Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker
A Monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney.
No.72 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
|On Fast Walks||by M.S.||2|
|Access to Barrington Tops||by Fred Kennedy||4|
|'Well done,Thou Good and Faithful Servant“||by Frank Cramp||6|
|At Our Own Meeting||8|
|Mt.Hay - A Bee-line from the Nepean||by Marie Byles||9|
|Fiction & Fact||from Pilot-Officer Jack Debert||10|
|Down Perry's with a Pole-Axe||by “Bruch-hook”||12|
|S.B.W. Concert 1940||STOP PRESS!!!||17|
|Special Notice!!!||FINAL EXTRA!!!||18|
Christmas time is here again! Another year has gone by - and what a year! May there never be another like it!
Nearly two thousand years ago there was delivered a message of “peace on earth and goodwill to men”, God's goodwill. We don't know what conditions on earth-were like then, we weren't there, but this past year has shown that God's goodwill to men is not sufficient to ensure peace on earth now. In addition we need goodwill among men. Let us do all we can to add to what human goodwill does exist in the world to-day!
At first, of course, our efforts will be localised to our fellow-Australians, and we shall seek peace by helping to unite every individual in the Commonwealth in the great and urgent task of proving to the aggressor nations that might is not right and that war does not pay. When that lesson has been learned by victors and vanquished alike, we can begin to hope for world peace built on solid foundations of co-operation for the common good.
In the meantime, there is plenty of greed, selfishness and thoughtless destructiveness to be opposed in Australia, or elsewhere, by unceasing, good-humoured, but determined efforts to squeeze them out by the ever-expanding and strengthening co-operation of men of goodwill.
Let us this Christmas dedicate ourselves to this task and bend our shoulders to the work not only at this season but throughout the years to come!
New Year will be here before you receive the next issue of this magazine, so “The Sydney Bushwalker” now wishes its readers all the best for 1941 — May the drought break and the rivers flow again; may the tide of war turn in our favour and flood on to a full and lasting peace; and may the lessons of co-operation and comradeship learned in these days of trial lead to better and happier lives for everyone, and for all living things that come into contact with mankind!
The Blue Gum Forest working-bee on November 2nd and 3rd was almost a Federation Re-union as well. The helpers included members of the S.B.W., Bush Club, C.M.W., M.T.C., Rucksack Club, Rover Ramblers, River Canoe Club, W.E.A. Ramblers, and Y.M.C.A. Ramblers, plus a few unattached walkers and visitors.
The total muster was about sixty and the work went merrily. A narrow channel was cut and the creek, which has been causing all the erosion of the river banks at the junction, was diverted into one of its old beds, the total length of the diversion being about 250 yards.
Any walkers who missed out on this working-bee but wish to do their bit can still help if they are visiting the Blue Gum Forest in the near future. The channel needs widening, and also keeping clear of any rocks or sand that may fall into it when the banks cave in from time to time.
Thanks to the efforts of Bill Morgan of the Rover Ramblers, who acted as campfire leader, the members of the working-bee had a very enjoyable Saturday evening with many songs, choruses and rounds adding to the fun of the campfire.
During this same week-end another good job of work was done on Clear Hill. We hear that Rae Else Mitchell and a party from the Warrigals fixed iron spikes into the rocks where Taro's Ladders used to hang. As the spikes are set in cement, we understand this job will be permanent and walkers will again be able to use the short “Taro's Pass” (as the Warrigals suggest it should be called) when going up or down the mountain instead of the much longer “wallaby track”.
This working party reports that the wells at Corral Swamp are full, and that Glen Raphael has been burnt out.
Since the coal strike many walkers have had their faith in the railways shattered when they have arrived at Central Station on Saturday and discovered that “the 2 o'clock” had been cut out and there was no train-down the coast until nearly three.”The 2 o'clock“ was more than a train; it was an institution; so long as any walker could remember, there had always been “the 2 o'clock” no matter what other trains were cut out or altered. Everyone is rejoicing, therefore, that the railway authorities have produced a summer timetable and have reinstated our old friend. So once more it is, “Going to Era this week-end? Good, I'll see you on the two O'clock”.
On Fast Walks
When you are in the bush,
Though you may not feel in the least energetic, there will always be someone with lots of push,
Though labelling “racing” strictly “taboo”,
Will contrive to increase the pace from, say, two
To four miles per hour
Keeping his back turned to your really terrifying glower,
And as you scramble
With pseudo-light-hearted chatter through lawyer vine and bramble
You will avow
The time for you to retire from active membership is now!
You say to yourself, “After all
Compared with the rate I used to travel at this is quite insignificantly small,
These young blighters may be tough and all that, that they're not so hot mentally!”
