Table of Contents
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A Monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton Street,Sydney
JANUARY 1942 Price 3d. No.85
|Letters from the Lads ; No.10 from Bill Burke
|An Appreciation by Edna Garrad
|At Our Own Meetings
|“Hell & High Timber”
|Another Clue; from “Wajahero”
|Club Fun and Food by Taro
|Goodman Bros,' Photo Supplies Advertisement
|Commentary by “Cassowary”
|“They're the Same the Whole World Over”
|The Voice of the Social Committee
New Year 1942
There used to be a tradition that at New Year one made “good resolutions” fully expecting to break them at the first temptation. Another old custom was to wish all one's friends “A Happy New Year”. Nowadays traditions and customs are going down like ninepins almost as fast as plans for holiday trips.
Let me use some of the editorial space to offer the sincere sympathy of their comrades to all our fellow bushwalkers who were compelled to cancel big trips this Christmas when Era took the place of Tasmania, Marley of Barrington, and South-West Arm of the Macleay River, to name only a few of the disappointments that resulted from the spreading of the war to the Pacific.
The events of the past few weeks were the culmination of a series of ups and downs that have been testing all of us throughout 1941. May we each prove in 1942 that we have learned the lessons of 1941. Let us march resolutely forward to meet whatever the future has in store, casting aside the comforts and nonessentials of civilisation in our daily life just as we have learned to enjoy casting them aside in our bushwalking. As in our bushwalking, let us shoulder our packs and go forward gladly on this big trip, this “tuff” trip, and help each other over the difficult parts in the usual bushwalking way.
Letters From The Lads - No.10
From Bill Burke.
Here are some extracts from a letter Bill wrote to Dune on October 12th.., “Am popping off to Syria for two or three days tomorrow so decided to take the afternoon off and answer your letter before I went….
My twenty first birthday has came and gone since last writing. How different were the celebrations from what I'd always planned, but nevertheless I won't forget the day in a hurry. Being in the army I celebrated it the army way - with plenty of beer. Through a cobber of mine, that was with me in Greece and Crete, but has since transferred to the A.A.C.S.1I managed to get a case of beer for the boys. The birthday cake was donated by a tent mate who received it the day before the party, and, suitably decorated with twenty one matches: looked just as good to us as the best that money could buy. Needless to say there were plenty of sore heads in the morning; however I can't honestly say I heard anyone muttering anything about 'never again'. Always again is the usual motto over there after a turnout.
“Have been going all athletic lately. Started off with the Surf Carnival on Gaza beach at which I was amongst those selected to represent the unit in the march past. The majority of us had never seen a surf carnival let alone participated in one; just the same we put on a pretty good show and thoroughly enjoyed the day. We didn't come away empty handed either as our team ran second in the beach relay, while “Big Ec.” Bennett won the pillow fight. Lady Blarney presented the prizes. That night the cup was taken over to the canteen and all competitors got a drink on the house out of it.
The day was such a success that it was decided to hold another one, this time in Tel Aviv. Practically the same team took part, and, although our marching had improved considerably thanks to a couple of hours a day on the beach at Askalon, the other teams had improved also and we still couldn't squeeze into a place. There were twenty eight teams all told in the last turnout.
“Re the question of eats when we are rushing about, well it is a sort of gamble – sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. I make it a practice when on the move to keep two or three tins of bully beef and a packet or two of biscuits in the old pack. When I think it is about eats time I open one up and with a couple of biscuits make a pretty good meal. You'd be surprised how long one can go on a tin of bully beef per two men per meal. Of course, whenever we get our hands on a stack of grub we just pack half-a-dozen meals into one. One quickly becomes an accomplished scrounger over here.
“Many thanks to Edna for her note and glad she enjoyed the ball this year. I guess it's a bit late to be thanking her now but still, better late than never. Pleased to see that Miriam and Bill haven't forgotten me entirely. Has she still got her pet eel? By the way, what is Peter Allen, a pilot or just a plain blank file like myself. I had a chance to step up two or three in Greece and Crete but my 0.0. was done over in the last few days on the latter and since then I've given up hope. I'm not so sure anyhow that I'd like three as it would mean having to leave all my pals.
“It's about time that I said cheerio for the time being. Wish all my friends in the Club all the best for me and do keep up the good work yourself as I really appreciate your letters.”
