This is an old revision of the document!
A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney.
|Associate Editor||Grace Jolley|
|Business Manager||Alex Colley|
|Personalities & Incidents||D. Hasluck||2|
|New Guinea||H. Carruthers||3|
|Goobragandra Campsite||E. Garrad||6|
|The Voice of the Social Committee||7|
|Meet Muskel and Dawn||L. Greenacre||7|
|At Our Own Meeting||8|
|The Southern Cross||Canopus||11|
|Letters from the Lads||12|
|Into the Purple||13|
|What Do You Think?||14|
|Some People Are So Helpful||???||14|
|News from Melbourne and U.S.A.||16|
|The Voice of the Walks Secretary||17|
|Goodman Bros. Photo Supplies Advertisement||17|
The point of noon is past, outside: light is asleep;
brooding upon its perfect hour: the woods are deep
and solemn, filled with the unseen presences of light
that glint, allure, and hide them; ever yet-more bright
(it seems) the turn of a path will show them: nay, but rest;
seek not, and think not; dream, and know not; this is best:
the hour is full; be lost: whispering, the woods are bent,
This is the only revelation; be content.
By Christopher Brennan.
By Dorothy Hasluck.
The lure of unknown tracks once more calling, Ray in whom names strike a chord of response was intrigued by the name “Dampier Ranges”. So forth she goes with a suggestion that we start from Moruya, follow the Georges Pack Trail to Bendethra and traverse the Dampiers to Cooma. I also being fired with the idea, Ray immediately set out to gain as much information as possible, but in spite of all her efforts very little was attained, of which more anon.
Arriving at Moruya we were met by very depressing accounts of the dangers that awaited us, dingoes being one, until we felt we were about to penetrate the wilds of Tibet or worse. However nothing daunted we set forth and at our first camping spot met our first two personalities in the shape of sleeper cutters. Whenever they finished work which seemed pretty frequent, they came along and just sat on their haunches saying nothing; reminding me very forcibly of the old man who when asked what he did all day said, “Sometimes I just sets and thinks and sometimes I just sets”. Well, these two just set as far as I could see while Ray and I cast round desperately for topics of conversation, all falling on the desert air; especially one on vegetarianism. That was the only time I saw any expressions on their faces, which looked as though they thought us escaped lunatics.
Through a change of plan we crossed the Dampiers instead of traversing them, thus reaching Can Eunice Station, where we were received with much kindness by Mrs. Griggs, a most interesting woman. On top of doing all the work, cooking for shearers, baking bread and making butter, she had achieved a very beautiful garden, was most artistic and very well read. In the course of conversation she mentioned that a Mr. Jack Woods had last year crossed Black Badger from Cooma and called at the Station. You can imagine Ray's disgust on hearing this, as she was in the habit of seeing the gentleman almost every day and hadn't even known he walked. Methinks he was a dark horse.
We left here with very warm feelings for the occupants and proceeded to the local P.O. as I wanted to send a wire, rather unheard of you'd think, when I was met with “Whatever do you want to send a wire for?” There was then a wild hunt for the one and only pencil, the mother finally deciding after about ten minutes that the child must have taken it. All the time a long harangue went on about the amount the Government charged for its services, the effect of which was rather lost on discovering that she had overcharged me. To cap all, after making out the form, with a grumbled “Why should I keep this?” she crumpled it up and threw it into the waste paper basket before the outraged eyes of we two business women.
Our next port of call was a small farm where we were to get directions for a short cut. Short, did I say? These people were most hospitable and we were very impressed by the self sacrifice of the wife, who though not in very good health and with a great deal of work to do, had put aside her petrol iron so that she might do her share in the saving of petrol.
The next day was very cold and bleak and on calling at a house some miles further on for more instructions, the woman with one look at our bare legs said, “O- come into the fire. God he help you”. She then told us to continue on until we came to the sixth house from where we could cut across to Parker's Gap, and thence on to Captain's Flat. We went on and on, the sixth house turning out to be twelve miles away. By this time the short cut had run into 22 miles so we decided to call it a day, as the Gap still loomed in the distant hills.