Then you add reflectively,
Spurning the thorns with suitably modulated invective, “We were real pioneers
In those days,
And on almost every walk we led you'd gaze
On untrodden country!” and then as you pipe down in order to climb a steep hill,
Some young pup
Comes galloping up,
And says “Bill,
Get a move on; you're weakening, old chap!
This is no time to be taking a nap.”
And disappears in a circumambient cloud of dust
While you fulminate educationally though impotently on his crust.
Access To Barrington Tops From The Hunter River Valley
By Fred. H. Kennedy.
(To be read in conjunction with the “Sketch Map, of Barrington Tops” by R.W. Savage and P.J.Brewster. My copy from Paddy Pallin).
There are two easy ways of reaching the famous Tops from the Hunter River. Both routes emanate from the township of Scone.
ROUTE No.l. Scone to Barrington via Moonan Flat. Mail car leaves every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 7.30 a.m. Fare: 24/-.
(Concessions for parties of two or more).
ROUTE No.2. Scone to Barrington via Stewart's Brook. Mail car leaves on the same days and at the same time as for Route No.l. Fare: 14/-
(Concessions for parties).
The route via Moonan Flat is the longest trip. It embraces a motor ride up the picturesque Hunter Valley almost to the source of that stream. It is recommended for those who have the time, and prefer a long walk. The track is plain, easy to follow, with comparatively little steep climbing. Leaving Scone at 7.30 a.m. the mail car follows the Page River until Gundy is reached. Thence over a steep ridge and down onto the Hunter, The famous Belltrees Station is soon passed, and the river is followed to the village of Moonan Flat. (35 miles) Have lunch here. The journey is then continued in another mail van that runs to Tomalla cattle station. After covering 20 miles and right on the top of the Mount Royal Range, leave the vehicle at a finger board reading, “Barrington Tops 17 miles.” This point is reached about 3 p.m. On August 24th this year I drove my car along this road to Crosbie's house. The exact speedometer readings from this finger board are as follows:-
|Third gate||2.6 Miles|
|Tuglow Creek (runs First Barrington River into Manning River)||3.8|
|Pol Blue Creek (Hunter River waters||8.5|
|Top of Divide||9.6|
|Head of Morpey Creek||10.7|
|Beean Beean Creek||11.4|
|Head of Beean Beean Cr.||12.4|
|First Barrington River Waters||12.9|
|Turn off to Crosbie's House||14.9|
Time of journey in car 2.5 hours for the 15.8 miles.
The going by car is distinctly rough and should never be attempted alone. A set of chains is essential, and only an old car with a good clearance should be used. As a walking track it is ideal. Its whole length is along the plateau of the Mount Royal Range, and there is virtually no climbing. Several open plains are crossed, but for the most part the road traverses open forest country. There are good campsites, with plenty of wood and water, at all the streams mentioned.
Right now (October, 1940) Crosbie's house is locked, but I understand a Mr. Meehan and family will be moving in before Christmas. There is an open shelter shed about 40 yards from the house in which a camp might be arranged if the weather is not too wet and windy.
Reference to the Barrington Tops sketch map shows the lay of the land from here. Excellent views may be obtained from Carey's Peak (5300ft). I was fortunate to strike a good day last August 25th, and at about 10 a.m. could see, with the naked eye, the smoke and steam from the blast furnace of the Newcastle Steel Works. Such days are rare, particularly in the summer. There is a galvanized shelter shed at the Peak with wood and water close at hand. A glance at the map shows a track off the Tops from this point down the Williams River to Dungog.
The trig at Mount Barrington is also worth a visit.
A stroll down the Barrington River is interesting, and fishing enthusiasts may while away the time angling for trout in the cool, crystal-clear waters of this beautiful stream. About four miles down stream from Crosbie'S is a big water-hole large enough to float a Sydney ferry boat. The hole may be located on the sketch map right at the apex of the letter “G” in the words “BARRINGTON RIVER”. At this point a small unnamed stream flows into the river from the South. Just below, the Barrington flows over the third series of rocky granite rapids. The other two granite rapids lie between the hole and Crosbie's house; all three afford excellent crossing places.
ROUTE No.2. Leaving Scone at 7.30 a.m. the mail car also passed Gundy and Belltrees, just above Belltrees the Stewart's Brook road branches off to the right. A good view of Mount Woolooma is obtained as the road skirts round its base. Stewart's Brook village, 38 miles from Scone, is reached for lunch. Arrangements could no doubt be made with the mailman to drive beyond the village, a further 4 or 5 miles up the North Arm of Stewart's Brook to Mr.Gus Collison's farm. I have walked from this place to Crosbie's in 4 hours and 10 minutes, so with ordinary luck one setting out on the mail car from Scone should reach the Tops before dark on the same day. It takes about one hour to walk from Crosbie's house to Carey's Peak, if you know the way.
