A Journal devoted to matters of interest to Members of The Sydney Bush.Walkers, Sydney, New South Wales.
No. 27. January,1936.
|Miss Brenda White (Editor).|
|Misses Dorothy Lawry & Marie Byles,|
|Messrs. Myles Dunphy, Graham Harrison & Jack Debert.|
The Publishing Committee extends sincere wishes that health and prosperity will attend you all in 1936.
Owing to the “S.B.W.” Annual appearing in November instead of October, we did not have a December issue, and so were not able to wish members a Happy Christmas, and a good time at the Christmas Camp - which was just as well, in a way, as there just wasn't a Christmas Camp, at least not that anyone could find.
What is this big idea of picking on one place for the event, and then everyone going somewhere else? Last year the programme said “Burning Palms”, and the camp was at North Era. This year the same notice appeared, but was there an official S.B.W. Camp at Burning Palms? If so, one of the members who went round to visit it, loaded with Christmas wishes, could not find it!
But quite a few members of the Club were camped at Era - some at “Lower Bugville” and a select few “Above the Pump”.
Various members of the Coast and Mountain Walkers were also camped at Era, although their programme stated “North Era”, so there must be something very attractive about this little spot, at any rate to those at the combined campfires, if we can judge by the fervour with which they sang the old song: “Put me on the Train for Era”.
The weather, as is usual at that place and that time of the year, was anything but typically Australian Summer, still those who were lucky enough to be down over the whole holiday period struck some fine days - but has anyone thought of asking the weather man what has happened to Sunny New South Wales that the first week-end of the year should be such as to wash the remaining campers out of Era?
The urge to climb has led to some cold and uncomfortable camps, and August Bank Holiday week end proved no exception. Ninian [Ninian Melville], Reg and I left by the 6-35 train for Wentworth Falls on Friday night with the intention of climbing Mount Solitary from the North East extremity and exploring generally. We camped that night in the shelter of the pine trees at the sanitorium, and next morning at breakfast the Scot arrived all done up in many layers of shirts, sweaters, and singlets, complete with woollen balaclava and gloves.
The previous day the papers had predicted gales of wind, torrential rain, hail, and dust storms; we had read, shivered, and hoped for the best, but when Scotty averred that light snow had already fallen we jeered - but as if to prove him quite sane, snow began to fall then and there, and we ate our breakfast with the food rapidly freezing on the plates.
Lunch was much warmer and very pleasant, in a sylvan glade on Kedumba Creek. Here we came across Maisie Frost and another girl who were going through the Burragorang Valley.
Before descending the Kedumba Track we visited a lookout in order to understand the lay of the land and obtain pictures of Mount Solitary. The gale proved so fierce that it was all we could do to stand against it with one leg braced at the back and every muscle taut as a bow string. Far to our right we could see great masses of snow cloud blotting out Katoomba and Leura, and round us the wind shrieked and whistled while the trees bent far over, the leaves and branches threshing and writhing like live things.
At 1-30 we left Kedumba Creek and headed up the lower slopes of Solitary, making for a projecting mass of rock almost on the extreme East corner and 2,000 ft. above us. Easy going at first and no harder than the slopes of Era, but as we climbed the ground became closer to the perpendicular, until at approximately 1,000ft up we were using both hands and knees at each step, and a step misjudged would have precipitated us a couple of hundred feet at least down the mountain side.
At 1,500 feet we ran into sleet, and from then on the climb was almost straight up. We worked our way under the great bare mass of rock, round its Northern face, up a precipitous water course at the back, and finally on top. A short rest in the lee of the top edge and we faced the wind once more to gain a glimpse in the now clear air of the surrounding valley over 2,000 feet below.
I will not describe it - you have all seen similar scenes and felt the exultation of that moment; it's thigh-cracking, muscle-breaking work with numbing cold or overpowering heat thrown in, but you and I forget these things when we gaze upon such vistas as only mountains can give.
Photography was again difficult, but a good picture was obtained and the last few feet to the very crest of the spur were made in what surely was the worst part of the gale, which blew directly in our faces and brought with it a smother of snow, whipping us like lashes, clinging to the hairs on our legs, and blotting out all view while it lasted. The papers later stated that the wind was blowing at 70 m.p.h.
Our route now lay along the North edge of the mountain and we made our way as best we could for a mile or so, crossing over at last on a ridge running obliquely to the Southern side, where we camped in a gully under a 20-ft. overhang, at 5-30 p.m. It was too late to explore for a better campsite so we put up with what we had and made the best of it.
The gale tore down the gully through the overhang in wild tempestuous gusts, bringing with it snow, dirt, and twigs, with a roar like an express train, and nearly every time this was followed by the wind turning right round and blowing up the gully with equal velocity. Plates, spoons, knives, billies, tents and clothing were whirled round as if by a huge spoon, and smothered in dirt.
The billies had to be weighted with large stones even when hanging on the fire, and at last we wrapped ourselves in every article of clothing we possessed with the tents as extra covering, and slept with the snow beating in upon us.
Morning dawned clear but with no abatement of the wind. Snow lay on the ground though much of it had been blown away; water was a difficulty as a dry winter had transformed the water course into a dry ditch with only one small pool at the extreme end on the cliff edge, which contained several gallons of very dark liquid. Otherwise there was a little soak from some moss - but very little.
