Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker
Monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney
No.70 Price 3d.
|Acting Business Manager and Production||Brian Harvey|
|Subscriptions||Ordinary, Doreen Harris “On Service” Grace Jolly|
|Other members of the Publication Staff||Jessie Martin, Merle Hamilton, Mary Stoddart, and Arthur Salmon|
|At Our Own Meeting||Page 2|
|Phyllis Roots - An Appreciation||Page 3|
|Katoomba-Kanangra-Katoomba by W.T.W.||Page 4|
|Case Book of Dr.Dolittle,No.2 - Paddy's Advt.||Page 7|
|Around Australia's Capital by Bertie Whinier||Page 8|
|Another Letter from R.C.C.'s Mapping Section||Page 10|
|Goodman Bros. - Advertisement||Page 11|
|Federation Notes||Page 12|
|Search & Rescue Week End||Page 13|
|Club Gossip||Page 15|
|Memory Corner||Page 16|
There are such things as walking clubs whose members only meet at weekends to go walking together, but the S.B.W.. has never been like that. Jack Debert has reminded us again and again, “after all, this is a walking club!” and why – because the S.B.W. is also a focal point round which the lives of its members are built. Its activities are so varied that each member can find scope for his or her talent - administrative, social, artistic or literary!
For the information of the newer members, as well as the entertainment of all our readers, and, maybe the inspiration of some with a talent for weaving words, in this issue we start a new feature - “Memory Corner”. There we propose to republish each month one of the Club Songs with a short account of the story that lies behind it, or a tale of one of the early adventures of Club Members, or an article or poem that has appeared in a previous issue of this magazine.
Old members are invited to supply material for “Memory Corner” and everyone is invited to produce songs or articles, etc. to carry on the S.B.W. traditions.
At Our Own Meeting
Two new members were welcomed at the Half-Yearly Meeting on 13th September, they were, Miss Beverley Druce and Mr. Noel Haviland.
At the same meeting we learned of the resignation of Daryl O'Dea from membership, and of Tom Moppett from the position of Honorary Secretary. These days Tom is wearing the badge of the R.A.A.F. Reserve.
The Club's £100 “nest egg” is also doing War Work now; the Committee has received an acknowledgment from the Federal Treasurer of this contribution to the Interest Free Loan.
We are glad the Hon.Social Secretary is still managing to show a small profit on each function. He reported that ninety one people enjoyed the dinner dance at Elizabeth Bay House on August 28th, and there was a profit of 3/8d.!
Certificates were presented to Winners of the various events at the recent Sports Carnival and, on behalf of those members who were at the Carnival, the President handed Bill Henley a memento of the occasion, which was his birthday as well as a very busy day for him as handicapper, starter and judge. Could we hold a Carnival without Bill? We doubt it.
At about this point the Chairman took the opportunity of expressing the Club's appreciation of Tom Moppetts work As Hon.Secretary and its gratification that Jean Trimble, who has been Tom's Assistant, was prepared to carry on as Hon.Secretary.
Next came the important business of, electing a number of new officers, namely:-
|Honorary Secretary||Jean Trimble|
|Hon.Assistant Secretary||Joyce Trimble|
|Committee Member||Winifred Duncombe (Dunc.)|
|Convenor of Sub-committee re Club Rooms||L.G.Harrison (Mouldy)|
|Substitute Delegate to Federation||Dorothy Lawry|
|Honorary Organiser for 1940 Concert||Joan Savage|
Six jobs filled, just like that!
Then Sub-section (kk) of Section 5 of the Constitution had two sentences added to it, as forecast in the notice of the meeting.
Last, but not least, the President announced that recently it had been noticed that there was a growing practice of taking dogs on official trips. After due consideration the Committee had decided, for a number of reasons, to request members to refrain from taking dogs on official trips. One of the most serious reasons for this ban is that dogs naturally run on ahead, particularly when they are thirsty and scent water. With running streams practically nonexistent and even pools very rare owing to the drought, every care has to be taken with drinking water - and most humans don't like drinking after dogs, - so, no dogs on bushwalks while the drought lasts, please!!