Local residents of Stewart's Brook will always be glad to give directions, and although this track is not nearly so easy to follow as that described in No.1 Route, it is not hard to find with the aid of the map and a few local enquiries. Incidentally Mt. & Mrs. Jim Rose, who live right between the junction of the two arms of Stewart's Brook, will always give walkers a good welcome. I have left with them a log book similar to that kept at Carlon's, in which callers can record data and comments.
The climate on the Tops is delightful. Frosts occur throughout the Summer. The weather can also be very treacherous. Thick black fogs sometimes cover the mountains, and the most experienced bushmen would lose his way if he attempted to travel. Snow often covers the Tops for days during the winter months.
As I am now residing in Scone, at the Golden Fleece Hotel, I should be glad to meet walkers from any club, and may even be able to join parties and guide them, if given a few days' notices.
"Well Done, Thou Good And Faithful Servant."
By Frank Cramp.
Bungari sat by his fire. His wrinkled old face was set as though he was miles and years away, as indeed he was in his thoughts.
He glanced across the fire to where Eerwah, his gin, was soundly, sleeping the sleep of tired old age.
His mind was back in the days when they first came together. They were of the Illawarra tribe, and in the old time they had roamed from the great river in the South to the big Bay in the North all along the coast. The bush was abounding in game and the sea with fish; and Eerwah was an adept at finding and cooking the herbs and fruits that he caught a meal for the Gods.
He remembered all the adventures they had been through. The bushfire that had hemmed them in once in a narrow gully. It was Eerwah who had found the way to the waterhole amongst the ferns when he had given up all hope. Then there was the time when he was fishing off the flat rock and the big breaker caught him and dashed him on the rocks. He would not have been able to save himself if he had been alone. She had dragged him out of reach of the waves and had nursed his faithfully for many moons until he was properly recovered.
When they went on a walkabout she carried all the gear, looked after the youngsters and made camp. He, of course, had to hunt to feed them and their brood. They would sit around the little fire at night when the young ones were asleep and be satisfied and comforted in each other's company. She would keep the fire going a stick or two at a time all night waking automatically when it was necessary whilst he slept soundly.
What a tragedy for a woman to grow old! A Man became one of the rulers of the tribe when he joined the circle of old men, but there was no place in the economy of the tribe for an old, useless woman.
Times were hard enough now as anyone could see. The bush was parched with drought and even the sea seemed to give less fish than of yore. Anyhow fish without other flesh or herbs wasn't much good.
He had heard that in some tribes of the interior the custom was to leave a few days' supply of food with the old woman when times were bad and then move to fresh hunting grounds - leaving the poor old thing to starve - Barbarians!
Well, he wouldn't do that. He had consulted with the other old men and they approved of his decision.
Grasping his spear, he walked over to Eerwah, gazed down on her for a moment, then plunged it surely into her side. She gasped and lay still and Bungari sorrowfully returned to his place by the fire.
At Our Own Meeting
From the correspondence read at the November Meeting we learned that Elsa Isaacs had been accepted as a full member. We have learned since that the reason she was not present to be welcomed was because she was away on the official trip, taking her young sister on a test walk. That's what you might call the right start for a new member!
Doug. Grosvenor wrote that he is in a reserved occupation at Mt. Isa and expects to be there “for the duration” so he has resigned from the S.B.W.
On the question whether or not our members favoured the Showboat for next year's Federation Ball, the decision was, if the Ball is to be held late in the season like this year's was, certainly the Showboat.
At Maurie Berry's suggestion, it was decided that the profits from this year's S.B.W. “Concert” are to be used as the nucleus of a fund for sending “mental comforts” to members of all affiliated clubs who are on service with the Australian Forces. It is hoped that the scheme to keep the boys supplied with bushwalking photos, club magazines, etc. will appeal to other clubs and that they will join the S.B.W. in forming a Bushwalkers' “Comforts” Fund for the benefit of all our cobbers. As Maurie pointed out, no one else can supply the boys with these mental comforts.
In the discussion before Dorothy Lawry's motion was carried the difficulties of the Walks Secretary in getting leaders for official walks were well aired. The motion directed the Committee to take the necessary steps to see that future walks programmes are in the hands of members a month before they come into operation instead of only a week as has been the practice in the past. If you were at the meeting, you should now realise it is up to you as a member to do your share by telling the Walks Secretary when and where you will lead. You other Sydney members who were not at the meeting may not realise it, but it is still up to you to do your bit. The next programme is now being prepared.