The country is full of surprises, for as we were wending our way through the bush the next day, we met a bullock team driven by a boy wearing a King's School badge. After a few hours walking we reached Captain's Flat, so called after a famous bullock which had died there. Amidst all the mining buildings and debris, there was one lone tree which Ray was quite sure must have been the tree the famous Captain had used to rub his back against, as never would it have been spared otherwise; the one spot of beauty amidst the desolation.
He concluded our trip at Canberra which was garbed in all the beauty of spring, forming a strong contrast to Nature's beauty through which we had trekked in the last fortnight.
These are just a few of the personal incidents which, to me, add greatly to the enjoyment of a trip. There is so much to be learned from contact with people other than those we are meeting every day, for it gives us a wider understanding, the lack of which is responsible for much of the hatred and strife in the world.
by Hec Carruthers?
When I first knew I was on my way to New Guinea I tried to conjure up all the news I had heard and read about the place and could only remember something about head hunters. I recalled hearing Jock Marshall lecturing one night but I was very hazy as to what the country was like. Full of expectations of something tropical I watched the dim distant coastline gradually assume larger proportions and through the shimmering heat haze I discerned mountains in the distance.
On a very hot afternoon we disembarked and I was very much interested in the native population who seemed to be lying around in convenient patches of shade. The scene just looked like a bush walker reunion after lunch. The natives were only wearing ramis and showed well developed torsos. At first glance they looked like women as they have large mops of frizzy hair which is usually adorned with a tropical flower - the frangipanni is very popular. Their features are good and they are not what I pictured head hunters to be. When spoken to they usually giggle although a number of mission taught boys are always ready to do business such as washing of clothes or the selling of bangles, bananas, etc.
These chaps usually live in the native villages which fringe the shores. Some of these are very picturesque as they are framed in a grove of cocoanut palms. Pigs, dogs and piccaninnies roam around the huts and play together in the dust and mud. Their dwellings consist of huts built on poles and constructed from bambos and woven palm leaves. They are rather cool to live in and are waterproof even in heavy rainstorms. The women do most of the work in the camp and it is quite the usual thing to see a kikenny chopping the wood while the menfolk sit around yarning or smoking plug tobacco. The women mostly wear only a grass skirt in accordance with the tropical stories. So far the natives have been like bush walkers but when gear has to be carried it is always the woman who does the carrying. Rather a good idea I think. She uses a woven dilly bag which hangs over her back and is supported by a hand around her forehead.
On first appearance the countryside is very similar to our own State especially on the southern coastal area around Gerringong. Gum trees grow profusely and intermingle with pandanus palms and pawpaw trees. In order to provide shade the inhabitants have planted a very pleasant glade of casuarina trees. Further out from the town small peculiar shaped hills break up the coastal plains and present some fine sights. Rocky knolls are a feature of the landscape and combine with a mantle of green foliage in creating an impression of verdant pastures. From a high vantage point a fine view can be obtained of a large area which includes a few miles of coastline out from which lazy breakers form a line of white foam as they curl over the coral reef. Small hills in the immediate foreground lead up to a vast mountain range culminating in the mighty Mount Victoria which rises to nearly 14,000 feet and forms part of the Owen Stanley Range. From this same viewpoint the whole countryside presents a mixture of greens as trees, bushes and grasses intermingle and provide homes for numerous wallabies and bandicoots. Away in the distance a line of dark green trees denote the course of the Lalaki River with its rapids and crocodiles.
Portions of this river are very similar to the Port Hacking with the exception that now and again cocoanut and banana plantations remind one that he is still in the tropics. Further upstream however, the whole countryside alters and the river rushes wildly over huge boulders and between towering and precipitous cliffs. That is in the mountainous region where some fine scenery rouses the bush walker blood and makes the photographer very enthusiastic.
