Table of Contents
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A Monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton St., Sydney
Editor: Dorothy Lawry.
Business Manager: J. W. Mullins.
Publication Staff: Misses Clare Kinsella, Kathleen McKay, Dot.English, Mary Stoddart; Messrs. Brian Harvey, Stan.Lumsden, and John R. Wood.
|Tiger for a day||Clare Kinsella||2|
|At our own meeting||4|
|Holiday trip, 0ctober,1937||C. Pryde||5|
|Aboriginal rock paintings & carvings in N.S.W.||F. D. McCarthy||8|
|“Hymn of hate”||Grace Edgecombe||9|
|From here, there, and everywhere||10|
At its July Meeting the Club is making a presentation to one of its “old members” - Rene Dagmar Browne - in recognition of her many years of sterling work as Honorary Social Secretary. As we cry “Hear! Hear:”, we wonder how many of the “new members” realise just how much of the Club's social life is due to the untiring efforts of Rene Browne. She held the thankless position of Hon. Social Secretary from 27th September, 1929,until 13th March, 1936 and again from 12th March, 1937,to 11th March 1938. Where can you find anyone else to equal that record?
We take this opportunity of also expressing our appreciation of Rene's work for this magazine. Probably many of the newer members are not aware that “The Bushwalker” started life as the private venture of five members - Marj. Hill (editor),Brenda White, Rene Browne, Dorothy Lawry, and Myles Dunphy (publication committee) Marj had suggested that the Club should have a magazine, and the General Meeting had said, produce one if you like, and see how you get on. So the first issue of the bi-monthly was published on 1st June 1931, and the venture was so successful that on 13th August 1932, the magazine became “The Sydney Bushwalker”, the official organ of the Club, which then undertook all financial responsibility for it, the same editor and publication committee carrying on. In December, 1932, Brenda White and Marj. Hill changed places, and from then on Brenda did the bulk of the work, but Rene Browne continued to supply the social notes until Marie Byles and a new committee took over after the publication of the August, 1935, issue. For all that work also we say, “Thank you, Rene.”
Tiger for a day
by Clare Kinsella.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I was the fool this day but many a time, as I hung over a breathtaking drop, or slipped, shuddering, across a slimy rock, I felt that I might at any moment join those diffident angels and rather regretted that I had lately neglected my practice on the harp.
How I fell for the trip even now I cannot understand. Some one said, “How about coming to Blackheath next weekend. We're going on Friday night. It'll be an easy trip”. My rabbit mind registered the word “easy”, there was no gypsy about so there was no warning for me to heed. We left on Friday 11th November and slept at the top of Govett's Leap, and early on Saturday morning walked down to the unnamed creek on Rodrigeuz Pass. Here we lazed the day away, eating stupendous meals and swimming many swims in the creek pools. (The older members know this spot as “Syncarpia [not sure of exact spelling. Sync?rpia] Camp” - Ed.).
On Saturday evening we were joined by other folk, most of them sensible people who knew they were of the earth and were quite content to keep their feet on it. Up to this time I had really not given any thought to Sunday's project and it was only when I heard some of the planning for the next day, with frequent mention of the word “rope” that I felt that perhaps now was the time to say “Thanks, I think I'll stay behind”. It was really Alex who unknowingly decided for me. While they were counting up those who intended to do the trip, some kind creature enquired whether Clare would be able to manage it. Alex, with reckless confidence exclaimed, “Oh Clare's all right, you should have seen her climbing on our Cambewarra trip”. Fool that I was, my chest puffed out with pride and I let Alex's recommendation make up my mind. I decided to go.
As Jack Debert was one of the party it is superfluous to say we were awake early and had breakfasted and were ready to leave long before respectable people had opened their eyes to the Sabbath. Hilma Galliot, Edna Garrad and I set off before the others and waited for them where the creek narrowed to a waterfall which plunged into a wide, rock-bound pool. When the others joined us we left the creek and struck up the ridge. Although it was so early, it was already hot and I puffed and panted considerably as I struggled on, and secretly congratulated myself when I found I was not the last arrival at the top. (I was the rabbit out with the tigers which is just about the same as the fox trotting along with the hounds.) Here we had to clamber along single file at the foot of a tall cliff face with a considerable drop to the creek below on our left. There were a few slippery places where Gordon Smith warned us to be careful but I felt that it was quite easy and went on unconcerned.