Another matter that was discussed at some length was whether or not Prospective Members should be allowed to borrow books from the Club Library. Finally, the Librarian (Dunk) was instructed to take the name and address of any prospective member applying for a book before she hands it out. It will be interesting to see to what extent Prospectives will avail themselves of this new privilege.
The Hon.Social Secretary was instructed to arrange for all lectures to start at 8.30 p.m. sharp and it is hoped that members will co-operate.
Before Closing the meeting, the President formally handed Tom and Jean Moppett a wedding present from their fellow-members; and Tom made a speech of thanks without once saying “my wife”!
Prevent Bush Fires. Never break camp before your fire is out. Right out.
Mount Hay - A Bee-Live From The Nepean
By Marie B. Byles.
In 1789 Governor Phillip sent an expedition to take a trek from the Nepean to Mount Hay, then known as Round Hill. The party returned after five days without having got near the mountain and extremely glad to get out of the labyrinthine gorges.
What Governor Phillip's party failed to achieve was accomplished in July 1940 by Dr. Eric Dark of Katoomba, the well-known rock climber, his wife Eleanor Dark, the equally well-known novelist, Frank Walford, whose name is familiar to bushwalkers, Michael Dark (aged 11) and Geoff Sinclair (aged 13), and was accomplished without the least difficulty over country just as virgin as in Governor Phillip's day. Dr. Dark disclaims all credit, pointing out that the 1789 party was not used to Blue Mountain country, whereas we today are, and know just what to do and what not to do.
Dr. Dark's party kept to the bee-line, crossing seven gullies from 300 to 900 feet deep, as well as smaller ones, before reaching Wentworth Creek. He thinks there are very few places where it would be practicable to cross Wentworth Creek about the middle of its course, but his party was lucky in striking a spot where it was possible to walk in and out by ridges that run right to the creek bed on opposite sides to each other. They found no cliff trouble in any of the other creeks. All of them from Springwood upward had good water in them, especially Springwood Creek which flowed at the bottom of a gully 900 feet deep. The country between Woodford Valley and Wentworth Creek they found not altogether easy, as the ridges swing sickle-wise, and one could get into a tangle of deep gullies if one didn't look out.
It took them 2.5 days to reach Wentworth Creek and, their allotted time being up, they came out. However, at the next opportunity they descended into Wentworth Creek at the same place as they had left it, made for Mount Hay and so out to Leura.
They found pleasant camping and good rock overhangs each night, and no difficulties at all. I am sure Governor Phillip would be gratified to know his commands had been at length carried out albeit a century and a half after they were given!
From “Sunlit Trails” by Archer Russell -
In the music of the bush there is none so beautiful as the sunrise song of the birds. How strange it is that man, rising sour and disgruntled, begins his day with a yawn, while the birds begin theirs with song. Yet man, they say, is the highest intelligence on earth. Fettered to an unnatural life and a creature of moods, he certainly is.
Fiction And Fact
from Pilot-officer Jack Debert.
Wire sent to Dorothy Lawry, S.B.W., Sydney:-
“Please may I climb Glasshouse Mountain on own during temporary exile from Club. Jack. Royal Australian Air Force, Brisbane.”
“See my excellent leading article May S.B.W. Magazine. Permission not granted. Dorothy”.
“Dorothy I implore. Cannot fully agree with your article. Man-power officer considers me not reserved occupation list. Have a heart. I shall be careful. Jack.”
“Sorry. The S.B.W. no longer needs you comma but your country might. No repeat no a thousand times no. Cannot concede your wish. Dorothy.”
Finale. ”'Hell', said the Duchess“ and so off Jack went.
That started it. That's how the trouble all began. Briefly here's how it went. He was in exile at the time. Week-ends saw him working. Early each morning Jack would go out on four mile walks exploring Brisbane. Anxious to wander further afield, he went Government Tourist Bureauwards, secured rotten service but bagged a booklet.
Reclining in complete relaxation as he listened in to a Sir Thomas Beecham Celebrity Concert in the Sydney Town Hall, Jack opened the booklet. The music was heavenly and as he turned over the pages the boy's eyes opened wide as he read about “a fertile, smiling land”, “sunlight of liquid amber and air like spiced wine.” It gets better. “Opalescent clouds; cerulean skies leaning down to meet hyacinthine seas” and “creamy surf” etc. etc. On, on he read and then came to this -
“The Blackall Range runs through this land like a gigantic backbone. Purling creeks and waterfalls gleam like necklaces of crystal on the green brocade of hills and vales where orchards bloom luxuriantly in rich volcanic soils. Rising for hundreds of feet above the surrounding country, the majestic peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains stand like huge monoliths of some bizarre Atlantis of the past. These 'hills like mother giantesses old' are the outstanding landmarks of the approach to the North Coast. They stood there, immobile guardians to the virgin scrublands, when Captain Cook sailed into Moreton Bay and saw them majestic and resentful, in the flowing sunlight of that far-off day, for all the world like the glasshouses or furnaces of his native Yorkshire - and so he named them.”