Before proceeding to the business of the Half-Yearly Meeting our President very sorrowfully announced the death of one of the Club's most valued members - Phil Roots - and paid a tribute to the work both Wal and Phil had done for the Club during their eleven years of membership.
Some of us had already heard that Phil's sufferings had ended on September 4th and had expressed to Wal our deep sympathy for him and the three “Imps”. Well all endorsed Richard Croker's remarks on the splendid member the Club has lost, and realised that we shall not meet her like again.
Within a year of joining the SBW Wal and Phil had stepped into the breach and accepted the positions of Hon.Secretary and Hon.Assistant Secretary which they filled so ably for four years. Then Phil became a member of the Social Committee for the following twelve months, before being elected Hon.Social Secretary by the General Meeting that made Wal our President. Unhappily for the Sydney Bushwalkers, within six months Wal was promoted by his firm to open a branch in Brisbane and so “the Rootses” had to withdraw from the service of the Club and the Federation, of which he was also President. (Though they have been living, in Queensland for the past three years, Wal and Phil cherished their bushwalking memories and their bushwalking friends, and for them the big event of each year was their visit to Sydney and the Blue Mountains. This year alas, Wall alone is revisiting the old, well-loved camps).
In addition to all the work she did for the SBW Phil ran their home most efficiently and trained their three kiddies - there was only Gweneth when Phil became our Honorary Assistant Secretary - and both she and Wal were among the most active walkers in the Club.
If any man could echo Robert Louis Stevenson's tribute to his wife it is Wal Roots.
“Trusty, dusky, vivid, true With eyes of gold and bramble-dew, Steel-true and blade-straight, The great artificer Made by mate.
“Honour, anger, valour, fire; A love that fire could never tire, Death quench or evil sir, The mighty master Gave to her.
“Teacher, tender, comrade, wife, A fellow-farer true through life, Heart-whole and soul-free The august father Gave to me.”
Katoomba - Kanangra - Katoomba
Having caught an early train which left town at 5.17 p m. on Friday, 7th June last, we reached Katoomba, the jumping-off point for so many trips, at about 7.30 p.m.
Reinforced with hot coffee to keep off cold and drowsiness, we took a car to the top of the Devils Hole, whence we set off at eight o'clock. Devil's Hole, always a drag at the end of a long trip, proved of little trouble at the beginning of this one and, after slipping and sliding on loose rocks and wet logs, we reached the foot in good time and began to lengthen out on the flat, easy track.
On a moonlight night Megalong Valley offers many attractions to the walker who is willing to forego a few hours sleep in order to cover a large part of the walk on Friday night. To the east Narrow Neck towers above, large and majestic, brightly lit on its great, bare rock faces, and dark and mysterious in sheltered corners where the moon does not penetrate. One strides through an avenue of tall gums, between the limbs and foliage of which the moonlight shin, casting fantastic shadows on the white track.
The Cox was reached, via Black Jerrys Ridge, at 10.45 p.m. and a halt was called for chocolate. Then on once again, this time accompanied by the pleasant sound of the river flowing placidly by our sides. Truly, the river banks are alive at night! 'Possums, wallabies and other fauna scattered to one side with many a rustling as we came along, disturbing their nocturnal gatherings.
Towards midnight, an opening on our right indicated that we had reached Jenolan River and Breakfast Creek showed up about forty minutes later. Finally. We halted at 1.00 a.m., a little above Heartbreaker, and, after cocoa, crawled into our sleeping-bags to sleep soundly until 5.30 a.m.
We were away rather later than hoped (at 6.40 a m.), walking down the Cox in the early morning was very pleasant, and exhilarating, and we were quite warm when Konangaroo was reached at 8.27 a.m. Here we had chocolate and a few minutes conversation with Mr.Carlon, Brian Harvey and Alf.Watts, who were camping there for several days.