We at last came to a halt and Dot, who was in the lead, said we could go no further. Our track along the cliff face was broken by a waterfall (Arethusa Falls) which came in on our right. At the extreme edge of it was a small but stout tree with wide spreading branches. We waited here while Dot, with consummate ease, skinned up to reconnoitre. After some little time she returned and said we would have to follow suit, it would be easy going once we scaled the tree.
Easy! It didn't take me long to realise that Dot's definition of the word and my own were just a little different! Phillip Bronowski who had accompanied us thus far, allowed us in turn to clamber barefooted onto his shoulders and thence entwine ourselves in the tree's branches. When I reached this haven Dot, who was somewhere up near the sky, called down to me. “Now Clare just put your right foot on the ledge, give me one hand and hang onto the rope with the other”. I glanced up and saw a slight indentation in the rock some feet above me. I wondered what dictionary Dot used and then, as I essayed this gargantuan stretch at an angle of 89.9°, I wished fervently that the Lord he'd provided me with elastic legs. However I scrambled up with no grace and a few grunts and joined Dot, Doris, Edna, Hilma and Alex at the entrance to a narrow canyon with a turbulent creek twisting among the rocks. Jack and Gordon soon joined us, Phillip shook each of us by the hand, bade us farewell and - and there we were!
There was no earth in the canyons only rock; slimy slippery rock. About 15 feet above us, there were ledges where ferns and small bushes began while far above towered the great trees and the sky was blue end serene.
We went for a few yards along the side of the stream, stepping most carefully on the slippery surface, slinking along narrow shelves with a hand that was a mere ripple in the rock. We came to a rock face lying at an angle of 45° and skidded up this onto a shelf where shrubs and a few flowers grew. We couldn't get past this so decided we'd have to turn back and swim the creek. On the way down I was overcome by an overwhelming panic. My teeth began to chatter and my knees to shake. I could neither go on nor go back and I expected my feet to fly from under me at any moment. My heart just flew into my mouth and I was afraid it might be chopped into mince meat by my chattering teeth, so forced it back to its normal position and went on down. Luckily at this point I Was alone.
For those who might wish to follow our journey step by step, I have_only disappointment to offer because from now on my mind is a confused mess of impressions with a few incidents and feelings standing out in relief.
I know that I slipped and slithered over slimy rocks feeling that the next moment I might be walking up the golden stairs. I know that I scrambled and jumped, swam through icy cold water, pushing my pack wrapped in a ground sheet before me. I know that we laughed and joked and ate chocolate with considerable relish. I remember once jumping onto Gordon's shoulders with the light grace of an elephant. Gordon took it with a calm nonchalance that I envied. After negotiating a difficult spot I couldn't bear to look back at the person who followed for always I could hear that sickening crash on the slippery rock. I heaved myself up ever rocks which only flies were ever meant to climb, always helped and encouraged by Dot, who drawled comfortingly above the constant tumult of the water, “Come on, you re doing splendidly”. I must have been a sad trial to her, she was splendid.
I once read an article by Julian Huxley in which he discussed the question of tigers and their food. Are they, tigers because, of what they eat or do they eat as they do because they are tigers? It sounds a bit like the chicken and the egg and I forgot the answer but what I wondered was if I'd eaten black puddings and drunk buckets of blood, would I have turned into a tiger or would I have remained just a sick rabbit?
We had lunch on a rock the size of a pocket handkerchief and it was decided that we could go no further and would have to return. We had advanced about 700 yards in 7 hours.
The sun had gone and it was extremely cold, the water icy and the canyon seemed to be enveloped in a stygian gloom. Once I tried my pack carelessly and as it turned over and over when swimming it through the creek, the water seeped in adding pounds to its weight.