On his first Sunday in Brisbane, as he sunbaked on a yacht out in Moreton Bay, Jack saw the grotesque shapes standing out away in the north. Naturally, his dormant bushwalking spirit showed a spark of intelligence. He asked questions and decided that on his first free week-end he'd be around those parts, so, despite, Dorothy's article, or even because of it, he decided to go. Les Douglas, one time active S.B.W. but now a Brisbane resident, gave Jack most useful information.
Going walking in a new State for the first time is like beginning the walking game all over again. Everything seems so strange. There are no fools in Brisbane carrying packs. Still, it is a new adventure. Jack rushed off at 12.00 hours. Home, a rapid change and back to the Central Station. Even in Queensland the railways run on lines similar to those in New South Wales! There's a one o'clock train passing the Glasshouse Mts. but it travels quickly and does not put down. The 1.5 p.m. is much slower and more uncomfortable. Still, it is a brave new world.
Everybody is going home from work. Jack looks them over and finds many of the girls good to look upon. Sure, there are plenty of good lookers in this city! But, away with women! Here's adventure with a capital A. The train goes onwards in jerky movements. There are lots of colourful bougainvillea, vivid scarlet poinsettia, and pineapple plots to be seen through the windows.
From Elmbank the trip became exciting for Jack obtained his first close-ups of the Glasshouse Mountains, The long carriage was completely empty by this time and the sight of those fantastic shapes made him sing at the top of his voice. At 3 p.m. he alighted at the station, purchased a few goods at the local store and set out. Full of joie de vivre he swung along the track through the open country and thrilled at being out in the bush once again.
The two mountains, Crookneck and Beerwah, were imposing sights. Jack was itching to get to the top of them both, but it was too late to attempt a climb, so he made a bee-line through the bush in the direction he had hoped to go. His homing sense helloed him out for, after all, a few weeks' recruiting had not completely dulled his senses. Wallabies are disturbed and hop away into the thick scrub. Terrestrial orchids in great numbers attract his attention and birds by the bucketful call out challenges to him. His old cobber, the friendly old friar-bird, tells him in no uncertain manner - “Can't walk, can't talk, you'll never climb up.” As Jack gazes at the overhang on Crookneck, he is forced to agree with that wise old bird…
Lots more to come, Dorothy. If this is of any use, shall send you continuation for another issue. Cheers to all from Cheerful Jack.
Wire actually sent to Jack by the Editor on receiving the foregoing unfinished masterpiece:- “Was Fate my ally or did you climb it suspense terrible please send balance story first opportunity. Dorothy.”
At the time of going to press the suspense is still agonising, but at least we know he lived to return to Brisbane and write to us.
Down Perry's With A Pole-Axe
I haven't the faintest idea what a pole-axe is; but, if there wasn't one in the party, it must have been due to an extraordinary lapse on the part of the Powers-that-be, which supplied every other instrument imaginable.
The said party - consisting of a mixture of Bush Clubbers, S.B.W's and one unsuspecting Visitor - set off for a working-bee in Blue Gum. Having arrived at the top of Perry's on Saturday morning, we were confronted with an array of weapons. Getting in first, I managed to acquire the lightest (politely called a brush-hook) - consisting of a pole yards long, to which was attached a wickedly-curving scythe-like arrangement. It seemed to me that it lent a dashing and picturesque air to my appearance. This choice of weapons, it appeared later, was an error of judgment.
The visitor, to her ill-concealed alarm and amazement, was presented with a long-handled shovel (See, “Chain-gangs; Tools for the Use of”). The rest of the party reluctantly picked up crowbars and more shovels. A suggestion by the subversive elements that it would be simpler to throw the armaments from the top of Perry's and let them land at the bottom was sternly suppressed, on the totally inadequate grounds that they might be lost.
Starting down merrily enough, we passed a C.M.W. breakfasting in a cave - of whom more anon. Dorothy led and nobly used her shovel to clear and level (?) the way. It was not until we reached those spiral-staircase-in-space parts of the track that our tools began to really to express their personalities. The shovellers, having tried alternately pushing the shovel in front and using it as a rudder at the back, were sorely tempted to sit on their steeds and slide. The crowbar-bearers were the envy of all; on skating down, they had but to jam the crowbar into the dirt as they went past, and hang on, incidentally executing as pretty a may-pole dance as you could wish to see. Our rock-climber, Rudy, made a point of waltzing round all the more sickening places in this fashion, out of sheer lightheartedness - very callous of him.