Ninian got his gear together, and with my camera we started out from the pool to plot the main parts of Solitary. We traversed first the North cliff edge as far as the Western buttress, then followed the south side back as far as camp. Later Ninian retraced our steps of the previous day, making observations and bearings.
Our most interesting find was a sheltered gully on the spur to the South of our camp which contained a watercourse and good water which looked permanent.
Monday was still boisterous; we left camp about 10 o'clock and climbed dawn the knife edge of the Western buttress. The air was beautifully clear with no trace of the usual haze, and such landmarks as Mount Colong, Ti Willa Plateau, and Kanangra Walls were seen to advantage.
About 1,000 feet down the track flattened out and we followed the old tramway track to the mine shaft at the foot of the Ruined Castle, a pile of rocks rising above the tree tops like the battlements of a mediaeval fortress, in the middle of the long spur between the foot of Solitary and the Eastern side of the Narrow Neck Peninsular.
Here we had our first wash in two days, a shave, and a spot of lunch. Peter Page and party arrived soon after us and we exchanged comments and reminiscences of our trips over Solitary and the weather in general.
An hour's easy walk along fern clad slopes through thickly timbered ground below the “Neck's” frowning ramparts - all along the old tram track - brought us to the final climb up the Golden Stairs, which leads up the face of the bare cliffs and onto the Narrow Neck itself, thence to Katoomba. And so home.
When I lie down in camp at night,
With boughs for curtains, stars for light,
And with my head upon the ground
Hear night's small beasties creeping round,
Those marching stars, this moon-drenched land,
Stir me with thoughts as if a hand
Swept o'er my soul and from its keys,
Drew deep, majestic harmonies.
When I return with weary feet
From long bush miles and stony beat,
Eager to lay my knapsack down,
And change rough garments for a gown;
I look with what delight again,
Upon a snowy counterpane.
My room with cleanly welcome greets,
And oh! how fair the cool white sheets.
Don't know who wrote this but hope you like it.
After months of waiting I rescued her on a free Friday night (so generously donated to club members by an over zealous social committee) at the club. She was surrounded by people and nigh snowed under with a pile of maps. So I dragged her off to a - , was going to write quiet corner, but there never is such a thing at the Sydney Bush Walkers' club rooms on a Friday night. Anyway I managed to secure an interview. “What first attracted you to the S.B.W. Club, Dorothy?” was my leading question to our present efficient secretary.
“The fact that the world is round and large and that the party I used to go walking with had hied themselves to the four corners of this happy old place commonly known as the world” was the forthcoming reply. Out came my notebook and pencil. Already I was warming to my work. This was going to be an interview worth having. Of course in real life reporters do not produce notebooks when interviewing. If they did the person being interviewed would talk about every subject under the sun other than the one under discussion. But I am not a reporter. I was merely ordered to secure an interview from Dorothy by our exacting editor.
“Dorothea Taylor, who has a kink that way, wrote an article for the “Australian Naturalist”. Now a very inquiring sort of a person, by name of Anice Duncan, having read the said article, wrote to Dorothea. So the little Dunc was invited to come for a walk with us. It was on that walk, which was from Lilyvale to Burning Palms, that I first met Frank and you, Jack. Naturally I learned lots about the S.B.W.”
“You seem to remember that trip quite well, Dorothy”.
“Well Jack, I have every reason to remember that week-end camp. It was the first time I ever had anything taken by a rat”.
“Still you could not hold that against the Duncs, for after all they are vegetarians”.
“I had previously seen the preliminary notices of the S.B.W. in occasional Sydney Morning Heralds, but I was totally opposed to organised walks. My attitude towards them was much the same as the Bush Walkers showed towards the Mystery Hikes and 'ikers. Quite probably, out of idle curiosity, I would have arrived at the clubrooms one day to ascertain what ogres these organised walkers appeared like in the flesh and blood. Still the remarks on the club interested me. I kept on walking like Felix, and about a month later I joined in on an official walk. After all, these organised walks, as run by the S.B.W., were not so terrible. So I just drifted into the club”.
“On looking through the club records, Dorothy, I find you very early became prominent in helping run club affairs”.
“Well, you see one of the main reasons was this: I used to arrange the parties amongst my own friends. By stepping into the club I found myself in my element in-so-much as the walks were already arranged. I liked the members and enjoyed being with them. So as a small return I did my little bit to help”.
“All your life, Dorothy, you have been to the fore in public life, have you not?”
“Yes, I suppose I have. Somehow it runs in the family. Nevertheless you may, Ripley or no Ripley, believe it or not, I am shy”.
“Did you find your shyness difficult to overcome with such a cosmopolitan crowd as the Bush Walkers?”
“Not so difficult with the members. They were so free and easy themselves. It is only when the occasion is really formal that the shyness prevails”.
“During your sojourn in the club you have earned a nickname of “Dry 'em by the fire”.
“On account of being a lightweight camper I always endeavour to make an article serve two purposes. So whenever an article got damp I dried it by the fire.” (The following really should be censored. I am sure if the club's Board of Censors notice it I shall be shot out of the club. Still for us who know the good natured Dorothy of ours, it is too rich to pass by.) “Really this habit was acquired long before I joined the club. A certain member of my walking parties had a child whose nappies frequently yelled their heads off for me to “dry 'em by the fire'”.
“You are recognised as a great wood gatherer”.