Arthur and I, who were inclined to race ahead, reached Kanangra Creek a few minutes ahead of the other two and, at 9.42 we all proceeded up the Creek, in which there was little water, and, for many long stretches, only boulders covered with dry, green slime indicated where water once flowed in abundance. However, higher up, where the Gorge becomes narrower, water was more plentiful.
We were astonished at the number of wombats to be found on the river banks as we went along. Apparently the dry conditions are driving them more and more to the main waterways for subsistence. Until recently, wombats were quite a novelty, but now one meets them at every bend.
We stopped for lunch promptly at noon and secured a well-earned rest until 1.10 p.m. Shortly after resuming, we obtained our first glimpse of Kanangra Walls, still a long way off, but becoming rapidly closer. We were all very delighted to be in sight of our objective and to know that we were well up to schedule.
At 1.50 p.m. we judged that we must be below Crafts Wall, and the great ascent began. The spur chosen was steep but not difficult and, after fighting our way through patches of thick mountain holly, we finally reached the Walls at 2.45 p m. we suckled oranges and surveyed the long slope up which we had come, for fifteen minutes, and then on once again. Soon we were on top of the main walls, enjoying once again the thrilling breathtaking view of Gangerang, rising step by step from High and Mighty to Cloudmaker, of Thyrat [Thurat], of Kanangra Deep and The Spires [Thurat Spires], and then, to the south, of the magnificent Kowmung country. No matter how many, times one goes to Kanangra, one can never tire of the glorious cyclorama one obtains from the many vantage points, nor can one forget the first inspiring view of one's first visit.
As the afternoon was well advanced, Ron and Norm decided to waste no time, and left immediately to pick up the Gingra Track, for we hoped to reach the Kowmung that night. Arthur and I wishing to complete the tour, hurried along to the famous dance-floor cave, where, incidentally, we found no water. At 4.15 p.m. we set out along the Gingra, and found good, running water about twenty minutes down the track. Darkness had fallen before we caught up with Ron and Norm, and we still had a considerable way to go. Most of the way the track is good, and easy to follow even at night, but in one or two spots one is liable to go astray. This we did on Third Top. Instead of keeping to the crown of the ridge, the track skirts round on the left side of the Top, and the ridge changes direction slightly, bearing to the left. Anyhow, we kept to the top of the ridge and continued on until we found that we were going south instead of north-east. We retraced our steps to the summit of Third Top and endeavoured to pick up the track. We were unable to do this in the darkness and finally, after long discussion, we decided to make a dry camp where we were though it was only 8.00 p.m. Fortunately a plentiful supply of wood was available, and, despite the stony nature of the ground, all were asleep by 9.30 p.m.
Sunday morning found us up early and, after a hasty breakfast of biscuits and dates, looking for the track at about 6.30 a.m. I fear that, in our hurry to be off again, we failed to appreciate sufficiently the beauty of the sunrise as dawn broke over the distant mountains. We soon picked up the track, and in under two hours Arthur and I were speeding down the gentle slope of Gingra to the Kowmung with the others only a few minutes behind. We spent from 8.20 a.m. to 10.25 a.m. having a swim and breakfast, and discussing our ill fortune in missing the track on the previous evening.
We set off rather more slowly after breakfast in order to allow our somewhat liberal meals to settle. However, we soon quickened up on the easy cowpads as we were rather behind schedule, and, after picking our way through the massive rock formations of the Lower Kowmung Canyon, reached the Cox at 1.20 p m. We spent twenty five minutes here for a snack, but not too much, as we had now to climb White Dog, which we did, reaching Kelpie Rocks at 2.30 p.m. Although not comparable with that from Splendour Rock, the view from here is pleasant; one can see a large stretch of the Cox, bordered with casuarinas and grassy banks, and one notices regretfully the wide expanse of dry sand and the narrow stretch of water, glistening here and there with sunlight, where once a full stream flowed.