My brush-hook turned out to be (in my opinion) the most ingeniously devilish of all. First I tried carrying it with the blades pointing downhill (at Dorothy's back). The sight of this so unnerved me that I reversed; upon which there were immediately loud protests from the rear-guard, which objected to being picked up on the point. The next arrangement with the pole over the shoulder and the blade curving gracefully around the neck, was quite the best - until it was pointed out that I was in imminent danger of guillotining myself.
After this, I felt distinctly ruffled on meeting the tall 'andsome C.M.W. (mental note - Why is it that men from other clubs invariably tall, 'andsome, etc - must complain to the Committee) - who wondered audibly why we had taken so long to come down.
Found to our delight that workers, about fifty, far out-numbered tools. The object being to dam the present course of the creek (where it is undermining the gums) and cut a channel through its former bed, there was much diminution in aforesaid delight on the discovery that there was plenty of work to be done in removing boulders (well, small stones, at least) from the channel. Found a nice, shady spot, sat down in it and proceeded to work off childish passion for stone-throwing. Monotony of this relieved by inspecting the chain-gangs, who were digging the sand and boulders out of the old channel and dumping it in to help block the present one. Watched with bated breath for the first trickle of water to come through. Great opening ceremony (alas, no champagne) on Sunday morning when water came right through newly-dug channel across the bend to resume its course down the river.
Returned much cheered by the delightful thought that someone else had to carry those tools back up from Blue Gum.
When the Air Force was short of a Best Man recently, of course you know whom they asked to do his bit - yes, our Jack, and he quite enjoyed it. In fact he doesn't know why such a fuss is made about weddings. What is it like being a Glamour Boy, Jack?
In Sydney, of course, if you want to have a wedding that is a wedding, you simply must ask Mouldy to be part-of the performance. Just fancy, recently one of his relations had the nerve to ask him to be a mere usher! And he was, too.
Holidays were round again last month for some of us. We heard whispers of a walk in Tasmania for Ray Birt, Marie Byles and Peter Page. There is no doubt about it, these folk do things in style, if all we hear is right. They go by 'plane to save time, and have a pack-horse to save weight. We wonder what they do to save money? And that is not all; they went to the tailor for complete new outfits! Yes, truly, we saw them in their going-away clothes.
Speaking of clothes, recently we noticed on Central Station two good Bush Walkers looking very smart and completely new from shoes to shirts - Bev. and Geoff., visions in white!
Clothes remind us that Dick Jackson was in town recently, looking very fit and as smart as ever in his naval uniform. He says life in the navy is great.
Bob Savage said “Good-bye” to us one Friday night; he looks large and noble in khaki. Good-luck, Bob.
Uniforms are the fashion this year. In their new N.E.S. uniforms Joyce Trimble and Ada Frost look as if they could form fours and salute at a moment's notice. We expect they will bring their First Aid Kits with them next time to show us how.
“Brigadier” Colley is the exception that proves the rule that everyone is going into uniform. He has had to go out of it because they can't run the 'Varsity without him.
For some months the Railways have been having to manage without Allan Wyborn, but he is back at work now, and we were very glad to see him on his feet again when he came to the Club the other Friday. It will be a while yet before he can get out on the track again, but, as we told him, with the drought on and water a minus quantity, the bush is not nearly so attractive as usual this summer.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Honorary Member Norbert Carlon in the Club Rooms last meeting night, looking very well again.
From Brisbane comes news of the arrival of a son and heir to the Douglas family. We hear that Les. can't get a hat to fit him since his son arrived. We send congratulations from his old friends of the S.B.W.
There is also news of two other old members whom we have not seen since they went to Melbourne a few years ago, though, we understand,. they returned to Sydney some months ago. In November Nannette Gorringe and Jack Lynch were married, and we wish them “Good Camping”.
The Melvilles Ninian (C.M.W.) and Evelyn (ex-S.B.W.) - are receiving congratulations on the birth of their son on November 10th.
A few days later Joe and Kath Turner welcomed another daughter, who is already fraternising with young Ian Robert Melville.
by Dorothy Lawry.
Although this month's song was originally published in the October, 1932, issue of this magazine, it has not been sung round the campfires nearly as often as its words and tune deserved. The main reason members did not get to know the words was that, whenever anyone suggested “The Slopes of Mt. Mouin” as the next song, there always seemed to be someone present to stop it because he, or she, thought the facts recorded proved that the S.B.W. could not say that 100% of its members were 100% unselfish and offering 100% co-operation in difficult circumstances to their fellow-members 100% of the time. This unpleasant fact they wanted to forget, so again and again the song was suppressed.
