly exceeded three pounds per day each and we needed it.
The country passed through was full of variety, rough creeks, granite canyons, steep ridges, grassy river flats and a little road. The river roared through rapids, trickled over stones and at times flowed placidly. In fact, for continual change of scene - give me the Kowmung.
PAGES FROM THE PAST. A RETROSPECTION.
“Say Wall how about something for the 'Bushwalker', something reminiscent; how you came to join the Club - good trips of the past - humorous happenings - you know, something breezy!” 'Tis the voice Der Bert, speaking into the left ear.
I promised, and let my mind wander back over the years, reading what is written on the pages of the past, and here is what I found.
The first scene is set at Bondi; the old No. 7 patrol is on duty. All is quiet for the Waves god has been kind and but for one small hole to the right of the crowd, there is little danger. Harold and Tom are yarning, whilst the rest of us are amusing ourselves by trapping unwary clubmates, rubbing their heads in the sand and indulging in other gentle pastimes common amongst those 'Bronzen Gotten' of our surf clubs.
Tiring of our strenuous activities, we joined our more sedate confreres and heard tell of places new and strange - Nattai, Little River, Goat Track, Burning Palms and Era were some of these, and what visions they conjured up! Tales of camp fires, ranges to be conquered, beautiful rivers, and rare comradeship, fired the imagination and sowed the seed that has since borne fruit.
The next page tells of the first walk with the Club. Harold was the leader and there was “Tiddy” Robinson, Brenda and many others now firm friends. 'Kirby' was there and with her a tin of prunes of blessed memory. We went from Helensburgh to Garie and back to Waterfall, via the old mill, and what a delightful introduction to the Club it was!. No doubt 'Tiddy' will well remember the trip for it proved to be his first experience of the Era swamp.
Turning once more the pages, I read of many delightful days and weekends with the brotherhood, happy experiences that gradually weaned me from my old love - the Surf Club - helped to no small extent by the fact that Phil could enjoy with me the wonderful camaraderie of the new, whereas the surf did not appeal.
My attention is arrested by what next appears, for it tells of the first big trip - Kanangra, Kowmung, Cedar Road, the Cox - are inscribed in indelible capitals across this page, and reminiscences come flooding back at that most famous trip, the 'Kanangra Gallop'.
Do you who were there remember the uproars train trip? the freezing night at the sawmill? the champagne air as we strode out for Kanangra, keen for the sight of our Mecca? and will you ever forget the stiff, footsore and weary hand which gazed with rapt expression into the majesty of the Gorge and to the horizons beyond? Cast your minds back with me to a little spur that “must lead to the Kowmung” - and did - but how! Only the tough ones reached the Kowmung by that route, 'Plim', Norm Saill and the four 'Ourangutangs'. Speaking of Ourangutangs calls to mind that 'twas on this trip the now famous fraternity was born and at the same time the 'Jaguars' (long since deceased) and lastly, but not least, the mighty 'Hippos' whose hip holes rival the Kanangra Grand Gorge itself.
The next few leaves bring memories of places far and wide, of Hawkesbury, Nepean and Warragamba, Minerva pool and rocky, rugged, beautiful O'Hares.Visions of camp and campfires in many remote and lovely spots pass before me like Omar's 'moving shadow show' and I catch again the wonder both of scene and comradeship.
'Nattai' - the name stands out in bold relief and again I see a little group heading out from Mittagong. Poor old Jim Liddy finds it hard to make the pace - it is his first big trip - and we pause on Gap Creek to await his coming. Big hearted Herbert consoles him, lifts off his pack and forthwith commences thinking (strange, you'll say, but its true). Tom had been busy and Jim has brought 6 lbs. of the Herbert food - and still has it. Shame! A rare trip (though Tom did lose his pipe), finishing with two days at that Heaven upon earth - MacArthur's Flat.
I read now of a ten days' trip with Marj Hill and Phil Chamberlain, over Clear Hill, the elusive Flack Dog, Kowmung, Roots' Route, Kanangra and there-abouts, the Boyd and Colong Caves. A wonderful trip with good companions. Was there ever a better 'bushman' than Marj? Tough days and easy days, dry camps, flies, heat, sweat, and lovely, cool Kowmung. Perhaps folk wonder how we could enjoy a trip wherein were so many seemingly unpleasant things, yet this stands out as one of the most enjoyable, the aesthetic compensations far outweighed the few physical discomforts.