It was in the mountains that Arthur Austin and myself spent a very pleasant time chatting over past experiences and admiring the scenery. It was the first time I had met Arthur for two years so we had a lot to say to each other. We did not boil the billy although we did enjoy a drink from a delightful mountain stream that splashed down some rocky walls.
It is amongst the mountains that the Laloki finds its source and there are a number of views that remind me of portions of the Kowmung. For the first few miles the river falls rapidly and rushes over rocky bars before plunging for 250 feet down to a narrow canyon where it roars as it twists and turns around massive blocks of conglomerate rock that litter the narrow defile. Patches of tropical jungle growth are seen occasionally as vines and tall trees intertwine and form almost impenetrable forests. The whole area is similar to our Macquarie Pass with massive rocky walls forming the sides of the valley.
Walking up here is not a very popular pastime as the heat does not encourage undue exertion. There are plenty of places worthy of a visit but off the beaten track the long grass hides pitfalls in the form of holes, rocks and logs. There are numerous cruks and springs about but it is not always advisable to drink the water as the natives cannot be trusted in their method of hygeine.
A few miles back from the town there are some high spots from where views of distant mountain ranges can be seen beckoning to the wanderer to come and explore. They look very interesting but so far I have not been able to go and have a look at them. Camping in this area is very pleasant and reminded me of some of our week end camps around the mountains. Our tent was situated in a very picturesque spot surrounded by trees and other tall chaps that grow in clumps. We enjoyed some very good cups of coffee while at this camp and I introduced the beverage to the boys, as we had fresh milk and American coffee the results were better than I expected. We were also fortunate in being able to obtain bananas, paw paws, tomatoes pumpkins and sweet potatoes, all brought in by the natives. It was quite the usual thing to see a native come to the tent with a bundle under his arm and say “noospaper”. He would immediately barter a few sheets of paper for his fruit or vegetable and he went away quite contented he could go and roll a few cigarettes and enjoy a quiet smoke for a few hours before running out of “noospaper”. These chaps can speak a little of our language but have some amusing ways of describing various things? Most of the Bushwalkers will remember the way they describe the cross-cut saw:- “Brother belong axe, pullem him come, push em him go, all time kai kai (cut) tree.” They are not always so roundabout in their descriptions and if properly educated and trained are quite brainy and useful. I have met a few who could speak as well as most white men and who were well educated and interesting. They are very few, however, most of the natives being simple folk who have a very amusing way of laughing at life.
Bird life around Port Moresby is very scarce, the most common visitor being the noisy friar who certainly keeps up to his name, especially early in the morning when we are trying to get a few extra minutes of sleep. The old crow roams around, unmolested, and makes some very amusing noises at appropriate moments. He is protected in this area so he can afford to Ha! Ha! Haa!
This description of Port Moresby would not be complete without some references to our own conditions. Sleep is a very precious thing although hard to obtain. Owing to the hords of mosquitos, nets are essential. This means that we spend very hot nights in our nets and although stripped off we cannot stop the perspiration from pouring out of our bodies. Mosquitoes, flies and ants all present problems but we still manage to smile and take it all in the traditional Aussie spirit, so I must thank the Club for my previous training with my follow members of the old days and I am quite happy in the fact that experience gained in the Australian bush is standing me in good stead now that events have taken a serious turn.
Whether on the Blue Mountains of New South Wales or the Mountains of New Guinea, the spirit of comradeship still prevails and all our trials and troubles are well worth the while if we can keep our country free from the yellow peril.
For two days we had walked by compass course across a blank space on a totally inadequate tourist map. We had tramped over trackless swamps, camped midst snow drifts, been confronted with a multitude of cattle tracks, but always on our left were the lovely towering Bogong Peaks that invited us to take our direction from them and seemed to be keeping a watchful eye upon us. Then we had come to the top of the “Zigzag”, an amazing cattle pass that winds in zigzag fashion some thousand feet or so to the river valley below. It was a stupendous moment. The map had given no indication of the glories of that river valley. The river itself, a silver thread, wound its way between green tree-clad hills to the far distance, where it became lost in the foothills of lovely misty blue peaks. Here and there were tiny dots that indicated homesteads, and occasionally the valley widened into fertile looking flats.