To my mind, though, the story contains such lots of bushwalking tips and shows six club-members at least as such super-men that it should be re-told. Besides, everyone knows that bushwalkers are only human anyway so why not admit that we are not perfect - though, of course, far closer to it than most human beings!!
For the King's Birthday Week-end in June, 1932, several parties of the S.B.W's chose to go to Clear Hill and camp at Glen Raphael. One party, being wiser, or more energetic, than the rest, descended from Clear Hill and camped in the valley, I think at Jack's Flat, but you can check that next time you see either Frank Duncan or Peter Page.
On the Sunday another party, consisting of four men and four girls, set out from Glen Raphael, descended Clear Hill, had lunch in Medlow Gap, and left their packs there while they went on a two hours' jaunt round the base of Mt Mouin. When they got to the far side of it, there was Mt Warrigal, and the boys wanted to “go just a little further” but, as time was getting on, Taro and the four girls decided to turn back at once.
This advance party was to leave marks at the packs and certain blazed tree to show they had passed there safely on the return trip - but they kept too high up the mountainside and failed to find either spot. Towards dusk they were mazed in Medlow Gap, unable to see Clear Hill because of the thick trees and knowing that, even if they found it, they could not get back to the top before nightfall, and they only had one torch between the five of them - and, at that time, no one had ever climbed or descended Clear Hill in the dark.
Although, apparently, the other three men did not realize it, Taro had not parked his rucksack, so he and the girls had matches and a little food, though no tent, groundsheets or warm things because it was only packed for the day trip.
In the last of the light the lost party picked a spot beside a large, fallen log, collected lots of firewood, and green branches and gumleaves for a shelter and bedding beside the log, and prepared to make the best of the cold and frosty night. Next month we will give you Taro's account of the adventure.
Meanwhile the other three men had reached the packs and the blazed tree, and had found no signs from their comrades. Coo-eeing having produced no results, they returned to Glen Raphael, hoping to find the girls there but, although it was now dark, their camp was unoccupied. After a hasty meal, they collected food and coats, torches and more volunteers, and set off for the valley again.
From Clear Hill the search party saw a campfire below and hoped it might be the lost party; remembering the Duncans were camped somewhere down there and that Anice Duncan understood Morse code, Harold Chardon signalled, but received no reply because Anice was not at all well and would not get up to see what all the dots and dashes meant.
Getting no answer, the six men made the first descent of Clear Hill in the dark and, thinking the fire was that of the lost party, made their way right across to it, only to find the Duncan/Page camp. Neither Frank nor Peter saw any good reason for leaving their camp and their two companions, to go barging through the bush in the dark with the other six men so, after advising them to rest till daylight and rely on Taro to look after the missing girls, Frank and Peter returned to their sleeping-bags while Wal. Roots, Harold Chardon, Alan Rigby, Reg. Shortridge and the other two set off for Medlow Gap.
Most of the night they searched and coo-eed, and they have never been fully convinced that the girls did not hear them and refrain from answering, because in the morning when the lost party set out to locate themselves and get back to their comrades, they came upon their rescuers camped in the hollow beyond just one ridge from their own snug shelters!
"Where The Slopes Of Mt Mouin Sweep Down To The Cox"
by “Pop” Wylie and Peter Page. (Tune: “The Mountains of Mourne”.)
Now Walkers, this Clear Hill's a wonderful sight
With its mountains up-rising to left and-to right,
And Bushwalkers love in that region to roam
Though it's bleak and it's lonely and far, far from home.
Large parties assembled to hike out that way
To celebrate dear old King George's birthday;
They feasted, they sang and they scrambled o'er rocks
Where the slopes of Mount Mouin sweep down to the Cox.
In the depths of a beautiful, fine, frosty night
The Pages and Duncans awoke in great fright;
They had camped in the valley away down below
And were snoozing so snug in their camp-fire's glow,
Then they heard coo-ees sounding 'way on the hill,
Sure it gave the poor fellows a terrible thrill.
“Who is it”, they said, “at our solitude mocks.
There the slopes of Mount Mouin sweep down to the Cox?”
They saw torches gleaming - a signal, of course,
But no one could read it, 'twas Harold's strange Morse,
After fearful suspense they heard voices quite clear,
Then six stalwart fellows in camp did appear.
“Ooh, sorra,” they said, “poor old Taro's astray;
Wid four lovely damsels he's lost in some way;
They have no food to eat, not a match in their box;
Where the slopes of Mount Mouin sweep down to the Cox.”
We all sympathised deeply to hear this sad news,
Then returned to our blankets to finish our snooze.
But “Orang-outang” Roots and the rest of his pals
Spent the whole of the night searching 'round for the gals.
