Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bushwalkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney.
No. 92. August, 1942. Price 3d.
|Associate Editor||Grace Jolley|
|Business Manager||Alex. Colley|
In This Issue:
|Was it a Holiday?||W. Cosgrove||2|
|An Old Scrap Book||J. Athill||4|
|Muskell and Dawn||L. Greenacre||5|
|July in the Bush||Ray Birt||6|
|The Milky Way||Canopus||8|
|At Our Own Meeting||9|
|From Our Melbourne Correspondent||10|
|The Voice of the Social Committee||11|
|From a Prison Camp in Germany||12|
|Letters from the Lads & Lassies||12|
|What do you think?||15|
|Soaring into the Purple||17|
|Goodman Bros. Photo Supplies Advertisement||17|
Gumtrees ahead, and gumtrees behind your back
And out to the east and burning away to the sunset;
Not a house to be seen, no fires lit for the night,
Not even cattle in a paddock or a dog barking.
The miles of trees, the light going out of the branches
Like autumn turning to winter, and then the mist
Blotting the valleys out, then nothing left
But the huge black lonely ridges, and the branches above me,
Not moving a leaf, hanging over me, black.
It's the gumtrees' country. They had it before we came
They'll have it again when we've gone. Ages they've had it
Sinking their roots in the rocks covering the ridges,
Weathering the droughts….
From the play “Ned Kelly” by Douglas Stewart.
Was It A Holiday (?)
by W. Cosgrove.
Do we really enjoy our tough trips? I often wonder. But all my doubts were dispersed after our trip last King's Birthday week end.
The party consisted of Alex, who suggested the trip in three days (now I know the reason for the expression “a mad alec”); two Bills, and one Doreen. What a girl! Shades of the tigers, but no tigers to carry her weight.
The route (vide map), Bilpin, Mt. Irvine, Wollangambe Creek, Colo River, Kurrajong. The route (vide foot) well… The only train to Kurrajong on Friday night leaves at 5.40. This necessitates taking the Rucksack into work, and answering innumerable absurd questions, such as “Do you really carry that”; “Do the girls carry packs?”; they must be toughs; and the classical on of,all “How many miles do you walk?”.
A mad dash was made to catch the early train, and a cold tea, ugh! gulped thereon. Toppled out in the cold at Richmond to change into a small jolting, stop everywhere, midget train. The only place for packs on the floor. Black looks from passengers who tripped over same. Bargaining in the frosty air at Kurrajong to secure car to Bilpin. Got it for 15/-. One bright spot, anyhow. Only eats at Kurrajong, cold meat pies, and milk from a refrigerator.
The Limousine to Bilpin. Oh! what comfort. The last for three days. If we had only known. Then a three mile scramble down a dark rough road, punctuated by recent land slides, to the crossing at Bowen's Creek, and a cold damp miserable camp spot. A four man tent pitched on sloping ground. I was the lower end man, where every slight movement from the top end was amplified into a push at my end. A conference before slumber. Better start early on Saturday morning for the junction of Bowen's and Wollangambe Creeks, in case the main ridge (the only ridge shown on our rough sketch map) should not be distinct. We agreed, and settled down to sleep not realising then that it was already Saturday morning.
Had breakfast and got away at 6.50 a.m. Toiled uphill for half-an-hour, dropped down to a wet slippery tributary of Bowen's Creek; clambered up on the other side to the road to Mt. Irvine. Wiped away the first blood of the trip from a slip in a rock chimney. Passed a pig farm (the effluvia from which persisted for nearly half-a-mile) to come to Mt. Irvine. Kept to main ridge, more or less, mostly less, and after 45 minutes for lunch arrived at the junction of the two creeks at 4.45 p.m. Nine hours actual walking, and that ridge a series of ups and downs, and wrong turns; rough underfoot; dead branches to scrape tender shins; short sharp bushes to harass knees and thighs; and thick young saplings to tear shoulders and hinder Rucksack. It was the first day, and we had no complaints. But now the problem of reaching the creek before dark, presented itself; and what a scramble the solution was; down, perhaps, as sharp a knife edge as any on the mountains, and our only rope two bobs worth of No. 8 sash cord. To our relief we reached the Wollangambe just before absolute darkness.