At last we reached the tree-Doris and Hilma were already down. Dot popped her head up and said “Come on we'll show these men we can get down without a rope. Edna went first and as I waited I was for the second time overcome with panic, my knees shook and my stomach turned like a paddle wheel. I felt an overwhelming desire to burst into tears. Instead I broke into song and pitted my puny voice against the tumult of the falls. The thought came to me that I at least could hear my own voice, weak though it may be. I could control my actions but the waterfall rushed on insentient; this reflection calmed me down and an “I am the captain of my soulish” feeling came over me. All the same I longed for Alex to come with the rope. He didn't, and I got down the tree without mishap. I've heard of returning exiles kissing the soil of their native land. When I felt earth beneath my feet again I felt glad but I did not kiss it, instead I sat on it whenever possible. Narrow ledges which I had disregarded in the morning now appeared terrifying risks. I took them sitting down with the result that when we got back to the camp spot I had no seat in my pants, and I just didn't care. The Horse Track was never ending to me; the tigers of course took it like an early morning stroll. We just caught the last train at Katoomba after a neck to neck race in a car from Blackheath, The trip was officially over but it wasn't over for me for many a long day - or night. For long after I had only to close my eyes and pictures would rush before me with kaleidoscopic variety, precipitous drops, hurtling falls, forming and reforming, always different, always the same. But now I have settled down to a quiet life. I feel that I have “lived” - I have been a tiger for a day!.
At our own meeting
King's Birthday holiday got all mixed up with the June Meeting of the S.B.W.; the Hon. Secretary anxiously counted heads, but breathed again when it was found that there were 25 present. Twenty is a quorum.
Answering a question, the President reported on the first Field Day, held at Morella-karong on 21st/22nd May, for training prospective members in bushcraft. The support was poor, only one prospective and nine members attending (including instructors), but those present had a very interesting time, even the instructors picking up a number of useful hints from each other. This experiment will be repeated, and should grow in popularity.
Mr. Harrison announced that there is a scheme in the air for forming a first aid class amongst club members.
The following new members were welcomed; Mr. Ira Butler, who has been ill since his election in March, Miss Audrey Lumsden (Stan's sister), and Mr. Frank Chin. The two men were appointed joint Room Stewards for the ensuing month.
From the correspondence we learned that Vera Stockman had resigned, and that the Committee had extended the Club's congratulations to Marion and Eric Moroney. Early in May they welcomed their second daughter. We believe she is to be called Norah and we hope to see them all at the next Re-union, as well as at other times and places.
The meeting opened at 8.20 p m. and closed at 8.45 p m. Smart work, Mauriel Yes, the “Tigers” were away!
Holiday trip 2 October, 1937
(continued from June issue)
by N. C. Pryde.
Wednesday 6th (continued) We caused great excitement in Wollombi when we arrived at the local store. Had lunch at the stock-yards and fixed up a blister which had given me trouble, then back to the store and post office for supplies.
A thunder storm which had been threatening all afternoon commenced, and we only went about 2 miles out of Wollombi and made camp on the creek side. The water was not too inviting although flowing over sand, and wood was rather scarce.
Thursday 7th Made an early start - oppressive morning. We crossed the creek, over flats and up into the hills to the range between Wollombi Creek and Bagnells Creek. It was very rough and tiring and there was nothing special to see.
We had a dry lunch and a long spell in the shade on the tops. There are some great flat spaces of bare rock on these tops which reminded us of Merri Merrigal.
A very heavy thunderstorm came on and we made down to the road for shelter from the wind. It was heavy going along the uninteresting road to Paynes Crossing, where we saw a two storied house, and up to Cut Road Creek looking for a camp site. The water in the creek was dirty and we had to go a long way up before we found any place suitable. Dark had come on before the tent was up and so we had dinner by fire light. Both were very tired and sleepy so turned in at 8 o'clock. There was a heavy thunder storm and a roaring wind in the trees on the tops of the surrounding hills.
Friday 8th. A dull grey morning with threatening rain. We were both very much disappointed with the prospects of the creek and had a long discussion as to the best thing to do. There were lots of cockatoos screaming in the trees.