After a long time we descended to the river. An exciting helter skelter stream the Goobragandra, that races over rocks and rapids and swirls around the river bends in abandonment.
In the late afternoon we rounded a bend and were confronted with an obvious campsite. From our feet ran a brilliantly green tiny river flat, on the far side of which were a group of tall and stately elms, whose autumn tinted leaves were illuminated by the last rays of the sun. We had come from the bitter cold of the highlands to the comparatively balmy valley and as we made our camp in those lovely surroundings we all felt I think that we and found perfection indeed.
Says: Please note the following dates:
|June 12 (Friday) 8 p.m.||Reg Alder with musical background will show his color slides. Come along.|
|June 26 (Friday) 8 p.m.||Annual Photographic Exhibition.|
|July 17 (Friday) 8 p.m.||Mr. Neville Cayley will tell us about “Bird Camouflage” illustrated with slides.|
|July 31 (Friday) 8 p.m.||Club Room Party. Don't miss it!!!|
In the absence of the President, Frank Duncan took the chair at the meeting.
The B.S.C. Photographic Competition winners were announced. They were George Dibley, first, and Johnny Woods, second.
The main business of the evening was a discussion on Charles Jones' motion that the Club should send delegates to the Youth Parliament. A sub-committee, appointed by the General Committee reported in favour of sending delegates. The sub-committee was of the opinion that the Club could thereby further two of its objects, those of establishing a definite record for the wild life and natural beauty of this country, and of helping others to appreciate those natural gifts.
In response to an invitation from the Club, the Youth Parliament sent a speaker, Miss Morris, to address the meeting. Miss Morris explained that the Easter sessions of the Youth Parliament are modelled exactly on the procedure of Parliament. A number of Bills are presented and debated. At the last session the Bills dealt with Youth Employment, Youth Education, Physical Fitness and National Reconstruction. Last December the subject of “Youth and the International Situation” was debated. The Parliament has decided to give every support to the war effort and production, and is trying to get into active work. Some of its members are now engaged in collecting food and clothes into depots for the victims of the air raids. A Youth Drive has also been planned. The Parliament always applies to the Government in power for the implementation of the acts passed by it (The Youth Parliament).
The meeting discussed the Youth Parliament at some length. Wal Roots could not see how the Youth Parliament could further the objects of the Club. He thought that all our efforts might be needed for keeping the Club together, and that the Club might defer the question of affiliation till after the war. Ray Kirkby pointed out that amongst all the Bills debated there were none which directly concerned the Club. The main idea of the Youth Parliament was to consider social conditions. It would be hard to avoid having to further the objects of some political party. Our delegates might, however publicise the work of the Bush Walking movement. Marie Byles was in favour of sending delegates. She hoped that the movement might develop along the lines of the European Youth Movements. Walking and camping was an essential part of the activities of these movements and they were responsible for bringing large numbers of people to an appreciation of the outdoors. The question was, not “what could the Youth Parliament do for us?” but “What could we do for the Youth Parliament?” Alex. Colley said that the Parliament had a distinct political bias, and that the cause of conservation could be better furthered by an independent body. Other bodies, such as the N.R.M.A. and Parks and Playground movement had found the same. The delegates time could be better spent working through the Federation. Charles Jones, the mover of the motion to send delegates, thought it was extremely important to put the conservation viewpoint to youth. He pointed out that the Parliament was an excellent means of doing this. We might also gain members by this means. He thought we should be ashamed of ourselves if we could not, as had been suggested, find four delegates to give up their Easter trip and attend the Parliament.
The motion was then put to the meeting and carried.
In reply to a Federation letter re the carrying of guns in the Kosciusko area, the Chief Secretary said that there was already draft legislation for the more rigid control of shooting in sanctuaries. If it could be proved that there were few noxious birds or animals in the Kosciusko Alpine Reserve, the case for prohibiting shooting in the area would be strengthened.