“I prefer gathering wood to cooking”.
“But surely you can and do cook on trips, Dorothy?”
“Oh yes, but not when I can get out of it. I cook only when I am on my own or when there is no one else in the party who can cook”.
“After long years of office on so many committees and sub-committees, do you not feel the strain of public office?”
“I must admit I do. But it is so intensely interesting, still it is very fatiguing when the meetings are prolonged until 11 p.m.”
“Do you prefer long trips with only ladies in the party?”
“Absolutely. Hen parties are very pleasant indeed. We always manage to get on splendidly without mere man”.
“What did you think of Tom's remarks that he has outlived the nick name of “Mandelberg?”
“Well in my opinion he still deserves to be called “Mandelberg”. The only thing that protects him is that he has earned so many other nicknames. At present he is 'The Hooey Merchant', but, with a very knowing smile, “there are others”.
“And after all your trips the bush still appeals and calls you?”
“The appeal of the bush is so great that if I do not manage to go out walking for three weeks I become bad tempered at home. Then the family insist upon my going out. The congenial company is very grand and the club campfires are really wonderful”.
“Just before you took over the duties of Secretary, Dorothy, there were rumours of war; prominent members spoke about the club passing through a crisis. In your opinion are things better now?”
“Well, the club is going on all right. Of course it is not for me to say that the electing of a woman secretary is a backward step. There have been no resignations for a week. The rows proved the virility of the club. I was reared on rows and so was able to weather the storm. But I do not intend to remain in the office of secretary as long as my worthy predecessor. It is unwise to hold the position for long. Richard will make a splendid secretary and I shall….”
“Dorothy, will you please take this money?” A small person had butted in on the interview at a very critical stage. Either from a high sense of duty or from a desire to evade further inquisitions, the genial secretary dived out of the room. The collecting of money is really not one of her duties. But Hon. Treas. Eric Moroney was absent through sickness, evidently brought about by over worry re a certain 10/-, held in suspense and belonging to a loud and lusty-mouthed member.
(If any member wishes to sue “The Sydney Bushwalker” for libel over any of the above remarks, he or she had better see Der Bert.)
(In the track of Rupert Brooke.)
I have been so keen a walker; filled my lungs
So deeply with the fragrance of the gums,
Their tang, their scent, their aromatic breath,
Their life invigorating, and pungent death.
These are mere words! They lack the power, the strength,
To lift the head, each step give added length
As do the mighty trees in vibrant life.
Yet, ere the City's grim and noisy strife
Drowns all, I would shut out the noise awhile,
So peace can be remembered with a smile
That smooths the furrowed brow, and finds again
Friends and brothers in one's fellow-men.
Why do we fight, who are crowded here, hemmed in
By walls, machinery, and ceaseless din?
Components these of madness and despair!
Speed is a cage - we are all imprisoned there;
A curse; - and we live beneath it, you and I;
The goal itself: - so we rush, and slave, and die
Yet, by the walker's road, I can escape,
And change, and almost take another shape,
And so keep sanity still, and come to peace,
Wide-spread, serene, where jealousies cease,
And simple things give pleasure; wants are few -
To soothe jangled nerves, strength renew,
Out in the empty lands, gazing, or glancing ….
These I recall:
Blue wavelets, sunlit, dancing,
Chased by a breeze; a beach of golden sand;
An eagle above me soaring; the wide land
Beneath my feet; and rest after a climb;
Oranges; and full many a view sublime;
A scarce-seen, leafy path beneath tall trees;
And trees themselves, that sway to every breeze,
Standing straight and stately, friended or alone.
Then, the fine friendliness of birds, full-grown,
Knowing not man; and the liquid notes
Of lyre-birds; butcher-birds; a song that floats,
Joyous and free, through sundrenched air; the calm
Serinity 1) that is the mountain's charm;
The homeliness of a little fire, with tent close by;
Then hot food, and fresh tea; a darkening sky;
The comfort and joy of the big camp-fire,
Flames leaping, while the fairy sparks fly higher,
Into the night, and the cold dark….
And gay laughter, and song, and talk! Great Shades,
And pleasing thoughts of lesser men are here;
Thoughts of our own; voices beautiful, or queer;
Frogs in chorus, too; on bracken beds
We sink to sleep, and silvery shafts of moonlight
Slanting through trees, add magic to the night;
Fast-driving clouds, hiding the moon; the grey
Coldness of dawn; bird-calls greeting day;
Wind; and sunshine; deep pools in creeks;
Lapstones; and long, steep ridges, crowned with peaks;
The range-filled view; and trailing smoke of a train;-
All these have brought me joy, and will again
Whenever I escape, by secret thought,
Or with my rucksack, from the city. There's nought
Can keep me from them while I've strength to walk!
Yet do I leave them, join in the fuss and talk,
Fight the old fight for bread, enslaved by goods,
And insatiate appetites, timid moods.
- Oh, why do I yield, when, out there, freedom waits,
And all that's left of leisure, that creates
And the great god, Pan,
Retires, and watches, waits, withdraws, as man
Destroys the face of the earth, and kills, and burns
His source of food, and dies.
Oh! dear, green Earth! Oh! Mountains, deep within
Your hearts the bushland keep! May we who win
To peace, and living Beauty, there enshrined,
Guard them, and thee, forever, from mankind!