What a camp spot that night. Wet sand; wet bushes; wet trees. Everything flaming well wet. When we did get he fire alight it smoked like Hell; and, when the steak was grilled it fell on the said. But we ate it. We were too damn tired and hungry to object. In the tent the sand packed down, and about midnight it was like cement. We had another before slumber conference. As the Wollangambe had looked rough from a thousand feet up, perhaps an early start (what again) would be advisable.
Away at 6.45 a.m. Of all the cursed hazards nature provides for the perversity of Bushwalkers, Wollangambe Creek has them. Cold rushing rapids to cross between long deep pools; stretches of soft resistless sand; huge rocks to clamber up one side and skid down the other, using shorts as a brake; lawyer vines and nettles to dodge; projecting rock ledges to worm round; head high wet bushes that wet to the skin, and endeavoured to drag the Rucksack from your back; and all these abominations superimposed by the fear of falling behind schedule; with the slow going, and thoughts of what nice things one might be doing this holiday weekend if one had only known.
At last the junction of the Colo at 11 a.m. A spell, and an application of first aid to cuts and scratches. Relieved to find we were only about one hour behind schedule, and now we thought the going would be easy along the old Railway Survey track, and we could lunch at Blacksmith's Creek. We did at 2 p.m. seven hours since breakfast. That survey track turned out to be a mass of fallen trees; loose gravel; washed out side watercourses; and almost as bad a scramble as the Wollangambe. Tootie Creek was reached in the dark at 5.45, after negotiating, amongst other tortures, a half mile of three feet high bracken covering fallen logs (those blasted logs and our bleeding shins) and in the dark. This bracken was almost the limit. Why not camp and let tomorrow go hang? Who wants to get to Kurrajong on Monday night, anyhow? But on we stumbled.
We camped on the ridge from the river in order to avoid another encounter with wet sand. In the dark the tent was pitched on a hump, and the fire lit in a hollow. Anything accidentally dropped rolled into the fire. In the tent I tried both ends, and both were on a slope. I did not complain, but resolved never again to be the end man in a four man tent. We had a third conference. As we have from Tootie Creek to Kurrajong to do tomorrow, perhaps, (yes we know another early start) well anyway we could sleep in till 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning; at home).
Up at 5 a.m. breakfast, and marking time waiting for the dawn. More rough going to Upton's Creek (still dry), and the big bend above Armstrongs. Up the ridge and dropped down to Gosper's Creek at 10.30 a.m. and lunch (yes at 10.30) so as to get an early start, the last we hope, to try Wheeny Creek and the Cedar Ridge to Kurrajong. Made the Cedar Ridge, and then eight miles road walk, including 5 miles Macadam, in hob nails, to catch the only train from Kurrajong, at six o'clock. Arrived at Kurrajong 5.35, footsore and tired; more cold milk, and they had the same cold pies. Sat one and a half hours in the midget train waiting for an engine to be re-railed at Richmond; half an hour for missed connection at Richmond, and a change at Parramatta for Central. Four hours for a journey of about 40 miles.
Now do we really enjoy tough trips? Perhaps those present day persistent Era campers ONCE did a tough trip.
But, fortunately, every tough trip has it's compensating highlight. The highlight of this trip was the breath-taking gorge of Bowen's and Wollangambe Creeks. The almost vertical clean cut sandstone faced ridges rise, majestically, from the wide green pools, stretched between sparkling rapids, and reflect therein all their colour and grandeur, culminating at the Upper Colo River junction in the spectacular Wollangambe Basin, nestling at the foot of the mighty mass of the “Island”. Here, indeed, is nature in all the beauty of her primitive ruggedness.
An Old Scrap Book.
by J. Athill.
Dog-eared covers bursting with yellowed press-cuttings, it lay undisturbed among my books for years, a relic of sentimental schooldays. Other interests, new hobbies had cast it aside, it's contents forgotten, until a more than usually stringent spring-cleaning sounded its death knell.