When you write to Bill, address your letter to NX31070 Pte.W.H;Burke, No.2 A.O.D. . 2/1 Ord.Stores Coy. - A.I.F. ABROAD.
She (at the cooking fire); “Please go and wash those plums, Tom.” He: “Why? Would you rather have your bacteria wet than dry?” Anon.
by Edna Garrad.
We have in our Club a member who contributes a tremendous amount towards the success of the majority of trips undertaken each year. His work for conservation etc., is well known to all walkers - and to many other folk - but it is an appreciation of something more personal that I would like to express.
Coming into the Club Room you will perhaps see a group of members pouring over a map with expressions of deep concentration, and listening to involved plans for transport, route, etc, it is evident that arguments are afoot and some doubt exists. Someone has a brainwave. “I know who can tell us. He's sure to have been there, or if not he'll know something about it.” There is an eager deputation. Perhaps the members are new, and their names are not familiar to him; this detail is dealt with, and with great interest he listens to what they have to say. Then, of course he has been there. He has notes on his trip which he will look up for them, advice on route, transport and the hundred and one things that make for the success of a trip. Or perhaps he has not been there. In that case, just as interested, he will study the map with them, advise what maps he thinks they should try to get hold of, etc., and his enthusiasm and pleasure in planning the trip will be as great as theirs.
It does not seem to matter whether you are interested in some part of the south coast, the north coast, the Blue Mountains, or Kosciusko, all are known to him in some degree. His published maps are the delight and admiration of his fellow-walkers, and I wonder just how many sketch maps he has made for us, and how many maps he has marked with helpful indications?
Very few of us meet him on the track these days, but how often on our walks his name crops up, and certainly he is with us in spirit on many a trip.
On behalf of fellow members, and for my own part; thank you, Myles Dunphy.
At Our Own Meetings
From the Ordinary Monthly Meeting and the Extraordinary General Meeting held on December 12th come the following items of interest;
Two new members were welcomed - Miss Edna (Bobbie) Lance and Mr.Norman Scot.
The war in the Pacific having started earlier in the week, President Alex. Colley repeated ex-President Richard Croker's words of September, 1939 – briefly pointing out that, whatever trials and changes may come, the Club must go on; and WE must see that it does.
Owing to the uncertainty of the general position, the meeting agreed that the Social Committee would be wise to cancel the catering arrangements for the Christmas Party on the following Tuesday, but decided that all the other arrangements should stand - unless a blackout should be ordered - and members attending would bring their own food in true bushwalking fashion.
It was announced that the profit from the Concert was L10.7.6d. This made the organisers, cast, and Services Committee feel very pleased, but was not the reason Pritchard and Bean wrote to congratulate the organisers on the Concert in general, and in particular on having secured that inimitable comedy pair, Pritchard and Bean, for an outstanding performance. The letter of congratulation was much appreciated by all present at the meeting.
The Services Committee reported having sent to each man on its list of bush walkers on service twenty-one photos of Federation Camp, also a copy of “The Bushwalker” for 1941. Magazines and letters, of course, go forward in a steady stream, and there is now a continuous flow of letters coming back from the boys. The Services Committee's next big effort is to be a “lucky dip” for each man, so members were asked for donations of “anything that will fit inside a dried milk tin.”
Will everyone who has any ideas for the 1942 Re-Union please note that Frank Duncan has been appointed Convenor of the Re-Union Committee? Parade your ideas as early as possible, please.
Just in case you should be wondering what happened to the motions to amend the Constitution – the first was lost, the password being “regimentation”.
Mentally, any member will be able to hear all the noble democrats rising to declare, “We will not have the Prospectives REGIMENTED! and the reformers declaring, “This would not regiment them, it would only make sure that they were enthusiastic and that we got to know them in the bush”, etc, etc. Having visualised the scene, are you surprised to hear that motions two and three were carried and so nominators are now compelled to report to the Committee on the sociability, stamina and regard for the Club's welfare of the prospectives nominated for membership?
Then we wishes each other “the best Christmas possible”, and went home, or to supper at Cahills as usual.
“Don't despise little things - the mosquito is more bother than the elephant.” – and the Jap than the drought.
1941 has seen us all absorbed to a greater extent into the War Machine. More and more men have donned uniform. Those of us who remain have extra work and added responsibilities both in our jobs and in the voluntary war work which we may have undertaken. 1942 is ahead.