D. Lawry. [Dorothy Lawry]
Sky Hooks: These useful gadgets eliminate the necessity for poles, trees, sticks and swear words in pitching your tent. Being made of the best quality chromium plated cupra-supra-heterodyne, they grip the ether in an astonishing manner apparently defying all laws of lockstitck and gravity, and as they are modelled to fit the arc of the spacial curve as calculated by Mr. Einstein in his theory of relativity they are not affected by wind or other movements of the atmosphere.
Hang your tent from sky hooks and dispense with poles and guys (of all sorts). Suspend your billies on sky hooka (use the small vertical adjustible type) and be independent of fire-sticks, stones and billy hooks. And best of all attach your tucker bag to a sky hook and save all further worry from ants, possums and bandicoots. The ingenious camper will no doubt find many other uses for these cunning contraptions.
The horizontal sliding sky hooks are rather too weighty for one person to carry (weight 16 lbs 16 ozs) but for a party a set is absolutely indispensible for crossing creeks; even small gullies may be crossed with their aid without losing height. The inventor is at present engaged in perfecting a sailing sky hook, which will enable the wearer to glide with the wind at a fixed altitude. Our readers will be kept posted with the progress of this and other startling new inventions.
As we said before however these useful gadgets haven't yet been invented, but you may rest assured that when they are, Paddy will stock them.
In the meantime Paddy is constantly adding to his range of camp gear for walkers. Have you seen his new storm capes which are a very much improved cape groundsheet? Or his new range of stout “squat” aluminium billies? Paddy has had them specially made to suit the requirements of walkers and they have caught on. If you need a new billy have a look at these.
His 1936 model de luxe steel frame rucksack is something Paddy is especially proud of. New features include a zipp pocket in the flap and leather corners to the side pockets.
New price list now out. Get hold of one.
Phone B 3101.
312 George Street,
(over Hallams opp.Wynyard Station).
November, 1931. Edited M.J.D.
Our party - George King, Aubrey Winton and I - left Sydney on the Friday, in Roy Hudson's car, Roy driving and having Ike Castles as passenger-observer for the return journey. There followed a pleasant night's journey punctuated by refreshment at Prospect Hotel and Emu Plains. Between Prospect and Penrith it was a wild ride, the driver hitting up to about 50 m.p.h., much to my discomfort.
Up and over the Mountains we made good time and finally pulled into a clearing on the right of the main road at the Jenolan Road turnoff at River Lett, about 12-30 a.m.
We camped the night without a fire, owing to shortage of fuel, but we had a good sleep and arose at dawn on Saturday. On the road early we set out for Oberon, via Tarana. Here further refreshment and final additions to supplies were obtained, then we set out on the road to Jenolan Caves, via Edith, the same route by which we returned from Kanangra in 1929.
On this present trip we carried, in addition to our usual survey and photo gear, an altimeter, which proved both instructive and useful. The Oberon-Jenolan Road rises to 4320 feet, at a track leading to Ginkin. From the Kanangra Walls Turnoff - 3 miles south of Jenolan Caves - we took the car over the track which is as rough as ever and got as far as Morong Creek, where we camped the night. Little difference was noticed in the conditions from the turnoff to Cunynghame's. At one top (4190 feet) we found an old survey mark, and also a good lookout, clearly discerning Katoomba N50°E. Continued after building a roadway for the car, for about 60 feet around a fallen tree (this time we forgot an axe). Our 1929 camp at Budthingeroo Creek (Luther's Creek?) proved to be 4130° at mileage 4:6 2) from the Turnoff. Cunynghame's house is at 5.4 miles, Morong Creek at 11.4 miles. From Morong (Boyd) Creek to Kanangra Walls is about 6 miles - hence our 1929 walk was 12 miles each way. However, the swamps were fairly dry this year, we skidded only once, but from Cunynghame's to Morong Creek is now densely timbered with white box, the track being faint and winding.
Camped at Morong Creek. While the others prepared camp Aub. and I walked 2 miles to Rocky Top, now heavily foliaged, somewhat obscuring the view, and decreasing that pre-historic effect we noticed previously.
On Sunday 8th. November the party separated at Morong Creek. We packed our Swags and bade farewell to Hudson and Castles, and as the car set out for Sydney, we disappeared into the bush for the week's adventure. This came soon. Within 1/4 mile we saw our first snake. In less than 2 miles we were at Rocky Top, 4160 feet, taking compass shots to Kanangra, Colong, Burragorang, Shivering, etc, and to some distant points which we have not yet located, as we have not plotted our observations.
Whilst observing the wonderful panorama we received the first drops of rain which proved to be the advance party of four hailstorms. However, we reached the Camp Cave at the Walls dry, but only just in time. The country was very dry, water being unobtainable, except in Kanangra Brook. Upon arrival at the Cave a smart downpour occurred and washed the cliff faces clean, moistened the dry ground and generally cleared the atmosphere. Large hail occurred, but soon the rain ceased.
After lunch and half an hour's reclining on the wooden dance platform in the Cave, we ascended the steel ladders to see the view. At tho top we were caught in another storm, so, setting backs to the rain and wind, we watched hailstones bounce on the edge of the walls and pass into the abyss below. We weathered this storm and continued across the plateau only to be caught in the third hailstorm, from which we sheltered in a cave on the south side of First Narrow Neck. After this we were not again wetted.