“Useless rubbish”, said I, taking a quick glance through for old times' sake. “Hmm, dated 1930, I wonder what a twelve year old could find in the papers of that year to interest her? Let's see, pages of birds, trees, ferns, etc., sticky poems, gushing with sentiment on the dawn, noon twilight, and every conceivable mood of the Australian bush. Well, of course, in those days I had to do my walking in the pages of the Sydney Morning Herald. A Trip into the “Interior - New Guinea” as a contrast to “The Heart of Fiji” on the opposite page; “Australian Bushland” by the Rangers' League; “Blue-Gum Forest, Plea for its Protection”, The Blue Mount” — WHAT! BLUEGUM! I had struck gold!
Plea for its protection - by Explorer.
“In the heart of the Grose Valley, in the shadow of Mt. King George where Govett's Leap Creek joins the Grose, there is a wondrous forest of tall trees, cathedral like in its splendour. Mountain mists rise from it in the early morning, later a blue haze inverts its noble aisles, and in the evening when the setting sun is reflected from an overtowering cliff-face, sunbeams filter through the trees in shafts of dancing gold. All day small birds trill happy songs in its depths, and the only other sounds are the faint rustle of wind in the tree tops and the pleasant murmur of the creek.
This peaceful place is easy of access to anyone sound in wind and limb; and in all their wanderings, members of The Mountain Trails Club have found no spot to equal it, but alas! it is private property, and the giant bluegums are threatened with destruction. Unless prompt action is taken they will have to yield to the timber-getters axe, and an ugly gash will appear in the valley, visible in the distance from several mountain lookouts. The Mountain Trails Club and Sydney Bush Walkers are, therefore, planning to buy the forest and present it to the State, that its beautiful timber may be preserved for posterity instead of being used to feed a baker's oven.”
My old scrap-book is now one of my most treasured possessions!
July In The Bush.
by Ray Birt.
“Flowers in the crannied wall.
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all in my hand
Little flower but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is”.
In this poem Tennyson expresses very aptly the mystery of life, that one feels hidden in a flower. Its marvellous form, colour and construction, from one tiny seed, which one feels a masterhand must have created, to add to the beauty of the world. The beauty of Australian flowers has not been brought to the notice of people as those, say of England have, their praises having been sung and very sweetly so, by the poets. But if one cares to take a walk even at the present time, there are numbers of flower coming into bloom, of very great loveliness. N.P. The exquisite Baronia Ledifolia is to be seen in bud and round Middle Harbour and Cowan Creek is just showing colour. It derives its name Ledifolia from its leaden green leaves which set off to advantage the four petals of deep pink blooms. The Grevillia Punicea (Red Spider Flower) is particularly beautiful this year, the flowers being large, very rich in colour and most prolific. The nodding clusters consist of pairs of flowers on short stalks, arranged so closely as to appear to spring from one point, as in an umbel. Honey-eaters may often be seen hovering round those flowers in search of their sweetness and adding to their attraction. N.P. Although a spring flower, the white Epacris (Heath-flower) is coming into bloom round Middle Harbour, also large clumps of Pimelea Linifolia (Policeman's buttons), which is a small scrubby plant with white flowers collected into a terminal head. The bright orange coloured stamens protrude from tubular flowers and add to their attraction. Lastly, the Eriostemen Crowea, which calls up a picture of loveliness which met my gaze, one day last year. As we descended a ridge, a sea of pink mist, or so it appeared in the distance, filled the valley, this on closer inspection we found to be masses of Eriostemen in such profusion as I have never seen before. As I have intimated the flowers are a deep pink growing singly on short axillary stalks, with a few scale like bracts at the base of each flower. The bracts, 5 small calyx lobes and the 5 petals are all covered with a minute hairy covering. The 10 stamens have fine filament with very hairy edges, which it is suggested keep the ants from the honey.
N.P. There are a few of the flowers which add greatly to the joys of walking and now when conditions make it difficult to seek pastures new, one may, by a more intimate study of our flora, create a new interest in the “beaten track”.
III. How The Danger Of Forest Fires Is Lessened.
On a recent visit to the Bago State Forest I was repeatedly told that firebreaks are useless to stop bushfires unless they consist of roads down which a lorry and men with fire-fighting equipment may race at between 20 and 30 miles an hour.
In olden times breaks used to be made through the forest in the illusion that they would stop fires, and you see such breaks straggling up the hillside through some of the older pine-plantations.