From Kelpie Rocks we followed a well-defined ridge towards the base of Mt Mouin, and then turned and headed for Debert's Nob [Mt Debert]. Clear Hill was scaled by 4.25 p.m. and ten minutes later, we were beginning the long-familiar walk into Katoomba. Darkness soon fell upon us, and so, for the third night in succession, we walked by torchlight, but on this occasion in order to catch a train. By this time all our batteries, with the exception of Norm's, were very low and we had to pick our way carefully in many parts.
At last, at 7.25 p.m. we reached the Tourist Road on Narrow Neck and soon were in the Golf Club, whence we rang for a car, and where we met very kind hospitality, in the form of milk and cream cakes. These were consumed with relish for we had had no real lunch that day.
Before the train arrived at 8 p.m. we managed to pick up a billy-full of plum-pudding as well as apple-pies and cream, which had been ordered in anticipation on the previous Friday night, and to these you may rest assured we did justice.
Thus concluded an eighty one mile week-end walk from Katoomba to Kanangra Walls and back.
"Sugar Tests Purity Of Drinking Water" !!!
Two or three months ago the SBW Library received a present of some books, amongst which was the “Sportsman's Manual” 1937 Edition, an American publication. One member who had been browsing through this Manual was so taken with the following “Handy Kink For Outdoor Enthusiasts” that he suggested the reprinting of this.
“A simple, but effective method for testing the purity of drinking water is through the use of sugar. If your summer camp's water supply is not pure you can make the test by collecting a gallon of the water in a glass jar and dissolving in it a quantity of sugar. Allow the jar of water to set for one week and at the end of this period if the sugar, shows no signs of discoloration it is safe to drink. Otherwise it will be necessary to boil all water before using it so as to render it pure.”
As the test takes one week, what does one do for a drink in the meantime !!!
Around Australia's Capital
by Bertie Whillier
We packed our cases onto my mobile frigidaire, an Overland Whippet of ancient vintage hereinafter called “Bertha”, and then the wife and I set off for the Australian Capital Territory, where I expected to find work during the winter and spend the weekends exploring the fine Mountain and river country surrounding Canberra.
We found this city very pretty, and were much impressed with the autumn tints of the imported trees; there have been eighteen million trees and shrubs planted around Canberra. Playing fields abound, the majority of them completely surrounded by beautiful trees, which serve as very necessary windbreaks.
The longing for high places forced me to rush to the mountains at the first opportunity. We were able to take “Bertha” four miles past the Mt. Franklin Chalet along the new road. Then a couple of miles walk through beautiful, undulating, hilly country, with little valleys and nice grassy flats, took us to Stockyard Creek Hut, situated in a nice woodland glade, with snow gums in the majority. This is a Federal Forestry hut and is usually deserted, the ranger riding up once a month to read the raingauge.
After a Moderate breakfast (do I hear cries of Shame?) - not a pound of prunes, either- we followed a grassy track that steadily wound uphill to the saddle, over which we saw a beautiful alpine swamp. Swamps are usually nasty affairs, but alpine swamps are criss-crossed by little clear creeks, which run through soft, featherbed moss, dotted abundantly with flowers. Ev. and I crossed Gingera flats, as this beauty spot is called, myself going first and testing the moss and finding jumping-off places to cross these little creeks. We then ascended about 500 ft. or 600 ft. to the summit of Mt Bimberi (6274 ft.) and the highest peak in the Territory. To the south lay the snow-covered pain range, of Kosciusko and, nearer to us, the swampy plains near the Monaro Highway.
Another Week-end we set out to climb Mt Corree, which we had noticed on the way to Mt Franklin. It lies off the main ridge. Down below it nestled a big clearing which looked, and was a campers' paradise. There is a shelter shed here, with a nice, big, open fireplace.