We saw some marvellous effects of the storms, which were accompanied by lightning and thunder. Standing on the Walls we observed the formation of clouds in the gorges below. Away in the distance near Katoomba the valley was filled with clouds whilst above them was clear atmosphere. Above this again was a second series of clouds, and whilst we watched we saw huge lightning discharges pass from one series to the other, a distance of perhaps 1000 feet. While this display was in progress in the distance, white misty clouds were being born in Kanangra Gorge below us, and on facing east, we saw dense white mists come blowing up from the valley there and which, being deflected upward by the walls, resembled jets of steam blowing towards us. During all this display thunder rolled and echoed, the whole giving an awe-inspiring spectacle. Towards late afternoon the clouds settled down on us, completely obliterating all view beyond 200 yards.
We made back to camp, prepared tucker of bully beef, rice and bread, dined heartily, and after placing our plates and mugs under drips from the walls, to be washed clean, we yarned around the fire. When later we turned in the mist became heavier, lightning played with increasing frequency, each flash being followed later by a roll of thunder. The lightning became more vivid and the time interval between flash and thunder decreased, while the sound increased. The storm-centre was rapidly approaching our camp cave. The lightning became inceasant 3)and the thunder rolled continuously, until a sudden flash, brighter than usual, accompanied simultaneously by a terrific crash, caused the air to shake and gave the impression that the solid rock shook also. We lay in our blankets, silent. Two similar crashes occurred in quick succession. I looked at the rocks above our bunks, decided I could do nothing, so attempted to sleep. Fortunately I succeeded. What happened after, may be known to George and Aub.- I haven't asked them. A thunderstorm in Sydney is one thing but one at Kanangra is entirely different.
Monday broke fine but cloudy. We spent the day in photography and rough surveying. One photo necessitated my laying on the stomach and holding the camera over the edge of the walls. I looked down - the vertical drop was 200 or 300 feet, followed by one huge steep talus to the creek away down below. I hope that photo was worth the risk taken. We measured the depth of the gorge by trig. methods. The height from the walls to the creek is 1119 feet. This is also the depth which Kanangra Brook tumbles in a series of waterfalls (the Kalang Falls). Farther dawn Kanangra Creek (the Grand Gorge) the depth becomes greater, awing to the rapid fall in the creek bed.
This day we covered practically the whole of the plateau and made a rough survey, to correct existing maps. Whilst sitting on the edge of a wall we were startled by a small hawk which swooped towards us from the rear and rushed past about 10 feet distant. The sound, being unexpected, certainly gave us a start.
We noted some wonderful lightning effects on the great Thurat Spires; as the sun sank they threw great shadows over the gorge. Towards evening storms were raging in Burragorang, and the clouds, lying on a perfectly plane surface, presented a beautiful picture, we being ten to fifteen miles away, in the late sunlight.
On Tuesday, 10th. November, we arose early and had a shower under rock drips and breakfasted on porridge, toast and cocky's-joy. Then, farewelling Kanangra, we set for Kowmung River. Again we climbed onto the plateau and crossed to the south-east corner where the walls became just cliffs. Here we descended onto a saddle in a range which runs out onto the Kowmung. Underneath the cliffs we came upon a large seam of coal, about 6 feet deep, extending 100 to 200 yards along the face.
We traversed the saddle to the junction of Gingra Range, passing on the way a strange conical rise on the top of the range, surmounted by a large rock, aptly named “Cottage Rock” by Myles Dunphy. Cloudy conditions arose. We travelled the ridge of Gingra Range, rising and falling, through extensive growths of young gum-trees, so dense in places as to obliterate the view. A very steep rise led to a top where a blazed tree indicated Dunphy's turnoff to the river (Brumby Mountain Pass). After resting we set off dawn a spur. The young growth completely enveloped us, and as the fall became alarmingly steep we called a halt. By climbing a tree we saw we were heading into a gully, from which escape would have meant climbing out on all fours. We retraced our route to the top, forcing our way through ferns and saplings. Taking the next spur north, we continued on a steep fall to Brumby Mountain, then down a grade, which, from above, looked too steep to negotiate on foot to the river. We had to tackle this grade, no shelter on top, no water, a storm approaching and night coming on. We did it, and at twilight pitched camp on a beautiful grassy flat on the Kowmung River. Total descent for the day, 2610 feet.
Wednesday was spent on the Kowmung. Our campsite was opposite an enormous vertical wall on the river, about 500 feet high. In the morning we went downstream, disregarding the rain, which ceased about 10 a.m. A few great bluffs stand back from the river, at places starting from the water's edge, but the “going” downstream is generally easy. Returning for lunch we caught a black snake and skinned it.
After lunch we started upstream getting into gorges which continue upwards to Christy's Creek, to which place I travelled from Lannigan's Creek in 1930. This upstream journey proved difficult. It took from about 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. to travel about one mile around a certain bend cluttered with broken rock and thick growth along the bases of cliffs. At a late hour we had to turn back. About here we saw a platypus in a deep pool.
Next day, Thursday, owing to a shortage of ready-made tucker George stayed in camp to cook damper, while Aub. and I went hunting for a suitable route out to Kiaramba Range. We discovered a saddle, only 200 feet above the river, which led to a grassy, ti-tree flat just beyond certain bluffs. We climbed higher to 450 feet in order to get a photograph of the country, and on the way back Aub. caught a rather rare specimen of mountain grasshopper, which now reposes in Sydney Museum.