In reply to a Federation protest re damage to trees at the junction of Ulooloo and Kangaroo Creeks the Superintendent of National Park said “The spot in question is away in the gullies, and not often visited by the Park staff.”
It was resolved that any walker making a map should submit a copy to the Federation before making it public.
The Federation adopted the report of the Committee on the Marking of Tracks. This report will be made available to all clubs and sent to the Department of Lands, Park Trusts and other bodies. It is a very well reasoned and concise report and the “Sydney Bushwalker” intends to publish extracts from it in the next issue.
44 adults and 4 children were present at the Bouddi Natural Park working bee. 20 cypress trees were planted, 6 fireplaces erected, a 5 ft. well sunk, fences repaired, lantana cleared and a hut cleaned out.
The President, Mr. Oliver Wyndham, reported that, in response to the efforts of the Bushwalkers Emergency Committee, a reconnaisance and guides corps is being formed by the V.D.C. The Bushwalkers are to be allotted the Sydney area, which extends from Newcastle to Nowra and inland to Bathurst. 31 walkers have either promised to join the V.D.C. or work as auxiliaries.
The work will be purely reconnaisance work. Groups of walkers will be allocated to particular areas, and will be required to get to know the district well enough to be able to guide men either at night or day without the slightest difficulty. Girls will be able to help, but not officially. Rail warrants will be provided. ·
By Abores Australis.
If in the course of our bushwalking we see a lovely group of trees, blue-gums, for instance, and hear that timber-millers are going to cut it, we probably get very indignant and do our best to stop the desecration. From a scenic point of view we can probably judge better than most people. But from the forestry point of view most of us are pretty poor judges.
What determines whether a tree ought or ought not to be cut if the forest wealth of the country is to be conserved and developed?
Obviously if a tree is tall and straight and has reached the full limit of its growth, it is a proper tree for the sawmill, and both the forester and the sawmiller will be agreed. The trouble is that the sawmiller very often wants to cut trees that have not reached the full limit of their growth. These lovely tall trees with another 15 or 20 years of rapid growth are the very apple of his eye. They are also the apple of the eye of the forester, and under no circumstances should they be cut unless they are growing too closely together, and of this the forester is the only judge.
Among the younger trees a certain number just usually be cut to allow the others to reach full growth. But among the very young trees or saplings the thinning must be done with very great care, for if they are to grow tall, straight and branchless, the forester's ideal, they must grow close together. If too many are removed the remainder will develop branches and so become useless as future timber.
Tall, straight and branchless, fully grown and perfectly sound - that is the type of tree that makes good timber. However much from a scenic or soil-erosion point of view we think other trees ought to be conserved, from the point of view of commercial timber production, they are of little or no use.
Are the bushwalkers' and the foresters' views therefore liable to be in conflict? Possibly! But with a little give and take on each side there is no reason why they should, for forestry is defined to include:- Commercial timber-production, soil conservation and erosion control, development and conservation of scenic values, recreation values, shooting, game preservation, fishing, flora conservation, preservation of wooded lands for the sake of having wooded lands in desirable proportion to other lands. It is true that in our State, where funds for forestry are so limited, the first plays the largest part in the Forestry Department's plans, but its officers assert that the others are not lost sight of.
(Next month: “How bush fires destroy our timber resources”).
There are quite a few people who are not sure which is the Southern Cross, and many more who do not know where to look for it.
During the year the Cross makes a complete clockwise circle in the sky as, in fact, do all the other stars. The circle it describes touches the Southern horizon and comes to a point nearly overhead. The centre of this circle is known as the South Celestial Pole. This is a point of some significance to Bush Walkers because it is always in exactly the same place in the sky and is directly south. To find this point draw an imaginary line from the head to the foot of the Cross and project it three and a half times its own length.
At present the Cross is nearly overhead in the early evening. It is set in the Milky Way, and lying against it to the East is a pear shaped black space known as the “Coal Sack”. This is not a sort of black hole in the sky, but a large mass of gas which obscures the stars beyond it. To the East of the Cross are the two pointers. The brighter of those, Alpha Centauri, is the second nearest star to the earth. It is 4.2 light years away from us.