“If a fire-fighter found himself in one of those firebreaks during a severe bush fire,” said the forester laconically, “his best plan would be to get out as soon as possible!”
No firebreak will stop a really fierce fire. So the present policy is to make roads instead, and build frequent dams from which fire-fighting lorries can be replenished. Bago Plateau is plentifully supplied with small streams, and when a road crosses a stream, the bridge is often combined with a dam having a pipe to carry the waters under the road. A small sluice-gate placed over the pipe is closed during the bush-fire season, and there is your dam. There is a controversy going on between the engineer and the forester-in-charge as to whether one pipe is going to carry off all the water after heavy rains, but they seemed agreed that the combination of bridge and dam is a good idea, and Bago takes credit for having invented it, and saved the Forest Service the expense of large storage tanks and pumping equipment.
But of course the prime necessity is not to fight the bush fires, but to prevent them from ever getting to the stage at which they will require fighting. For this purpose lookout stations have been built at various strategic points carefully plotted by compass so that between them they command the whole area of the forest. Here again elaborate and expensive iron towers have been avoided. Instead, a suitable tree is selected, its top only cut off, so that it continues to live, a signal ladder run up the side, and a little platform erected on top complete with telephone.
“We put the telephone at the top of the tree instead of at the bottom to make sure that the man on duty actually goes up the ladder” remarked the forester, “otherwise he might think he could see as well from the ground!”
However, the ascent is made as easy as possible, for the ladder is almost completely enclosed in a kind of iron cage, so that the man on duty would have to be very drunk indeed not to get up and down in safety. This means that the look-out job during the summer can be done by old men, and the able-bodied staff kept for the harder work of fire-fighting,
The Milky Way.
At this time of the year the Milky Way is seen at its best. In the early evening it can be seen extending right across the sky and nearly overhead. It can only be seen on moonless nights as the light of the moon is bright enough to obscure its faint clouds of misty light.
It was not until 1609, when Galileo examined it through his new telescope, that it was found to be in reality, not a cloud, but a great mass of faint stars. How does this great number of stars come to be grouped so closely, in a great belt which extends right across the sky? Could we follow it beyond the horizon it would be found to join up in northern skies, thus forming a complete girdle around the earth.
Here is the explanation given by modern astronomers: All the stars which can be seen with the naked eye form part of the Galactic star system, of which we are a part. The stars we can see as separate stars are nearly all within 3000 light years of the earth, but actually the Galactic system is 100,000 or more light years across, and the more distant stars can only be seen as clouds if they happen to be grouped thickly in our line of vision. All the stars which form the Galactic system, or Galaxy, are grouped in a cloud which would be somewhat the shape of a watch. The system has also been likened to a wheel. We are situated about one third of the way from the hub of the wheel along one of the spokes. If we look towards the rim we look through a much longer vista of stars than if we look outwards at right angles to the central plane. If we look towards the hub and right through to the rim on the other side, we will look towards the greatest concentration of stars and the Milky Way will look most dense at this part. The hub is thought to be somewhere in the region of Saggitarious (the bright group of stars East of Scorpio at present). If you look at the sky you will find that the greatest number of stars are in the region of the Milky Way and the further you go from the Milky Way the darker the sky appears.
The Milky Way has a place in the mythology of nearly every peop1e. It is most often imagined as a river. A Greek myth said it was a road bordered by celestial palaces. The Gods travelled along this road to the Council of the Immortals, which was convened by Zeus when he decided to destroy all foolish mortals by flood. Orientals call it the celestial river and the fish in the river were supposed to be frightened by the hook of the new moon.
At Our Own Meeting.
Two new members were welcomed into the club by the President. They were June Winsbury, who was admitted last month, and Arthur Gilroy, who was welcomed at the end of the meeting.
A letter was received from the National Youth Parliament accepting with pleasure our application for affiliation. We are entitled to send four delegates and our fee will be £1. The election of delegates to the next conference, in September, was postponed till next meeting.
The Social Secretary reported that Reg Alder's photographic exhibition and quiz - “Where was it taken” - resulted in a contribution of £1/1/ for the Services Committee.