After our morning's tour we decided the only route out, within reasonable striking distance, was straight up the spur beside Grasshopper Gully (Denis Creek) and climb the rock walls at the top. The grade was terrific, but we had to tackle something, as there are no easy grades in this country.
While resting in camp during the afternoon, preparatory to the morrow's big tramp to Yerranderie, a lone stockman, with one defective eye and a typical bushman manner, came into camp. He was of Yerranderie. Over a pannikin of tea we yarned. He said he had come from Yerranderie by the shortest route, which did not agree with that planned by ourselves. We decided to track his horse back. He, true son of the mountains, stated the journey could be done in an hour and a half, provided no stops were made, but as he had taken his time he had occupied three hours on the journey. This was from Yerranderie to the river, mainly downhill. We allowed double this time, that is, six hours to do the reverse journey. However, this man was a bushman, not an engineer, and his estimate proved most inaccurate, as we found next day. We yarned an hour. He recalled meeting George and I in Yerranderie, in Easter, 1926, when we first met Jack Zucchetti there. His dog became restless, so finding his horse, he mounted, bade us good-bye and vanished downstream around a bend.
Next day, Friday, 13th. November, we breakfasted early and broke camp, with much lightened swags we crossed the river. Here we delayed and co-ordinated our efforts in catching a young wild duck. After photographing him we released the little fellow. As he swam away his tail wagged so violently with the joy of freedom, that we almost feared physical disaster would result.
We now turned to the serious work ahead. To be brief, we certainly tracked the horse, whose rider seemed to have no idea of grades. We traced the tracks straight up steep spurs, through rough gullies, over broken stones, and, in short, over a most adjectival, unmentionable sort of track! Only two happenings relieved the awful climb. We saw two lyrebirds playing on the mountain side, and again, when we were resting, two black cockatoos with red-spotted tails, amiably pulled nuts from the twigs of a tree we were reclining under and playfully dropped them down upon us.
We left the Kowmung River at about 8-30 a.m. and climbed continuously, with a couple of brief rests and a respite for lunch, until 3 p.m. when we reached the top of Kiaramba Range. Here we made observations for position and rested (altitude 2000 feet).
Soon we were on a good stock route track, making for Byrne's Gap. As the cold tea left over from lunch was getting low and acquiring a rather repulsive colour and taste we decided to have afternoon tea on Black Hollow Creek. Tucker being now dawn to one damper, a pound of oatmeal and half a pound of treacle we contemplated some porridge, quite a novelty for afternoon tea. Unfortunately, the porridge did not eventuate. A deceased equine quadruped had usurped the waterhole. We ate the damper and cocky's joy and gargled the tea.
Made good time to Yerranderie, without event, and arrived at Jack Zucchetti's farm just at nightfall. Here we were given a hearty welcome and a tasty meal. Only one thing marred our greeting; one of Jack's dogs, being unaccustomed to shorts, insisted on a close personal examination of my knees. We dined well. Jack found an old spring-mattress which we successfully installed in a shed, already occupied by a poddy calf and an O.S. spider. We killed the spider.
On Saturday, after breakfast we took some photographs, then shaved off a week's growth of beard. After saying good-bye to Mrs. Zucchetti and family we set out for the local hostelry, Jack accompanying us. We found that the main building of this oft-occupied house had been burned down. The side rooms in which we have slept on several occasions are now the bar and living quarters. We went out with Jack and his mate Ryan to do a survey job of a mining venture they were interested in. After a hot morning we dined at the hotel. A thunderstorm approached. Over a mug of beer we said farewell to Jack and departed in the mail-car in pouring rain and in due course arrived safely at Camden, and later at our homes, after a wonderful trip.
De other day i was gayzing fru a kopy of de Sidney bush knockerbout or sum such name by which your klub konducks er magazine of sorts and me optics red in a heartical heded “the Federashun - a whiskey” 4) summat erbout a feller kalled tree trunks - or was it roots - who was the reel inventor of the federashun. Orlrite, now let mee tell yous that bloke wot synes that dare heartical dont no nuffink, cos i likes ter bee fare minded an eye kan tell your hole bloomin publishin kommittee they ort 2 b hash shamed of erlowing such errors 2 get intwo de paper. i was only er orfis boy at the tyme sir butt i well remembers back in '28 a feller wot was kalled Drake frequently discussing the hole highdeer of Federashun. So if onour goes were honer is dew Drake deserves the title of inventing the Federashun.
Furver many hours wear spent discussing the suggested Federashun in a reel estate offis and 2 or free meatings was eld at Mockbells with Miles Dunfee, Harrold Chardun, Laurie Drake and Jack Debit. Sos i opes i wont corse a sensashun wen i sez the twenty thirst of July 1932 wass not the Federashun's birfday cos it had bean in embreeio nerely for yeres then.
Orace the orfis boy.
Although I have been sunbaking for fifty years I caught a cold in my back at Era Beach a couple of Sundays ago. It put me off work. Most Bushwalkers have a restless nature which prevents them keeping still and resting. I am one of them. I remembered that Mr. A. Parkhill, Commonwealth Minister for Defence, not so long ago gave us a new park area on the North Head peninsula, and which, if I remember rightly, was said to be a pretty good thing, containing a wealth of wild flowers in an undisturbed state, because the area had been locked up for many years.