To the ancients, before a Cross had any significance for mankind, the two pointers and the two stars of the Cross nearly in line with them, were imagined as the four feet of the Centaur, Chiron, who instructed Jason and the heroes in the arts of peace and war. It was soon on the horizon at Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion, but was not known as a separate constellation until at least the fifteenth century.
All ye who pride yourselves in the possession of “those good pictures” bring them into the limelight of the forthcoming exhibition - “The S.B.W. Salon”, - that others may also enjoy their rare beauty. If they are only in the negative state, bestir yourselves to action and produce those delightful prints that they may hold place in that annual and time-honoured exhibition - to make it not only successful, but the best and greatest yet.
Exhibition Date - June 26th 1942.
For any particulars, contact:- John Noble, Reg Alder, Roley Cotter.
From the Middle East. Life over here has been very quiet of late. Work, which used to keep us moving, has fallen off considerably, in fact the business is practically in the bankruptcy stage, and all guard duties, with the exception of the lines picquet, have bean taken off our hands by an infantry batallion, which has moved in, so our future in the Holy Land is much brighter. The only fly in the ointment is our C.O.'s rather definite ideas on how the troops should occupy their time. He believes in leaving us with practically no time with which to get into mischief.
From New Guinea. There are some excellent walks about up this way also marvellous scenery, of course punctuated by native villages and the smell attached thereto. There is little that I can say but that life has its moments and dog fights are quite exciting in the distance but not so hot when directly up stairs. As for bombs, well I have been close enough for my liking although you get used to them and only curse them for perhaps making you dive for a trench, and unlike Sydney it rains well up here and off times the trench is half full of dirty water but who minds; many the times I have hugged mother earth while she is enshrouded with about 6“ of water not so hot.
From Ottawa, Canada. I am now in the final phase of my training, Astra-navigation, and have only a few weeks to go. “Life” is a very widely circulated magazine over here and you may remember we entertained one of its cameramen at a Federation S. & R. week-end on the Nepean in the summer 1940/41. I recently saw an issue containing the fruits of Hank's (that was his name) sojourn in Australia and he had not entirely overlooked the Federation, the pictures including one of a beautiful blonde S.B.W. all complete with rucksack.
New Guinea. I have just Met Arthur Austin who has returned from overseas, he showed me a couple of photo sheets that he had received and I was very interested, especially as I recognised most of the members. It brought back old memories especially when I saw Rene Browne with the outside in mugs. Tell Rene that we sure appreciate our mugs of tea up here and what mugs- “Mugs as big as dippers”. (Hec has sent a very vivid and interesting description of the country and life in New Guinea for publication in the S.B.W. Magazine, so look out for it.)
By the way, Hec is now back in Australia. Gunner Anderson is also back from Malaya via Palembang and Java.
Bob Savage turned up at the beginning of last month. He looked very well and fit, and a ring of interested listeners gathered around him to hear his descriptions of the real thing on the other side. A lot of things went off around him but he was lucky enough not to stop any of them. At present Bob is giving some of the troops at home the benefit of his experiences, so as to avoid casualties when they go into action.
Irving Calnan came back from camp for a week end. He relaxed by going on the week-end test walk and caught the l a.m. train back on Sunday morning. He expected to get a good rest the next day, by means which must remain a military secret.
We led you astray in the last issue, by saying that Mrs. Dick Jackson, was formerly “Cora” Henderson. Personally we like the name Cora, but it seems we can't wish it on to anyone, and no doubt Mrs. Jackson would prefer her own name which is Paula, so we apologise.
The Stork had a cross country trip to Orange a short while ago, with a heavy pack. Delivered the goods to Mrs. Hundt, whom we remember as Gwen Clarke. The baby, a daughter, is everything a baby should be, we hear. Resembles Gwen a great deal, is making good progress and will soon be talking.