A year of portent. Come what may we can all be relied on to go forward “each to our allotted task”. Long camping trips will be less and less frequent. Nevertheless we can still slip away for occasional weekends in the bush where we can renew our health of body and serenity of mind to carry on.
Hell and High Timber
In June 1938 an article under the above title appeared in Collier's magazine; a condensed version of it appeared in the “Reader's Digest” for October 1938, (our copy half-price from the N.S.W.Bookstall Co recently) and as it is once more the bushfire season in Australia, we are taking the liberty of republishing part of it. We trust all our readers will be warned, and always exercise the utmost care to prevent bushfires as a result of reading this article and we believe the authors and previous publishers will be glad we have given their words a chance to do more good work.– Editor.
“Our forests”, states Mr.George Spelvin to his wife, exhaling a cloud of cigarette smoke and waving his arm at the scenery, “are a priceless heritage. We must cherish and protect them.” And flipping his cigarette casually out the car window, he settles himself behind the wheel, and the sedan rolls on its way.
Mr. Spelvin's cigarette lands on a heap of brown pine needles, crisp and dry as powder after two weeks without rain. (In Australia read “dead gum leaves” and “months without rain”). Gradually the needles around the live coal twist a little and grow black. There is a puff of wind, and the circle of needles glows brightly. A piece of dried bark begins to smolder like punk. There is another gust of wind, and a clump of dry brush crackles in a brisk bonfire, spitting sparks. The flame grabs at the lower branches of a pile of slash and swings itself up hand over hand, reaching for the bigger branches overhead. The whole pile roars aloft. A panic-stricken rabbit bolts headlong into the heat, leaps convulsively into a tight tall of flame, topples backward.
A lookout in a tower 15 miles away spots the bank of smoke piling up in the southwest. He locates it approximately by the alidade suspended over his maps and phones the nearest ranger station, Here, the dispatcher checks with another lookout ten miles to the west, places the fire exactly where the lines from the two towers cross, and shakes his head. Black Mountain area. Little water available, many isolated ranches to the south. Hydrometer readings show that the litter under the trees is bone dry. The weather report predicts increasing winds, no rain in sight. He gives the emergency alarm.
Truckloads of men with camp equipment and fire-fighting tools hurry into the forest. More and more men follow, all well shod so their feet will not blister on the hot ground, all strong enough to work day and night amid terrific heat, choking smoke, constant danger, possible death. Late that afternoon a siren sounds; the CCC boys at Summit clamber into the waiting trucks. It's a crown fire now, racing through the treetops, irristible, swifter than the wind.
At midnight a warden's car shrieks to a halt at a ranch house. The rancher and his older son rush out and jump into the warden's car. His wife and younger boy pile furniture into a wagon and hitch u the nervous horses. There is a red glow in the sky, and the wind coming toward them has a sickening sweetish smell. It's heading this way. In the distance there is a steady ripping sound like canvas being torn sharply, and now and then short explosions like rifle shots. The rancher's wife swings her whip as she glances fearfully over her shoulder. A spark lights on the blanket wrapped around the baby beside her….
Half-naked men come off the fire lines day after day, faces blackened, eyebrows burned off, shirts hanging in shreds from blistered shoulders. Ambulances clang through the thick smoke, empty stretchers are rushed into the heat, and filled ones are borne out again. All that week and into the next the fire rages. Calls for more men, shovels, food, bandages. A million dollars in virgin timber already destroyed. Four lives lost. Still no sign of rain.
Burned:over all that nice country where we were”, Mr.George Spelvin shrugs, looking up from his evening newspaper. “Lucky we visited it in time. You know ” he muses, flicking his cigarette toward the fireplace with a practice, snap of his middle finger,”I wonder how these fires get started.”
This year Mr.Spelvin's cigarette - or his unextinguished match, or a smouldering coal, from his pipe, or a campfire he didn't quite put out, or a patch of ground he tried to burn over during a high wind - will cause over 150,000 forest fires in the United States. These fires will devastate more than 40 million acres of timberlands. This year, thanks to Mr. Spelvin's carelessness - it has been established that over 90 per cent of all our forest fires are man- caused, and therefore preventable - the country will lose 50 million dollars in timber alone, enough lumber to fill a string of freight cars extending from New York to San. Francisco and back again. The game and fish that will be killed by fire - with destruction of forage, of nests of ground birds and waterfowl, of spawning grounds for trout - will more than equal the total of all the hunters guns and anglers' hooks combined. The losses in young growth killed, watersheds ruined, floods, silted streams and barren soil, industry stopped, recreational possibilities go on forever, cannot be estimated.