I decided to visit this Parkhill Park, and arriving at Manly I strolled around to the Ocean Beach and went up the steps at the dressing sheds at South Steyne. Up on top I soon got bushed in dead-end streets and beat about until put right by a bread-carter. He directed me to Darley Road and then to go straight onward. Arriving at the gate, a bronze tablet informed me that this was the entrance to the Park but a new notice board right in front of it said “Closed - No thoroughfare.”
Here was a snag, but after reflecting that I had come a long way for the purpose of seeing the place I slipped in unobserved. As I went along the road I saw a lot of notices telling people not to leave the road.
Along the way I was enjoying the wonderful views and the splendid wild flower show. The flowers were all out at their best. All of a sudden I came across a place where some garden spoilers were dumping dirt all over the flowers. I saw a large gang of men spoiling everything. Walls had been erected, and without making my presence obvious I saw that great gun-pits were being dug. I thought we had enough guns in our parks already without having this one spoiled. I came to the conclusion that apparently the Defence Department had changed its mind about the park and now wanted it back for its awn purposes.
I proceeded towards North Head and was presently rewarded with a wonderful view right down to Ben Buckler outside and our beautiful harbour inside. The view was just as if I were in an aeroplane.
This Parkhill Park is the best situated park we have and I hope that Mr. Parkhill and the Defence Department will leave us this little strip of land at least. I found out later that the Defence authorities had taken back most of Parkhill Park, leaving a small strip at North Head, but nobody may go there until the gun-emplacements have been completed, and this work might take as long as two years.
I notice that if one is not satisfied with the views they have left the Quarantine Cemetery open for one to ramble in and read the tombstones. That is very gracious of them. The road I followed to Quarantine Reserve had a barbed wire fence on each side. If they do not eventually wire in the cliffs I can recommend this place as being a better viewpoint than the Gap or the Harbour Bridge and a far better spot to throw your troubles from and lob a good two hundred feet onto solid rock below.
I got back to the gate and out to Darley Road without any particular difficulty and found a milk bar on the Corso and refreshed myself. Anyone could make this a half-day walk; say two hours from the boat out to North Head and the same back again.
The White Abo.
Away back in the middle of last November the Sydney Bush Walkers staged their annual entertainment. Variation was attained by moving from the St. James Hall to the Savoy, and the change was a happy one. Briefly the night went this wise:-
Rene D. Browne and orchestra served up music. Then four Italianos sang their stuff whilst extras trooped across the stage to a supposed theatre. Unbeknown to most in the audience this indicated they (the audience) were now inside a theatre. Peter Page warbled and eight sumptuously dressed Spaniards, the females displaying nut brown shoulder blades and the menfolk resplendent in white satin, did a dance act with tempo lacking a tingle. By this time the spectators were in a merry mood to enjoy the playfully prancing piggy pranks. A well acted play about a dog was too long - the play not the dog, it might have been different had we seen the object of her affection. In a shorter sketch an eye treat by the name of Marion successfully extracted money from a nervous noodle. A ballet beautiful helped to blow the cobwebs away and made Dame Care just a woman men forget. An interval specially staged by stage men Douglas and Chardon came as a relief to those desiring to consume milk shakes ad lib at a shop around the corner. Those not wishing to look on the milk when it was white talked, and how!
The latest scandals were cut short when the orchestra blared forth more music. Everybody acted well in the tale of the Toad Island Turquoise and the fowl's standard was very high. A very original and clever skit on bush walkers past, present and future provoked oodles of mirth. The Bad Boys' Ballet went with a successful swing with Dunc assuming proportions of a pinnacle as mine host of the tuck shoppe. Four frantic-for-freedom puritans, so dumb and demure they thought Rex Beach was the name of a seaside surf spot, then sang their theme song.
The final scene was the ever popular array of boys and girls looking very service-like in khaki shorts and shirts, some singing, others trying to. The camp fire comedy concerning a king went over big and received AAA. Then came a masterpiece for those to whom the camp fire scene acts as a magnet, an appropriate poem by Dorothy Poet Laureate. And as the embers of the fire burnt lower and lower, Ernie Austen helped the fade out with The Bush Night Song.
Other folks did things, so if you are interested try and secure a copy of the programme. After it was all over I found myself moving along with the mob to the Monterey and after struggling for service lingering on, imbibing sticky sweetmeats served in marvellous Monterey manner, and so to bed after a jolly good show in full keeping with the high standard set by previous Bush Walkery entertainments.
So help me bob,
Jack Der Bert. [Jack Debert]
The term, a comparatively mild one, is not my own; it was the strongest epithet that an English girl, a visitor, could find to describe a half-mile scramble through very thick, semi-tropical scrub flanking the gorge of Minnamurra Creek, some 10 miles inland from Kiama.
That she had cause to use the term, all members of the party agree. To us the going was bad, but to one used to the lanes and ordered beauty of the English countryside, one to whom a walk over a trackless moor would be considered a fairly rough walk, the wild scramble through the scrub must have seemed terrific. At times the tangled growth was so thick we could not see the sky; in places it was interlaced with lawyer vines and trailing monkey-ropes, whilst underfoot was rotted vegetation varying in depth from inches to two feet. Dead trees provided traps for young walkers; beds of nettles had to be traversed, with, here and there, that old friend of walkers, the stinging tree. To complete the picture, we were travelling downhill on a severe grade, which meant that feet were not always under control, and falls were inevitable.