Then we set out early next morning, in the pack was a clothes line rope which I doubled for use. We headed for a big outcrop of rocks. These great outcrops of rock are firm, with plenty of hand and foot holds. It was Ev's first experience of rock-climbing and she took to it like a duck to water. From the summit we had a marvellous view; looking eastwards we could see Canberra, while to the west was Brindabella Mountain and the homestead clearing. The only thing that spoils the climbing in this part is that there are a dozen easy ways up, but, if one keeps to the rocks, rock-climbing the equal of any I have ever seen is encountered.
Next we went to Tidbinbilla Mt., which is also off the main range and lies at the head of a fertile Valley, ringed in with mountains. Ev. and I climbed up to Fishers Gap, then right along the ridge, which for about half a mile is only a few feet wide and often only a knife-edge of rock with a steep arop on both sides - on the western side the Cotter catchment area and on the other Tidbinbilla Valley. Across the Cotter Valley lies the main range of the Federal Territory with Mts. Bimberi, Ginini, Gingera and Franklin, etc., in view. It took us about three hours to reach the summit (5124 ft.) from Fisher's Gap.
A very poor snow season disappointed us as we had hoped to do quite a lot of ski-ing but we managed three week-ends on the snow. Living in Canberra, I was able to observe the snowfalls working up. The first sign would be some streaky, high cloud in the N. over the mountains. Then, in a few hours, a few black, rolling clouds low down underneath the higher, smooth, starchy-looking clouds. Gradually it would get darker until black clouds covered the mountains and cold showers, borne on a gusty, blustering wind, would be our lot in Canberra. Next morning we would see all the mountains beautiful with snow-capped summits and we would plan for a ski-ing week-end.
The Murrumbidgee attracted us next, so we set off one Friday night in “Bertha” and camped near the bridge close to the Cotter Dam. Leaving “Bertha” there and heading downstream, the going was good - grassy flats on each side of the river. Willows grew in abundance. The Murrumbidgee on this stretch is a swift-flowing river, fairly deep and wide, with plenty of rapids to delight the eye. The sides are mainly green hills about 300 ft. to 500 ft. high, sometimes tree-covered, mostly grass covered.
That night we camped about fifteen miles downstream and next morning, leaving the packs, we walked on a bit further and came to a big gorge where the river deepened and the banks were changed to sandy beaches that would be wonderful for swimming in the summer. Our objective was Ginninderra Creek, up which (according to the map) Were to be found 70 ft. falls. This creek reminded me very much of Jenolan River, being the same size and possessing clear, blue water and beautiful, rocky pools in deep gorges. Three hundred yards from the junction we found a fall 40 ft. or 50 ft, high and, after admiring the cascading water, we pushed on about l.5 miles upstream, where the creek-bed became a big pool of deep blue, which looked bottomless. Falling straight down 70 ft. or so into it was a waterfall that beggars description.
After taking photos, we decided to go back to our camp over the tops and, it being a very clear day, we could see all the main range as well as the river winding below us. We crossed the river at the Uriarra Creek Bridge and walked back to the Cotter on the opposite side of the river.
While walking upstream, we saw a few ripples in midstream, then a black shape which we identified as a platypus, which we watched for quite a while till he disappeared finally.
At last we rejoined “Bertha”, who was waiting patiently for us. Thus ended a very enjoyable trip and one which I would recommend to all bushwalkers for a holiday, week-end.
Looking over the map one night, Ev. and I saw the legend “London Bridge Limestone Caves” so we thought, “Next week-end we go, Yes? No?”. Having decided, “Yes”, off we galloped in “Bertha” over the “Bumpety Road to Love” on the other side of Queanbeyan to the upper reaches of the Queanbeyan River, which we found very beautiful and flowing peacefully along - in size equal to our own Cox's River in better days.
Maps sometimes lie, and three o'clock that afternoon found us still looking for the aforementioned caves. Eventually, we followed a small creek up and, lo and behold: or do mine eyes deceive me?. I see limestone formations. “No”, says Ev., sceptical like most wives. “Yes”, said I, and yes it was. The caves are unique, the ridge running down right across the stream and, through the ridge, a tunnel perhaps 30 ft. high and 30 ft. or 40 ft. wide with a sandy, rocky floor over which flowed the stream we had followed up. The name “London Bridge” was very apt. On each side of the ridge caves opened but one could not go very far in as they were not opened up properly.