Usually there is a little lull before an oncoming fire, a hollow silence that you can sense. Gradually you begin to feel the heat in short pulsing wave, though the fire may still be three or four miles away, and for the first time you hear the wind behind the fire. The sound grows into a strange hissing roar and then, out of the distance, pours a solid black cloud, black underneath,and under that the orange glow of flames. Now the roar is like a thousand freight trains crossing steel trestles. The fire envelops a whole mountain at once, leaps a canyon to the next mountain. It crosses a stream - one moment there is a trout brook, the next moment the flames have lapped it clean and left the stream-bed dry as dust …
If you are trapped in the path of a fire, the old-timers advise you to get your face close to the ground and lie still. If possible, soak a blanket and place it over your head; it will filter some of the smoke and heat from the air. Two men in a canoe in Quebec last year, trapped by fire, leaped out and lay on their backs in the stream, breathing through their coats. They survived though their canoe was burned to the water line.
Above all else, do not get down in a deep hole or well. Fire sucks the oxygen out of the air, and in a confined space you are apt to suffocate. During the First Porcupine disaster in Ontario, 14 men sought refuge in a railway cut, a narrow embankment with steep clay sides that formed a natural pocket from which the heat drew all the oxygen. They were found later, suffocated, lying on a mound of dry grass that was not even scorched.
Most Australian Bushfires are not quite so bad as those described, but– remember, because of the drought, this summer again the bush is tinder-dry and the Australian fire-fighting organisation cannot be compared with the American.
Here, as everywhere else, 90% of bushfires are caused by men. See that “you are not a Mr. Spelvin: NEVER LEAVE CAMP UNTIL YOU ARE SURE YOUR FIRE IS OUT – DEAD OUT.
In December the Federation Council meeting was held a week early to avoid clashing with the S.B.W. Christmas Party.
A letter was received from the Railways stating that, after investigation, two extra trips of the rail motor from Waterfall to Sutherland had been added to Sunday timetables - at 5.33 p m. and 6.22 p m. -and that they had started running on November 23rd. These would have helped the traffic congestion quite appreciably, so it was a pity that the Japs stepped in on December 7th and killed the traffic before the effect of the improved service could be really seen.
The Minister for Lands had replied to the Federation's request for the reservation of Crown Land on either bank of Shot Machine Creek Lindfield, that he did not think it necessary to keep all that area for public use, but had authorised the reservation of approximately the lower half of all the blocks on the right bank between Tryon Road and the creek. Of course, in this matter, the Federation, although it was the prime mover, was acting in support of the Parks & Playgrounds Movement as that body has more influence in matters covering lands in the Sydney metropolitan area.
The delegate who had attended the December meeting of the Parks & Playgrounds Movement reported that word had been received that Koala Park was in a very bad way. The drought and water restrictions have killed the grass so there is no feed for the kangaroos and wallabies; the patrol restrictions and drought make the collection of food for the koalas almost impossible; and the war and the shortage of shipping have practically wiped out the tourists who provided the necessary funds. Unless the Government has come to the rescue, by the time you are reading these notes, Koala Park will probably be a thing of the past.
Probably a number of members who have seen “The Junior Tree Warden” for 1941 reviewed in this magazine and in “The Bushwalker” will want to obtain copies. The booklet is NOT on sale in the shops, but is available from Miss Thistle Harris, Hon.Secretary,Schools Branch,Australian Forest League, C/- The Teacher's College, University Grounds, Newtown, Sydney,
NOTICE TO ANNUAL SUBSCRIBERS.
Owing to the increased postage rates, the annual subscription of posted copies of this magazine will in future be 4/6d. Reserved copies will continue to be 3/- p a. To NON-SUBSCRIBERS: Make sure of your copy of each month, and join our happy list of subscribers
I was interested in Mumbedah's article in the last Bushwalker regarding the route of Guouagang to Kanangaroo, and the other night to keep myself sane after listening to the war news, I dug up some old photographs. One I have is a beauty and it gives the route quite clearly. I think Munbedah is not quite correct however his sketch would suggest that the way down is a combination of routes 2 and 1 as it gives the impression that 2 and 1 join. from “Wajahero”.