But nothing they found, and when morning dawned clear
Old Taro and maidens quite safe did appear;.
But they dote on search parties - 'tis so orthodox,
Where the slopes of Mount Mouin sweep down to the Cox.
STOP PRESS!!! - S.B.W. Concert 1940
To Joan Savage we offer hand-claps and a bouquet of orchids - for bringing together that splendid Carnival Concert. St. Phillips lovely little dressed sandstone hall, with its plain unvarnished wooden ceiling and its sky blue velvet curtains made a simple setting for an entertainment that was essentially simple. Isn't it the simple, untinselled, unspoiled things that appeal to Bushwalkers most? That freedom from convention that open hearted naturalness, that penetration uncovering the real things that matter and disregarding the other. This is the spirit that binds Bushwalkers together and this same spirit bound the concert together. The backcloth was the same, the wings were the same, the lighting was the same, but aptly did they convey the witches' den, the open road, the palace, the circus ring and the humble Welsh cottage!
One of the tests of a happy night are the memories that can be recalled afterwards. Who will forget the capable, competent compere that Gordon Pritchard made, the amazing nails that Grace Edgecombe grew overnight, or her glamorous Hollywood curls? Her “Mumbo Jumbo”, or her “Kotapaxia”? Dorothy Lawry's Blood Orange and her tragic Welsh mother who would not leave her old home in spite of her family deserting one by one. In this Dorothy dominated whenever she spoke - as well she should - having a firmer will and more firmly planted roots in the soil of Llanwddyn.
Tuggie Harris appeared “in the flesh” and then after much duelling, successfully appeared as a slim swain, sighing for the love of his slim serving maid. The now portly Lola Bennett plucking an eiderdown sleeping bag from her capacious bosom restored to the King his erstwhile slim and former love.
The “Circus” had delightful rhythm throughout, the dances suiting the music and the miming so clearly and cleverly aone. A great credit to the producer. The three horses pawing uneasily, yet proudly arching their necks when parading. The juggler - the tight rope walker - the Ringmaster - and the clowns in glittering stars, and long loose suits. The carnival touch of balloons on the elephant's tail was grand.
What Ho! for the musical Minstrels, Edna Stretton and Arthur Brophy. The Club still has its musicians - they are not dead! But a lively new generation seems to be springing up. Edna Stretton excels in all the varied roles that she undertakes. Edna's soft, well modulated voice seemed so far from the raucous outpourings of a tightrope walker who was the daughter “of a body-less woman of the African swamps and a strong man from the Steppes”.
Joan Atthill in her turquoise latex pants and mauve and cyclamen - was it? - blouse or jacket - looked so glamorous as to be as dangerous as the part warranted and as for that cute little black and white suit!!
“Mrs. Schickelgruber's little boy Adolf” - by courtesy of Ron Eddes.
The lovely floating “Pavlova” of Laurie Greenacre.
Hilma and the “Water Board”.
“The Bushwalker in action” of Jean Moppett, but I think we must really hand it to Alan Hardy for the finest of the Waxworks models. Alan tugged at the heart strings and purse strings too-metaphorically and actually - when he raised 12/6 for the comforts fund whilst parading his old friend Lord Randall.
The “one-faced-two-voiced” Belinda of Joan Savage was GRAND.
All these memories and many more will be treasured from the 1940 S.B.W. concert. Gordon Pritchard and Ada Frost (complete in old school tie) were always flitting in and flitting out and so we cannot put them in or cut them out. Their fun and fooling was woven right through the show. A show full of happy memories.
FINAL EXTRA!!!!!!!!!!! - SPECIAL NOTICE!!!!!!
The S.B.W. CHRISTMAS PARTY will now be held on THURSDAY THE TWELFTH of December at the CLUB ROOMS at 6.30 p m. instead of Elizabeth Bay House.
Mrs. Garratt, the hostess from Elizabeth Bay House is looking after the asparagus in aspic, the vol-au-vents, the meringue chantilly, the huge trifles and such like gastronomic trimmings. As we are expecting the club rooms to be fairly full a buffet style has been chosen for serving or rather, self service - you know, large piles of plates beside your favourite dish and a big spoon to help yourself with - a practical demonstration of the Bushwalker cry of “Come and get it” so often heard in food parties.
There will be mental stimulation also. Your memory will be taxed to recall incidents or characteristics of members - Ssh!!! no more can be said at the moment. Music will be dispensed at frequent intervals - some by our own members, and maybe some choristers will carol.
A further chance will be given to win that giant Xmas stocking that Joan Savage made. If you win it you should just about get back in Christmas fare twice the amount you paid for your entrance fee (5/-).
The party has been arranged to conclude about 10 o'clock.