A member was heard the other night, wishing rather wistfully, that after the War, he might have a Tank so that we could do some of the really rough country, that country which strangely enough appeals to so many of our Walkers. We have quieter ambitions for after the War, inclining rather to the idea of a Sampan trip down the Shoalhaven with a few honourable soul mates.
We thought the high price of vegetables would have killed off our pet vegetarians and were therefore surprised at the number of them in the Club room recently, looking so well that we suspect them of paying surreptitious visits to the butcher.
Six members, including three Committee members, and two prospectives went on Doreen Helmrich's test walk down the Grose. One of the prospectives brought a quarter pound of coffee which he brewed for supper and morning tea. The other prospective served the coffee to the party. A good tine was had by all.
Ginger Pup wants to know:- Is anyone able to tell me why certain ridges on the mountains are called “The Dogs”?
New Member moans:- I have noticed that many of the older members of the club do not turn up on Official Walks, especially Test Walks, and as far as I can tell they simply go for short saunters along comfortable tracks with their friends. I understand that ours is a walking club and therefore suggest that three Test walks every year should be made compulsory.
Black Billy writes: We “Old UNs” loved our camp fires, loved the music we had thereat, Ballads of yester year, Gilbert & Sullivan, Schubert and other tuneful memories, and the old club songs which now seem almost to have passed into the limbo of forgotten things.
Do the new folk have similar tastes? Do they know the melodies we loved so well, and which blend so with the night song of the bush? For the camp fires are not quite what they were, it seems to me. Wherein lies the change? Or am I out of step?
Fed-Up: Being a keen walker my two children have been no obstacle on trips. I carry one in my arms and one on my back, although I have weak ankles. The arrival of the third is disheartening. Where can I put it? Glad of any advice.
A letter for the correspondence page - or is it?
In reply to yours of Tuesday and returning to the subject of whether I should write the “Social Gossip” page, or the “Nature Notes” for the Bushwalker - I am still somewhat in the dark as to what you meant when you said that nature was a more suitable topic for me to handle.
I think you said that a Social Gossip writer has to write rather scandalously to make a success of it - yes you did - you must remember; I was just stepping out of my bath or rather your bath and as you handed me the towel - the perfect hostess always - you poked me in the ribs and said “You'll never be able to write scandal A - you have had too quiet a life to have ever come across any” and I said “Phooey to you my dear, I may be an elder member but I'm not as prim as all that.” You see Clare, I could tell that story about B. and her platonic friendship with S. which G. told me on Sunday night as I was dampsetting her hair after a walk and then she quoted Mencken as having written that “Platonic Friendship was merely sitting on the fence waiting to see which way the cat jumped”, and we laughed so much that she fell off the chair and I had such a job picking her up that when I told you, you said, ”“Well that just goes to show”, and I said “What does it go to show?” and you said “It goes to show that Sunday evenings in Sydney aren't as dull as some American soldiers make out.” By the way Clare, you had better alter my nom-de-plume from “Clubman” to “Clubwoman” - it might save some silly idle chatter.
Then my dear you go on and contradict yourself by saying that if the gossip is too scandalous, the people mentioned such as “G” might object - but don't you see Clare, there is more than one “G” in the club, so no one would be quite sure which one I referred to and the one whom it was would lie low or she'd give herself away, and I think the other one wouldn't say it couldn't be her for fear people would think nothing ever happened to her. It might be taking a risk but you can usually count on the duplicity of most women and in some cases even triplicity.
Then there's my idea for a list of forthcoming marriages or impending events, - did I tell you what C said about some of those on the list as having been impending for a terrible long time, and the husbands being a long time forthcoming. I said I thought that she was rather catty for one so long in the tooth herself, and she retorted that I couldn't be accused of getting long in the tooth myself 'cause my dentures were wearing shorter if anything after nearly two decades of constant use) - nice sort of people we meet in the club don't we?
On second thoughts Clare dear,I think you may be right, I really don't know much gossip and certainly nothing scandalous, so I'll have a try at the Nature Study page instead.