SKETCH OF RIDGES LEADING FROM GUOUAGANG TO KONANGAROO TRACED FROM A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN FROM SPLENDOUR ROCK.
Club Fun and Food
Not that I do it very often - but I admit it is nice to walk into the clubroom on Friday nights. It is nice to see all the horrible old faces and the lovely new ones. Better still to drop in on a free night, when liberty is spelt with 2 Capital LLs.
Instead of listening to the wind bagging of the awesome executives - we of the herd can bleat and low and windbag to our hearts' content – and a very pleasant occupation for any susceptible bagger of wind. Last Friday I strolled in and plotted my bearings - I had something very special to show Myles. In a casual glance I noted a group - including Myles - glued to a table on the stage.
About an hour later they were still there. An hour later they were still there but more glue-ey. The mere presence of Myles gave the confab a serious flavour. That was the game - chess? Was it a plot to undermine the Constitution and convert the furniture fund to a social romp at Romanos?
To pacify the blood pressure, I went straight to the high court - alias Judge Colley. I put the case to him; he broke into his wide range grin. “Whisst”, ses he - ever so softly, “It is a food list.” “What!” ses I. “Yes”, ses he, “a food list!”
An hour later, when all but a few had fled, they were still at it, skulls (X)linked - seats exposed - toes digging the lino - leadies down to the last inch and piles of paper up to their noses. And still Myles had not seen my specials - me for Wynyard.
The night watchman incredibly informs me that, just after midnight, he saw half-a-dozen worn, slinky shadows creeping up Hamilton lane snail bent for the last train.
So join with me in three hearty British cheers for the great God Organisation.
(X) “leadies” thought to be Taroese for lead-pencils. It had the Editor tricked for a while so she passes this guess on to all readers lest they think it a mere mis-spelling of “ladies”.
Some Camping Notes for 1942.
A minimum of transport (at a maximum cost) means trips as close to home as possible. Don't forget that “Lights out along the coast” means —- “No fires after dark”, And always, everywhere, EXTINGUISH your fire before leaving it.
This month's most important announcement is that the first English Bride of this war, as far as the S.B.W. is concerned, is Mrs Oliver Moriarty. In London on November 1st, Miss Sheila Scanlan and “Morrie” were married, and the idea then was that we might be seeing them in Sydney sometime in February. Whatever changes world events may make to their plans, we wish them both every happiness.
Have you met the Club's very newest girl member, “Bobbie” Lance? Or have you only been able to see her from a distance because of the way that red-headed Eddes man has been monopolising her? Ron beat the Club to it; “Bobbie” and he announced their engagement just a day or so before she went to see the Committee. We congratulate them both, though at present it is not much use wishing them “Good Camping”.
Now here is some news of some old members, and of a couple of maybe future prospectives. Although he has not looked into the Club, Ted Dollimore and wife Phyllis have been living in Sydney again for some months past, and one day in December the “S.M.H.” announced that Ted and Phyllis have a son (John Stewart). A little later in the month we heard that a son had arrived to gladden Bill and Di.Milner. Old members will remember her better as Di.Hearfield. Congratulations, all you proud parents; And cheerio to the youngsters.
We haven't seen much of Gwen Clarke since she married and went to live in Orange, but apparently she has not yet lost the schoolteachers' habit of turning up at the Clubroom as soon as the school holidays start. The Friday before Christmas we knew school was out because Doris Young was in from Tamworth and Edna Stretton from Newcastle - both looking just as well as Dot English always does. Gwen Hunt was also in and renewing old friendships. we simply had to keep on pinching ourselves and saying, “No, it's not the school holidays; she's Mrs.Hunt now; it's just a coincidence.”.
On the same evening we had a visit from May Smith and big son Bruce. May had had a letter from Gordon, written just before the balloon went up in Malaya. He had just finished a weak's leave on an island and had spent most of the time swimming also was feeling very fit.