We stayed about the camp and district all morning and after lunch went back to a homestead we had passed on the previous evening, for information. Found Mr Michael Cody in a paddock on Cut Road Creek and had a long yarn with him about the district. He told us a lot about a man called Roberts who had been working in the district for some months on a Military Survey. He promised to draw a sketch map of the route to Howes Valley, and where we would find water. All over the district here, there are great masses of prickly pear, some of which the Cactoblastis grub had eaten out.
We turned in very early, Maurie at 6.30 and myself at 8 o'clock, and had a good night although there were some heavy showers.
Saturday 9th Up about 6 am and just as we were at breakfast, Cody's son came along with the promised map. Left camp at 8 o'clock in very heavy misty rain and had another long talk with Cody. We were unable to determine whether Paynes Crossing originally meant the crossing over Wollombi Creek, or the road over to Howes Valley.
The old road up on to the ranges towards Howes Valley is splendidly graded but very much overgrown. We had a dry lunch near the nine mile post as there is no water there at all, nor in the gullies. About mid-day the rain cleared off and it got very muggy. There is some good timber still on the tops and a few odd views we got were very fine. Rock lilies some in bloom, everywhere.
About 5.15 pm near Turkey Rocks, we left the main track and according to Cody's directions went down a gully for a long distance until we struck water. We made camp and turned in about 9 o'clock on a nice bed of bracken.
Sunday 10th Saw us up at 6 o'clock. There was every promise of a nice day but rain came while we were at breakfast and we had to bundle all up and get into the tent. However, it didn't last long. Some pigs that were about showed great interest in the tent and our doings and there was great difficulty in keeping them away.
Maurie did some washing and had a talk with the owner of the land, Mr. A. A. Ducross of Roseville who afterwards rode up to the camp and offered us a lift into Howes Valley. We went along to his house about 1 o'clock and saw round the place. He had lived in Sydney until about two years ago, and now would not go back. It was wonderful to see what he had achieved in that time, in the way of buildings, pig sties, and general farm work.
He produced a big jug of milk and two tumblers and without much persuasion Maurie and I helped ourselves. His wife and another lady got in the front of the lorry with their tennis racquets, etc. while Maurie and I got in at the back. The road was very bumpy and we had a job at times to hang on. Just as we got to Howes Valley main settlement where the tennis court and school house are, rain started heavily and we had to say “Good-bye” in a hurry. We made down a creek and got on to a good camp site but were well wet. The rain, however, cleared off after about an hour and we had a look around. Up on the hillside we came on a cave that had been used by blacks and had their character- istic hand-markings on the walls and ceiling, but unfortunately some of the locals had spoiled them with initials and letterings. In some of the caves there were numbers of Martens nests. We made a good fire and after dinner I made a damper which turned out fair. During the night a dense fog came on which lasted until well on in the following morning. The water in the creek was good but very low and we had to scoop out sand and fill the billies with a mug. (to be completed in our next issue)
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its road.
Paddy wants some help
A bigger, better and brighter edition of Paddy's Booklet, “Bushwalking & Camping”, is now in course of preparation, the first edition being almost exhausted.
In all modesty Paddy feels that this unpretentious booklet has rendered useful service to the walking fraternity and he is anxious to enlarge the scope and increase the usefulness of this little compendium.
If therefore you have any suggetions to make of means whereby the usefulness and interest of the book may be increased please ring, write or call on Paddy and tell him all about it.
Suggestions are invited for New sections and Alterations or enlargements of existing items
Every camper knows some tip which might be useful to his fellow enthusiasts. Jot yours down and let Paddy have it for inclusion in a series of Pithy Pars, Walking Wisdom or Tips for Trampers.
F. A. PALLIN,
327 George St., SYDNEY.
From the report on_the Federation Meeting. of 27th May last we learn that Mr. N. Melville resigned as Hon. Organiser of the Federation Ball and Mrs.Hilda Blunt was elected to the position; that the ball will be held at Mark Foys on Tuesday August 9th and that tickets are 7/6d each.