Here are a few notes for the first -
The Species Hillus Billy Antipodeus, unlike its American counterpart is migratory in habit and offers a fertile field of research for Nature Lovers.
It's favourite haunts are hills, more hills and occasionally bosky dells. At least once a year and usually in the month of March it swarms in large numbers in lovely spots in the bush and performs strange rites around the newly chosen queen, much as happens in the life cycle of bees. Such a swarming was seen this March down Heathcote Creek, by one observer.
It is omniverous, compatable, and usually spotlessly clean in its habits, while its song is “sometimes” very sweet and free from halitosis. The mating season extends from January until Xmas.
During the rest of the year - a matter of five or six days - it takes flight to its favourite eyrie, sometimes spelt Era and there it takes stock of its year's efforts and breath for the next.
Extracts from a letter from Dot English:
One Perce Woodman, whom you may have met walking with the S.B.W's on occasion (he was at the Federation Reunion and has been in at the Club on a few occasions) has started a club here which is called the Melbourne Bushwalkers. It's constitution is based on that of the S.B.W's, and Perce grows lyrical whenever he speaks of the S.B.W's and their friendliness and good sense, etc. I am throwing in my weight behind this Club, and maybe the happy future will see a Club in Melbourne where boys and girls can walk and camp together without their world taking seven blue fits about it. I went out visiting - and - lending lights of the Melbourne Mens Walking Club and Melbourne Womens' Walking Club respectively. Of course when they walk at week-ends they do not do trips together. I ventured to express the view that I thought it was a poisonous idea to segregate the sexes in a prudish Mid-Victorian fashion, and run afraid that the one called - took it as a personal slight. However, one must be honest. I had been warned not to venture my disapproval on the monastic system of the Melbourne Walking Clubs, but alas I couldn't keep my tongue still when the honour of the Bushwalkers was at stake. Forward the Light Brigade! and other hunting expressions! I can see a lot of fun ahead in the future. We are toying with the idea of getting hold of a Club room for regular meetings, and of starting a monthly magazine, both of which I think are very strong factors in holding a club together.
What I miss most here in New Orleans is the lack of facilities for outdoor exercise. New Orleans is built on the Mississippi delta and there is nothing but swamps all around - you cannot walk at all. Then the facilities for swimming are very poor - a lukewarm and dirty lake and two city pools and that is all. No nice clean ocean with white, sandy beaches to sunbake on. With summer coming on in this moist, sub-tropical climate you can imagine how I shall sigh for our Sydney beaches. They say that it is hot and steamy and never lets up night or day for weeks on end. The Gulf is a hundrJd miles away.
The tree which moves some to tears of joy, is in the eyes of others a green thing that stands in the way - But to the eyes of the man with imagination nature is Imagination itself. As a man is, so be sees.“
In the spirit of “the Club must carry on” many members have volunteered to lead walks, though in some cases they are attached to some organisation such as N.E.S., Red Cross etc. which means that they may be prevented at the last moment from leading their walks. This makes it imperative that those desirous of joining a walk give reasonable notice to the leader. If the leader tells you he may not be available, phone Walks Secretary (F.X.7019) during the week. He will tell you whether the walk is still on, or name the substitute leader.
Have you planned your exhibit yet?
If you haven't, let Tony Goodman advise you. Bring your negatives along, and we will talk them over. I'll make a fine job of the enlargements.
You know ……….
Goodman Bros. 20 Hunter Street, Sydney. (opposite Wynyard)
The Bushwalking fraternity (through long contact with the bush) is far too level-headed to indulge in any such anti-social activity as Panic Buying, but Paddy wants the S.B.W. to be even more self-sacrificing. He appeals to all good walkers to make their precious camping gear spin out to the utmost. Materials are scarce and likely to be scarcer; they are reserved for necessities and comforts for the Forces and Public Safety bodies. Therefore, if you can make your old pack or tent last out a little longer, do so; Paddy will be pleased to repair it.
Newcomers to walking can still be assured of getting most of what they require and they are welcome.
327 George Street, Sydney. 'Phone: B.3101.