That being the Friday night before the “Kid's Treat”,of course Rene Browne was also in, making the final arrangements for helpers, tea towels, etc. and getting Mouldy to announce that the Treat was to be held at Nielson Park instead of Lilyvale. What a breakaway from tradition! The reason? l.s d. again. Donations had come in well but the kids has requested, “No Christmas tree, but a day in the bush for all the kids on the list”,and there were between 90 and 100 names there. Well, that was all right until because of the new war the Government cut out all excursion trains and all excursion fares! The old cost of a visit to Lilyvale was 6d per child,2/4 per adult. The new price was 2/4d per child, 4/8d per adult; So to Nielsen Park they went at a cost per child of ld. each way in the tram and 1d each way in the ferry, plus 1d admission to the swimming baths. Maybe it was because the day was cool and overcast, maybe it was because the picnic was not in the bush, maybe it was some other reason, but only fifty kids turned up. There were thirty helpers all told, some of them being members of other clubs, whose co-operation we were pleased to have, and the pavilion Rene had hired made the work of fe,ding the hungry fifty much easier than usual. Swimming, games on the beach and in the park, races, and a lucky dip were all enjoyed and once more the old words were true – “A good time was had by all.”
The came might well be said of the S.B.W. Xmas party at the Mosman Rowing Club, which was enjoyed by about fifty members and friends. Word having gone forth that shirt and shorts or sports-wear would be O.K. the dressing ranged from the briefest of shorts, slackest of slacks, and snappiest playsuits, though dirndls, soft shirts, and day dress to full uniform and the daintiest of evening frocks. That all alike were bushwalkers became particularly obvious when each was handed a stick of red plasticine and sixteen shelled peanuts and told to make an “upper set”. The table on which all the exhibits were displayed for judging was a horrible sight. An almost equally good response was given to the call for folks to sit on the floor and form a couple of canoes for the final “Farewell” song. During the evening the dances were interspersed by several “specialty items” by different members.
“Australia for the free! That's our slogan. But as we heard a chap say the other day Hogan 'S Ghost, the way Tea going up is enough to make you boil. We like to show our patriotism so We're superintending an investigation Into the possibility of using Ti-tree leaves for infusing A true-blue Aussie brew Which will benefit the Nation. Rustling through the sCrub last weekend We heard. a Wombat say to a Bandicoot, “War effort me foot I This is all rot about war effort and saving tins Here's my best new hole all bunged up by Bushwalkers Because they wont carry portable rubbish bins.”
We'd like to spend Xmas very quietly at home While other extravagant walkers roam As far afield as Tassy, But what with parties, and the reckless hilarity of wartime, A threatened invasion, and the general impression of money Flowing like water – Perhaps it would be best To crawl off to good old Kowmung And have a real rest.
On That Hot Day
Now that the very hot weather is here, we must be on the lookout for sun-stroke. This can occur on a cloudy day as well as a bright sunny one. The onset may be gradual, with complaints of headache and drowsiness, or the walker may drop straight down in his tracks. The skin is hot and dry,fast pulse and noisy breathing,while the victim may become delirious. Exhaustion predisposes the condition,so take care on “the ruff and tuff” to watch your mates.
The treatment consists of laying the patient in the shade,stripping off his clothes and splashing him with cold water or covering him with wet towels, and fanning him. Should breathing fail,apply artificial respiration. Camp where you are and do not go on until patient feels well enough and then rest in the hottest part of the day for the balance of the trip. Allow only fluid diet for first couple of meals.
They're the Same The Whole World Over
says the Editor.
The Melbourne Walking Club is to be congratulated on the 1941 issue of “The Melbourne Walker”. Its cover and set-up are now similar in style to “The Bushwalker” and its articles are of more than local interest. The S.B.W. has only one copy of “The Melbourne Walker” for 1941 but it has over two hundred and sixty members, so probably most of them will never see this magazine.
To whet the appetite of those who are in Sydney and can queue up the Club's copy - and to give members overseas some idea of our Victorian compatriots - we take the liberty of reprinting one article. Here it is:
Ourselves by The Editor: Walker's Rag:
“If ever you feel like going on an unorthodox ramble in the country you could not do better than to get in touch with one of the unorthodox members of the Melbourne Walking Club. To do this requires no mechanical skill. Merely shut your eyes and twirl a pin around haphazardly above the names of all the members of the Club, then let it stab into one of them: He will probably object, but the point is this: You will have chosen a suitable person for your peculiar idea, because this Club is made up of a hundred percent, died in the wool, ultra-unvarnished human essences of unorthodoxy. To see the various styles of walking gear, the different methods of erecting a tent, the numerous ways of setting and lighting a fire, the hundred and one assorted assortments of foodstuffs, and the diverse methods of cooking and eating is alone worth a close inspection; even if it means giving up mowing the back and front lawns at the week-end.