Our objective was Minnamurra Falls, and we had left Sydney on the Saturday. After a short bus trip from Kiama, we were set down in Jamberoo, with a short walk of less than two miles to our camp-site. With the exception of the scrub, we were enjoying a delightful week-end.
As we were all travelling solo and had planned to sleep out, when the weather looked doubtful on Saturday morning, we all took tents, the result being seven tents for nine people, and, although we left two in Kiama, we still had sufficient tents to cover at least twenty people.
Around the camp-fire we used our best endeavours to draw our visitor into a discussion, the object being to discover the feeling of the English people towards Australians in general - and found that we were not exactly venerated, whilst it seems we have a habit of boasting of our harbour. Also, the male of our species is thought to be lacking in manners, although the raconteur had ample evidence to the contrary! We, on our side, did our best to impart knowledge of Australia, some of it not strictly according to fact, at the same time endeavouring to shock the lady by explaining the correct time to use our favourite oath - that is, if there is a correct time. And so, on a strictly educational note, we retired, for we had to be up at 5 a.m.
Sunday dawned dull, and, as we had arisen to time, we set off for Jamberoo Pass at 7-30 a.m., carrying one small pack of fruit and chocolate since we hoped to be back at camp by 1 p.m.
Jamberoo offers a delightful variety of scenery; close at hand are quiet country roads, with cultivated lands and small farms; then, as the road winds along the banks of the creek, come the inevitable casuarinas, with tree ferns.
The road, once a well-used thoroughfare to Robertson, winds up hill by an easy grade, each bend giving some fresh view of the coastal scenery. At last we came to the plateau, from which, looking west, we could see Robertson. Then, shortly, we reached the Power Line, and a wonderful lookout. Below us was heavy bush, further away green fields, and then the sea. North we could see headland after headland reaching into the sea, whilst southward our view was blocked by Saddleback Mountain.
Our leader now pointed out our objective, or, rather, where our objective lay in a deep gorge, and the route he proposed to take, which for a short distance followed the course of the Power Line down over a steep spur, which we negotiated by the aid of iron ladders placed where they could be of the most use. At the foot of the spur we turned to our left, and, after a sharp scramble through the bush, came into a clearing, once a homestead, though the only evidence of the fact now remaining consisted of two or three fenceposts and two lemon trees, liberally laden with ripe fruit.
A pause whilst we gathered a few lemons and chased a black snake, and then, giving a metaphorical hitch to our pants, and hauling up our socks in earnest, we started through the scrub.
The tangle is terrific, and it is necessary to keep moving backwards and forwards to avoid steep cliff faces, and at the same time keep proper direction. It was, therefore, upwards of an hour before our leader and one or two others arrived at the Falls, with sufficient time to spare for a swim before the girls arrived.
Having washed the scars and dust of battle off in a glorious, cold pool at the foot of the falls, we dressed and returned to meet the others as they came through the fringe of the scrub. With pardonable pride in our Australian bush, we asked our visitor for her views on the walk. The answer was candid,
“A lousy walk!”,
and then, to show her aptitude for learning, she added in biting tones,
“A bloody, lousy walk!”
Both epithets were newly learned, and our visitor was entitled to use them. Badly scratched by lawyer vines, a leech clinging affectionately to her leg, she looked far from trim, but her naive use of the adjectives amused us highly, and her accent, hitherto slight, became more marked as the description continued.
Whilst the men scouted around for a mislaid member, the girls bathed, and when next we met, at lunch, the sorrows and tribulations of the morning had been relegated to a back place, and only the humour and pleasure were remembered.
As time was limited, we made a quick lunch, and started off to Jamberoo, but were fortunate in persuading a lorry driver, whom we met a few hundred yards from camp, to drive us into Kiama, where we were in plenty of time to catch our train after inspecting the blue metal quarries.
On the train, as is usual, we discussed the walk, and our visitor informed us that she had done three things that week-end which she had never done before; the first, to walk, or scramble, through rough scrub; the second, to swim in a mountain pool in the nude; and the third, to travel in a lorry; but she forgot to mention the fourth, and this we are sure she had never done before to call a delightful stroll, “A bloody, lousy walk”.
On November 19th. the 8th. Annual Concert of the Sydney Bushwalkers was given at the Savoy Theatre, Sydney. There was a record attendance and the standard of entertainment was in every way equal, if not superior to the forerunners. The Plan was well booked quite early and everybody was most enthusiastic about this annual effort. There was a substantial profit of over £23:0:0 6) which reflects great credit on the organisers and the support given By the Members.
Mr. J. Nangle gave a very interesting talk to Members on the 22nd. November entitled “Stars and their uses, their time and position.”
On Sunday 15th. December the Annual Children's Xmas Treat was held at Lilyvale. A very fine day was spent by both helpers and children. The Social Secretary wishes to record her thanks for the very generous help accorded her on this day. Those members attending worked very hard to make the day a very entertaining and enjoyable one for the children present.
Congratulations to Ada Burling and Clem Armstrong on their engagement,
to Dot and John Hellyer on the birth of a daughter.
Rene D. Browne,
Hon. Social Secretary.