Caves are also marked on the map close to the Cotter Dam, on Paddy's River just before it joins the Cotter River. These we found on the side of a hill, with a door opening into the bowels of the earth. It was a large cave, a hundred feet or so high, with many small caverns opening into it. It looked as though it had been opened up, then forgotten. I do not think many people who go to the Cotter Dam know of this cave, which has some very good formations.
All the trips we did were within forty miles radius of Canberra so it can be seen what a paradise for bushwalkers Australia's capital territory is.
Another Letter From The River Canoe Club's Mapping Section
“Dear Miss Lawry,
The following map has now been completed and added to our library:-
No.20. Canoeist's Chart of the Warragamba and Nepean Rivers – Cox Junction to Penrith Section.
This is a sort of 'historical' record of the river as we once knew it; a supplementary map showing the extent of the dammed water will be later drawn to accompany this map, and thus we will have maps of the river in both 'before and after' processes.
C. CAINES PHILLIPS,
In August the Federation donated £10 to the Garawarra Park Trust to enable it to carry on until about October as its funds were exhausted and the question of Government grants to public parks would not be receiving consideration for some weeks. Delegates were glad to hear in September that the Trust had subsequently secured a Government “advance” of £8 against its possible grant.
One of the Federation's Associate Members would like to correspond with some active member of one of the clubs so that he could hear more of what is done by bushwalkers in N.S.W. He is Mr. S.W.Merrin, of 44 Harries Street, Toowoomba, Qld, and he would be most interested in the news and views of someone of about his own age, which is nineteen.
The Bush Tracks Club has withdrawn from the Federation, it was one of the original clubs to be affiliated.
The Council would be interested to have the views of Club members on Marie Byles's suggestion that the next Annual Conference should be held on a Saturday night round a camp fire somewhere close to Sydney.
Not long ago a Youth Hostels Association was established in Victoria and we understand it is making satisfactory progress. There is now a movement afoot to start a Youth Hostel Association in N.S.W. and its sponsors have approached the Federation seeking support, and offering representation on the directorate. While it is felt that experienced bushwalkers will almost certainly continue to camp, there are many ways in which our knowledge could greatly assist this new movement, and some ways in which it could help our members, such as by providing places where food could be bought if and when its hostels extend to the wilds of the mountains. The Federation has, therefore, decided to accept the invitation of the Health and Happiness Movement (which is supported by the National Fitness Council), so the bushwalking clubs, through their accredited representatives, will be co-operating in the establishment of Youth Hostels round the Sydney district.
"Are You Living Where You're Living Now, Or Have You Moved Away?"
Of course, we all know our Hon.Secretaries are remarkably clever as well as enthusiastic and hard working, but we do think it is a little hard to expect them to know by instinct, intuition or clairvoyance, our new addresses, so - Don't forget to let out new Secretary, Jean Moppett, know when you move. In fact, it would be a, good idea to check up and see what address she has for you. If it is the one you gave the club not the last time you moved, but the time before that, you won't get your notices, or anything else of interest from the Club.
The Search And Rescue Weekend
By our Special Reporter
Owing to so many of the organizers and members of the Search and Rescue Section being in camp and otherwise tied up with the “Services”, the Committee decided not to conduct a practice Search with “lost parties” etc, as in previous years, but, instead, to hold a Field weekend featuring Bush First Aid.
This function was held on the second weekend in September at Norton's Basin on the Nepean River. Fifty odd walkers, representing about seven of the Federated Clubs, gathered on the Skipper's launch at Penrith on the Saturday afternoon She was soon under weight and with chatter, jokes and the tinkle of the pianola the time passed quickly until the end of the launch trip. To ferry the folks over to the usual campsite a skiff was provided and a privately owned canoe also did its bit. It took a fair while to get the whole party over in the leaky boat and tiny canoe and all sorts of predictions were made by those watching on the banks, but the task of transporting the entire party, about six at a time, was eventually accomplished without mishap.