The Services Committee reported that it has decided to send food and parcels only to men at battle stations, as those stationed near large towns have little difficulty in obtaining food and other things. Bushwalking literature will still be sent to all those in the services. A photographic pool is to be established and good photographs are requested. The Committee is going to compile a song book. Songs are requested from members, particularly the old favourite tunes we used to sing around camp fires. The Committee posted 164 photographs and 39 publications in June.
Beryl English and Elsa Isaacs were elected room stewards for the ensuing two months.
The Secretary announced that the four torches purchased for use in air raid alarms have been put in the following places:
- One in the Committee room cupboard.
- One in the library.
- Two in the top drawer of the map table. This drawer will be left open as long as the Club rooms are occupied.
The Club Room Wardens are Dorothy Lawry, Jean Moppett, Edna Garrad and Roly Cotter. The nearest shelter is Wynyard.
It was decided to abandon the Sports Carnival this year, as so many of our ace athletes will be unable to attend.
Notices of motions for the half-yearly general meeting must be in the hands of the Secretary not later than August 16th.
Federation meetings are now held on the fourth, instead of the ground floor of 38 Carrington Street.
The area of Maitland Bay, on which the hut stands, has now been added to the Bouddi Natural Park.
No Federation Ball will be held this year.
A letter was received from the Under Secretary for Lands advising that, owing to shortage of staff, it is impossible at present to do any field surveying of the boundaries of those areas in the Blue Mountains, etc., which Federation requested should be dedicated as Primitive Areas and Parks. Therefore no formal dedication can be made yet, but while the matter is in abeyance the Department will see that these areas are protected from selection etc.
The Report of the Tracks and Blazes Committee, which was adopted at the May mooting, is still held over pending further consideration by the C.M.W.
Regarding the suggested prohibition of shooting in the Kosciusko Alpine Reserve, Mr. Kenyon reported a conversation he had had with a member of the N.S.W. Rod Fisherman's Association. This fisherman declared that cormorants, foxes and dingos were present in large numbers and did much damage. The cormorants annually consumed many thousands of trout and the birds were only kept down by the local residents spending one week-end each year in a great cormorant shoot at which the bag was usually about a thousand birds. If shooting were entirely prohibited, then foxes and dingos would breed there in large numbers and become a serious menace in the surrounding districts. However, fishermen and bushwalkers were entirely in agreement that tourists should be prohibited from carrying guns in the sanctuary and that permits to shoot cormorants, foxes and dingoes should only be issued to local residents known favourably to the police, to cattlemen, (or shepherds) and to people under the direct control of cattlemen.
From Dot English.
(The S.B.W.Is Special Correspondent in Melbourne)
You would perhaps like to hear news of the Melbourne Bush Walkers. Some of the members are a bit perturbed that we might be confused with the Metropolitan Board of Works, you know, people who go out and dig holes in the street - if we resort to using letters only as an abbreviation, but I feel we will manage to survive that.
What approximates to the Social Committee of the S.B.W., (namely the M.B.W. President and Secretary), got their heads together and arranged a musical evening at the President's home. There were about 24 of us present, and a good time was had by all. The S.B.W's were represented by Mouldy, John Hunter and myself. We played records from a Beethovan symphony on Perce's radio pick-up - John Hunter says there are only two good things in Melbourne; the Botanical Gardens and Perce's amplifyer, both of which certainly are of Al quality. Some young jazz fiend would insist on putting on some of his hot numbers in between the symphony records, but as soon as the hotcha-hotcha! Sweetie-sweetie! Da-ta-da-ta! business would screech into life we would jump on the youth and murder his pet. (I can see Reg Alder looking very indignant at such a lack of soul on our part). We played party games, and talked, and ate a super-ooper supper, then set off to catch the tram some five miles back into town. Seeing a bus waiting at the top of the hill we decided that it was waiting for us and we might as well get it as wait for a tram, so we all set off at a run, but just as the leaders were settling down to a steady neck to neck pace the bus moved off, so we all pulled up and reorganised ourselves, then continued to walk for the tram. About a quarter of a mile off we saw a tram waiting at the stop. “Come on; It's waiting for us!” yelled the incorrigible leader of the vanguard, who apparently is incapable of profiting by experience, so again we all set off at a gallop. The back ones were making pretty heavy weather of it, but those in front had the bit fairly between their teeth and were all set for a spectacular finish when the tram moved off, and our burst of speed dwindled away impotently on the night air, like an unfinished sentence. There are not many trams running round about midnight, so we found ourselves obliged to set out at a smart walking pace for the City. “After all,” as Mouldy reminded us, “This is primarily a walking club.” His remark was greeted stoney silence by some of the girls in high heels. Many fell by the wayside, each successive tram stop collecting its quota, until eventually only a handful of enthusiasts were striding doggedly towards Melbourne, and when eventually a tram came along and picked us up, there were all the scattered members of our flock inside with seats, - and we had to stand; Where is there justice in this world!