At this meeting, the Council of the Federation elected the following gentlemen to be members of the newly formed Conservation Bureau:- Messrs. Warner, Roberts, Herbery, Lowndes, Harvard, Atkinson, Jacobs, D.G.Stead, Colley, Watson, Melville and Savage.
The first business referred to the Bureau was an offer of sale of some land at North Era, which the owner had made to the Federation.
Two matters arising from correspondence were the reservation of the 140 acres which formerly constituted Milligan's Lease and the suggested leasing of a picnicking area at Otford. It was hoped that both areas would become part of the Garawarra Park. Efforts are being made to have Garrawarra Park surveyed and the boundaries clearly defined and marked.
Aboriginal rock paintings and carvings in NSW
By F. D. McCarthy,
Department of Anthropology Australian Museum.
The extraordinary number of rock paintings and carvings in New South Wales, especially in the Sydney district, is of great interest to scientists, bush walkers, and the public, to the latter if only as a medium for vandalism and the writing of engraving of their names and date of visit.
These rock drawings are records of incidents in hunting, of the natural species which figured as totems of the various clans constituting a tribe, and of spiritual culture-heroes who created the people and gave to them their customs, weapons and other objects employed; evolved their kinship and social organisation, their laws and rites, and to whom appeal is made in ceremonies for abundant food. Thus the carvings form sites in many cases at which initiation, totemic, and historical ceremonies were held, and are an important record of the ritual life of the aborigines. In addition, they are valuable examples of aboriginal art.
Not much actual research has been carried out in this important field of local anthropology and before study of them can be of a comprehensive nature it is essential that the location of all Carvings and paintings be accurately plotted on maps; A scheme is now in hand whereby it is hoped that this work will be carried out.
A great deal of mutilation and destruction of carvings and paintings has taken place. I know of groups from which figures have been cut out of the rock surface and taken away. The spread of settlement on the outskirts of the city is one of the most serious factors militating against their preservation; in practically all instances where homes have been built near groups of carvings and paintings the occupants, and especially their children, have added lines, re-cut the engravings, written and carved their names over them, and otherwise defaced the work of the aborigines. Instead of committing such vandalism people who live near such valuable historical relics should appoint themselves guardians and take care that no one is allowed to tamper with them. Other people inconvenience themselves by a long and sometimes uncomfortable journey to see rock paintings but, after viewing them, deliberately deface the drawings, ignoring the fact that more people will visit the site after them.
All caves containing paintings should have a steel wire grille erected to close the entrance to the cave, but still permitting visitors to see the paintings. It is the aim of the Australian Museum to have all cave paintings in New South Wales protected in this manner.
In most other countries there is legislation in force for the protection and preservation of carvings and paintings, with heavy penalties for vandals who mutilate them, but unfortunately such laws are not in force in New South Vales. There are laws for the protection and conservation of the native fauna and flora, but none for the aboriginal relics, such as paintings and carvings, arrangements of stones, weapons and other objects, and sites of prehistoric value.
So I will build my alter in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee
-S. T. Coleridge.
Hymn of hate
By Grace Edgecombe
Oh, how I hate the race of packs;
I'd like to hit mine with an axe.
I'd like to bust it right in two,
Or beet it till it's black and blue! \\I'd like to fling it in the sea, \\Or jump upon it, savagely!
How dare it sit and mock at me,
Knowing that it must carried be?
How dare it grin, with beastly bulge,
And naught but ribald mirth divulge?
And does it feed upon the air,
That it grows daily heavier?
Or slyly suck my puny strength
And take my breadth, and leave but length?
Just watch it try to break my neck,
Using me as a landing-deck
Pompous pincushion! Loathsome lump!
I vow you ne'er again I'll hump
A POINT TO REMEMBER If you carry an iron-frame rucksack, remember to take it off before trying to get an accurate reading with a prismatic compass. Experiments have shown that an iron frame on your back would alter the compass reading by as much as three degrees.