Campsites were chosen, food parties re-united, firewood collected and the usual hundred and one camp tasks were soon well in hand. Tents sprang up like mushrooms, and then the owner of the land rode up on his horse and collected 6d per tent camping fee.
Soon the smoke of many little fires filled the air and the rays of the setting sun gilded the smoke until it became a golden haze. The sizzle of cooking meat and the odors of steaming vegetables and the many other things dear to the hearts and stomachs of the bushwalkers were wafted down the evening breeze.
The meal disposed of, anticipatory thoughts turned to the big communal campfire. Soon it was set and lit. The company began to assemble, strolling up in groups and singly, each armed with groundsheet and other protection against cold and damp.
We were fortunate in having as a guest at this campfire, Mr.Kirkland, an American who wanders round the world to secure pictures for the magazine “Life”. The Dept. of Information sent him along to our weekend camp. He seemed to enjoy himself and to like what he saw of the country in that area, despite the drought conditions. His one or two stories told at the campfire, in his fascinating American accent, were certainly a great success and “went over, big”
It was a beautiful night; the full moon poured a peaceful silver glow over the scene. Lounging round the campfire, singing and laughing with their pals, probably many folks felt a depth of thankfulness and gratitude that they could so enjoy the beauty of the night's serenity in peace and security, unlike so many people in other parts of the world where the rays of that same moon were perhaps being used by the doers destruction. How fortunate we people are, specially we who have learned to appreciate and partake of the benefits and blessings of the bushland!
With songs, recitations and talk the evening passed away and the fire died. The folks drifted off to bed. Several people have since said that it was one of the happiest campfires the had attended for a long time.
The Sunday was a gorgeous, sparkling day and at 9 a m., or thereabouts, the lectures began. The first, was by a young member of the Y.M.C.A. Ramblers. He demonstrated how to make a stretcher of the materials to be found in the bush, describing the construction step by step as he went along. It was soon assembled and a groundsheet and sleeping-bag lashed on top for comfort. Then one of the not-so-light-weight girls was placed on it to try its strength, also the strength of the bearers who gave a demonstration of the methods of carrying a patient.
The next talk and demonstration was given by Albert Crandon of the Mountain Trails Club assisted by Brian Harvey of the S.B.W. They spoke on how to treat and care for an injured person and showed how to handle a broken leg, making use of whatever material could be found for splints, bandages etc. The “victim” was young Tim Coffey of the S.B.W. and the backchat between Tim and his pals in the group was really funny. But the joke was soon over and everyone settled down to listen and learn all they could.
After the “broken leg” was mended and released, the folks gathered round Albert and Brian and looked at diagrams and asked questions dealing with the treatments of various accidents, sicknesses etc. likely to occur in the bush, and so on till lunch time.
The afternoon was more or less “free choice”. Some people went swimming in Norton's Basin and some climbed around the hills nearby and others just lay in the sun and snoozed.
Then it was time to pack up and be ferried across the river again to catch the 4.30 p.m. launch.
Well, the skiff and canoe did yeoman service, plying back and forth from bank to bank loaded to the plimsol with people and packs. The place where the boats come in to the bank on the Basin side is very crumbly and steep and every boat load expected to be capsized before it was finally loaded and pushed off from the shore. However, they all got safely away, goodness knows why, until the very last boatload; then one of the girls did the wrong thing when boarding the, skiff and the next minute the boat had upset and packs and people were floating about in the river and being hauled out while the boat was righted. Of course, all this was very good fun for the watchers and advisers on the banks. The packs were only wet outside so it was not long before all the “drowned rats” were in dry things and no worse for their experience. This little episode delayed the start of the launch for a while but the skipper is a sport and all was well.