Succeeding pages tell of the first reunion, of boat race parties, Rowing Parties on the Nepean, the Harrisons' 'House Cooling', of blue gums tall and straight, swimming carnivals and sports, of arguments re 'limitation', constitution, policy, mystery hiking and many other things; days in which the club grew upon me until it became a living vital thing, essential to my very being.
Further on I find many pages filled with stories of the Wild Dogs, black, white, blue, yellow and brindle, and mixed with these are tales of fog, of rata; and wind and cold, of pleasant camps, wonderful panoramas, and of course, the comradeship of friends, Never will I forget the Wild Dogs nor the happy times they have brought to me. Books could I fill from my pages of the past for there are tales of lazy gra days and of uproarious 'Bucks weekends. of meanderings with Phil and Imps, of Federatiom, Garawarra, meetings humourous and meetings otherwise and of cursed 'tactful: letters, Marie has often said to me that the Club must never degenerate and geself admiration', that we must concentrate not upon what has been done, but upon what we have to do, and heartily I agree. Yet I can not forget the past; it is A possession none can take from me; the future; who knows? So I gaze into the past unblushingly and draw with pleasure upon my wealth of memories. The years we have been together are amongst the happiest of my life and I make no apology for what next I have to say. Communion with the bushland has surely changed us all, making us more tolerant, more like unto the trees, ready to take what's coming, be it heat or cold or fliss, ready to stand upon our own two feet and not cling like a monkey vine. When the 'Sally' and the 'Lawyers' have torn off the veneer, I have fclund pure gold and little dross and a cheerfulness sublime. So in closing this my retrospection, one thing I do say, our beloved Club has 1-,rought to me those things which I vastly prize, true friendships born of real regard, and a wealth of memories.
16th February, the 7th. Annual swimming Carnival was held at Mosquito Camp on the Woronora River. Weather and other conditions were ideal. There was a record attendance approximately 100 being there.
The events were keenly contested and a very fine day was spent by all, and the carnival generally was a very successful function.
22nd. February: Our old friend “Jock” Marshall, gave us a talk on the recent Barrier Reef trip entitled “A cruise through Whitsunday Passage”. This was very interesting as there were some very fine slides and to most of us the Barrier Reef has decided attractions and we are always glad to hear more about it.
On the week-end of March 9th. and 10th. the 4th. Annual Re-union Camp was held at Emu Plains. There was a very efficient committee of organisers and the camp-fire and entertainment were excellent. The attendance was the largest we have had and the damper competition brought forward some startling exhibits, as well as some excellent ones.
22nd. March: Harold Chardon gave a lecture an the Tuglow district accompanied by very fine slides, also some beautiful views of the country around Pittwater.
This was followed, on March 29th., by a very fine lecture by Marie Byles on “Virgin Peaks in New Zealand”. The concensus of opinion is that these are perhaps the finest slides we have yet had in the S.B.W. Club Rooms and were thoroughly interesting and enjoyable.
On 16th. April the first dance of the season was held at the Arts Club, the attendance was very fair and the evening one of the best. There were as usual, very high spirits in evidence, and the evening went with a swing. There was also a slight profit.
26th. April: Bob Savage gave us some inside information on the recent Barrier Reef trip, which was undertaken by a party of Bushwalkers with others. This was highly entertaining and most enjoyable.
17th0 May: some of the Bushwalkers presented a very amusing One Act Farce entitled “Wurzel Flummery”. This went very well.
24th. May: Mr. Charlie Savage entertained members considerably with an account of the recent Jamboree held at Frankston and also of the Jamboree hikes. This was accompanied by excellent slides and was exceptionally interesting, and was an unusual type of lecture, from our point of view, and therefore the more welcome. We were very interested in the arrangements and the programme of events as shown to us by Mr. Savage.
All who know Peggy Docksy will be sorry to hear that she has recently sustained a great loss in the death of her father.
FOR THE SOCIAL COMMITTEE
R.D. BROWNE, Hon. Social Secretary.