For the ordinary, rough and ready compass reading needed to follow a route, you can forget about the pull on your compass caused by your pack
From here there and everywhere
In a booklet called “Organised One day, Weekend and Vacation Hiking Trips in North-eastern States” - published by The Hiking Trips Bureau of Hokokus, New Jersey, U.S.A., we found the following quotation from the bulletin of an inland (U.S.A.) hiking club:
“We are a simple organization. Simple Simon is our patron saint. We are simply a hiking club taking simple little walks, and have thirty committees to direct this activity.”
And we thought we were quite a club!. The S.B.W. would hardly be mentioned amongst the “also rans”, even if the items we have pushed off onto the Federation were included.
By the way, the Federation's Search & Rescue Section is having a practice on the weekend 13th/14th August. It should be good fun, so book those dates. Jack Debert has been seeking volunteers to get “lost” with him. If you prefer to be a searcher, there will be plenty of scope for you. If you don't come on the stunt, you may have to turn out during the following week to search for the searchers. The practice won't be held in George Street.
Congratulations to the Publishing Committee of the C.M.W.! We have just been enjoying the June issue of their magazine - “Into the Blue”. It is a 24-page issue of entertaining articles in which the reader can roam the world, and all the work of publication was done voluntarily by their own members!
Here's good news for the mountaineers and skiers amongst us! The June, 1938, number of the “New Zealand Alpine Journal” has just been received. As usual, it is profusely illustrated with magnificent photos, as well as being full of records of First Ascents or so it seems to a mere walker.
Where rose the mountains, there to him were friends;
Where roll'd the ocean, thereon was his home;
Where a blue sky, a glowing clime, extends,
He had the passion and the power to roam,
Were unto him companionship; they spake
A mutual language, clearer than the tome
Of his land's tongue, which he would oft forsake
For Nature's pages glassed by sunbeams on the lake.
When I look at those trees growing right from the ground, I seem to feel something mysterious which comes from the trees and from the mother earth herself. And I seem to be living in them and they in me and with me. I do not know whether this communion could be called spiritual or not. I have no time to call it anything. I am just satisfied.
Susuki of Japan.
Who was it said, “The pack is mightier than the poet”? We hope he was wrong - but Grace has disappeared rather suddenly. Oh, some of her friends say they have had letters; she is teaching in a girls' school at Tamworth. Sounds rather like going into a convent to keep a vow, doesn't it? I do hope that the call of the surrounding hills will be so strong she will just have to shoulder her pack and go off geologising. By the way, anyone else who may be thinking of departing to teach the young should take Grace's friendly warning- Don't let your girl friends sew name-tags on your pyjamas, unless you watch them all the time!
Our Hon.Historian, Charlie Pryde, is starting to dig back into local history far beyond the foundation of the S.B.W. He is now wanting to form a Rock Carving Section (no, it will have nothing at all in common with the Rock Climbing Section, except that both are formed of members of the S.B,W). Everyone who is really interested in aboriginal rock carvings for their own sake (and also all those who think a study of the carvings would be a good excuse for plenty of not too energetic weekends) should get in touch with Charlie for details. There is a lot of interesting work to be done in this direction, and it has real scientific value, too.
Were you at the Stunt Evening at the Club on Friday, May 27th? It was a new idea of the Social Committee, and a great success. As usual, Ray Bean excelled as an entertainer, and his stunt won the “most astounding prize” of - a bag of marbles.
Another very enjoyable entertainment arranged by the Social Committee, and supported by fifty-four members and friends, was a “gods-party” to “George & Margaret” on Wednesday, June 15th. The comedy was most amusing and, of course, the company excellent, so we all had a very happy evening.
The next offering from the Social Committee is the first dance of the season, which is to be held on June 29th, and they are hinting that they have something unusual for our entertainment. By the time you read this, you will know a lot more about it than I can tell you now.
Were you one of the crowd who turned up at the Club Rooms on June 17th to find out what the Social Committee considered was a “Scotsman's Night”, or couldn't you get along? What was the idea? Just another freo evening.
There was a road ran past our house
Too lovely to explore.
I asked my mother once - she said
That if you followed where it led
It brought you to the milkman's door.
(That's why I have not travelled more.)
- E. St. V. Millay.