For the purpose of classification (which is impossible),Club walkers may be divided into three sections:- (1) Those who walk for pleasure. (2) Those who prefer camping to walking. (3) Those who don't like either.
“These sections in turn may each be divided into three sub-sections as follows:-
(1) Those who walk for pleasure– (a) With heavy 40 to 60 lb. packs. (b) With medium 20 to 30-lb. packs. © Without packs at all. (2) Those who prefer camping to walking – (a) Under the stars or in a one-man tent. (b) In a hut, hotel or boarding house. © In their own beds at home.
(3) Those who don't like walking or camping:- (a) But did at one time and still think they do now, (b) Who know they don't like it but pretend they do. © Who never did like it and never will.
Thus it is possible for three members of this Club to meet in town, the first being a lb man ,the second a 3a man, and the third a 2c man. If in turn they come across three others who are lc, 2a, and 3h respectively, then it is quite likely that they will discuss something altogether different from you or I would discuss if we thought we belonged to one of the other sections.
Out in the back country (say within a day's walk of Howitt Springs, or a fortnight's walk of Ferntree Gully) it would be almost impossible to meet a 3c man; and if you did meet him he's probably be riding a horse, waiting for a tram, or writing a last message to his wife.
“Another interesting statistical point about our Club is the number of men named Bill, and the almost similar number named Charley; also the large number of these who eat (a) steak, (b) sausages, © hams, (d) standing up. Just to add variety we have men who exist almost solely on (a) rice, (b) shredded wheat biscuits,© their cobbers. The last sort are known as “bots”,but they hotly resent being called this, and often refuse to offer any of their own food around, not so much because they feel they've been insulted but because they rarely have any food worth offering.
“Some of our members carry a whole grocer's shop of tinned goods in their packs; and many of these eat direct from the can, their sole weapon of attack being a dessert spoon which is used for every course - these epicures actually eat soup instead of drinking it,
“Then we have a member who used a special method when frying eggs - he breaks the egg on to the ground and throws the empty shell on to the frying pan. There is another chap who always gets on the smoky side of the fire to cook and eat and, with watery eyes, becomes his fate in a smoke muffled voice. And the walker who never lights a fire, but usually puts the nearest one out by letting his billy collapse on it at a critical moment, and then shifts the billy to the next nearest fire, is also one (or two) of our number.
There are little men who carry big packs and big men who carry little packs; fat men who walk like thin men, and thin men who ought to know better.
“Taking the whole thing, by and large, you will agree with me that if you feel like going on that unorthodox outing, which was mentioned for no reason at all at the start of this article, then the twirling pin method of selecting your companion should be fool proof.”
The Melbourne Walking Club has one advantage over the S.B.W. - it is over forty years old, we a mere fourteen - but that if offset by one major disadvantage so far as diversity is concerned - it has no women members. 2b and 20 members would be hard to find in the S.B.W., and we try to keep out the 3cs,but we know all the others, intimately.
“We forget who it was said that there is no smoke without fire but he could have tried to start a campfire with damp twigs.” –“The Open Road”, Sydney.
The Voice of the Social Committee Says
“Heres Hoping We can enjoy These Entertainments as per the Social Programme.”
January 16th (Friday) Lecture with coloured 'slides – “A Naturalist in New Guinea” – by MR. MEL. WARD of the Australian Museum.
January 30th (Friday) Services Committee's NIGHT FULL OF SURPRISES.
February 4th (Wednesday) Moonlight Launch Trip to Balmoral - swimming and/or dancing. (Better keep in close touch for details of this event - in case the Moon is blacked out or anything).
February 14th/15th SWIMMING CARNIVAL WEEK-END. (Drought and Restrictions permitting).
February 21st/22nd FIELD INSTRUCTIONAL WEEK-END. (Details later).
February 25th (Wednesday) Another MINERVA THEATRE PARTY – may be. (If interested keep in touch with the Social Secretary).
February 27th (Friday) Lecture with coloured slides – “American Journey” – by MR. W. J. CRAWFORD, Economist to the Rural Bank.
Naturally, all Club activities are subject to modification to meet changing conditions. The war is much nearer than it was when this social programme was drawn up; any of the doings may have to be abandoned at a moment's notice, but don't dash off to a distant cave; keep in touch with your Club and your cobbers.