So, with song and more talk and some consumption of food, the party sped down the river in the good ship “Reliance” and in the soft dusk tied up at Penrith. Then a brisk walk to the station and, fortified with food purchased along the way, into the train and home after a really splendid and instructive weekend.
We wonder if there was “a Mr. Fiddlebowl in the audience” on September 25th when Nancy Wilson became Mrs.Gordon Pritchard? Even if the mythical “Mr.Fiddlebowl”- did not add to the gaiety of that occasion we wish Gordon and Nancy “all the brightest and best”
Another September wedding of interest to bushwalkers took place in Melbourne on the 7th when ex-S.B.W. (now Aircraftsman) Jack Spain and Beryl Wheeler were married. Beryl is the sister of our fellow member Thelma Walker.
We wondered why we had not seen Madeline Brown at the Club for some time. Now we know! Her fiancee - Cecil Bell - is not a bushwalker. We shich Browine every happiness and hope Mr. Bell will learn the joys of the bush.
There has been excitement in the Secretaries corner too, during September. Jean Trimble and Tom Moppett announced their engagement; at least, Richard Croker did it for them at the Half-Yearly Meeting and the furniture trade promptly brightened up. It was a short engagement as Tom is in the R.A.A.F. Reserve and the wedding bells ring on October 7th. We wish the Moppetts “all the best”.
By the way, Mrs. Marjorie Croker was noticed in the front row at the Half-Yearly Meeting, so apparently young Diana is growing up and being left to look after the house.
On September 15th Jeane and Gordon Mannell welcomed a small daughter. They have called her Diana Jeane and we look forward to meeting her next time they come back to Sydney.
Two members of the S.B.W. recently did a trip down the Shoalhaven and swam through the “Block-up”. We wonder is this a “first swim” or does anyone know if it has been done before.
Policeman: “Lost your way, little 'un?” Little Boy (crying): “No, but I've found a street I don't know.” Found in “The Open Road”.
The S.B.W. was still a lusty infant when its first Swimming Carnival was arranged, but already it had started filing in the blanks on the maps, and the pool on the Georges Rivers where Punchbowl Creek enters it had been named “Bushwalkers Basin.” [The Basin]
Already the campfire artists had got together, and, to mark the occasion of this first carnival, had arranged to perform a play on the Saturday evening, but some of the audience, some of the players, and some of the “props”, went astray on the trip out from Leumeah. Actually they reached the river below “the Basin” but, not knowing that, walked downstream for some miles, then turned round and fought their way back upstream in the dark with an unadequate number of torches, and eventually reached camp so late that the play had to be abandoned.
One member of the party did not arrive with the others. Becoming “Fed up” with the uncomfortable trip in the dark, Harold Chardon chivalrously handed his torch to another member of the party, settled to sleep where he was, and walked into camp immediately after daylight on Sunday.
This adventure inspired the Club's first song which is republished here. It appeared previously in “The Bushwalker” for December, 1931.
A Ballad Of Bushwalkers' Basin
(Tune- “Abdul the bulbul Amir.”)
There's a song of a fight through a day and a night,
'Twixt Abdul and Ivan Skavar,
But the tale has no biff,
'cause it's based on a myth,'
This true one is better by far.
My tale, 'twill appear, is of no Slavonic peer
Named Ivan Skavinski Skavar,
But of maidens and men much more famous than then,
Their song I will sing it afar.
Casting off trousers and skirts they wear short shorts and shirts,
And are quite accustomed to fear,
And the catalogue long of the deeds they have done,
Fill with envy the Bulbul Amir.
Jack, Harold and others left the care of their mothers
To walk to the Bushwalkers' Basin.
They intended to stroll to that fine water-hole
Not five miles from Leumeah Station.
They walked all that day and they walked all that night,
'Neath the light of the pale southern stars,
And all that they found and all that they got
Were scratches-and blisters and scars.
Now this Club has the seed of a much finer breed,
For Ivan he died most forlorn,
But our Harold arrived with the next day's sunrise,
He arrived like the milk in the morn.