Social Events Of Importance.
To take place or not to take place as follows:
|August 14/15||The Sports Carnival will not be held this year as so many are in the Forces or the V.D.C. but Bill Hall has promised to lead an exciting week-end walk instead.|
|August 21st (Friday)||Mr. Jacobs will lecture on “Plant response to environment”.|
|August 25th(Tuesday)||Party at Pakies. Twenty years after - rationing.|
|September 16th (Wednesday)||Theatre of picture party (If there's anything worth seeing).|
|September 25th (Friday)||Lecture illustrated with slides. “On the Barrier Reef” with Miss Dorothy Taylor.|
The Librarian would like you to know that new books are being added to the library. Have you read:
“The Making of a Scientist” - by Robert Lee Ditmars?
There are others just as interesting.
From A Prison Camp In Germany.
A letter from Bill Cawood to Rene Brown. Bill is now a prisoner of war in Germany, having been attached to the 5th Aust. General Hospital Unit, which volunteered to stay behind in Greece.
Dear Rene - After a year of absolute silence I was excited to receive four letters from Australia and very happy to find one from you, dated October. This first information from home proved my contention that letters were being written and forwarded to us. Most of our unit received letters by this mail so today the world is ours. My ration of writing material is rather scarce so I would be grateful if you would communicate with David and Arthur telling them any item of interest. Briefly our position is as follows: we are now in a Prisoner of War Camp in Germany, we being practically the whole personnel of the unit, waiting our future. Our application to the German High Command for return to our side, has been answered. They say that at present there is no way open for our return, but we hold high hopes for an early agreement between the respective governments in this matter. I have not heard from my brother Kevin for twelve months and would be pleased to know of his safety.
Glad to know David is well but the news of Arthur's marriage staggered me. Have no fear, Cawood. It will take a bloody sight more than a war to shake me. Honest Rene, I look on this as just another experience in life and I hope to cram as many experiences as I can into life. My thoughts are for you all. Bill.
Letters From The Lads And Lasses.
Bill Whitney: 22-6-42.
Many thanks indeed for the several publications you have so kindly forwarded me and particularly for the two photos - one of the Kowmung and one of Blue Gum. What delicious memories are conjured up by these pictures. Bushwalkers never forget places, once visited, but its pleasant to have the memory jogged occasionally, and when revisiting the scene is out of question, nothing does this better than pictures. Thanks again.
Bill Burke: 11/5/42.
I thought that I had written my last letter to you from this part of the globe, but the Gods decided otherwise, so here I am again. You couldn't possibly imagine the groan of sheer anguish that went round the camp, when orders were given to unpack and start issuing again, and after four weeks too, in which we had done nothing but plan how we were going to spend our twenty-eight days leave. For days I could see nothing but the cool, lazy cowpads of the Cox, the stately blue gums, the sparkling waters of the innumerable creeks winding and splashing their way through narrow, rock-strewn gorges and the many other beauties of our bushlands. Ah! well they will be all the sweeter when I do get hack. Kindly remember me to all the members, to “Stoddy”, Bev, “Blondie” - sorry, I just remembered that Joan never did care for that name, Edna, Jeff, “Mouldy”, Wal Jones and all the rest and lets look forward to a reunion before the year is out.
Rory Lofts: 25-4-42.
The date has brought back many pleasant memories. Remember how we used to forgather in “the forest” on Anzac weekends, the camp fires, the possum that used to pinch the food out of our packs, how the sun beams would slant through the old gums in the mornings and the chilly dip in the creek before breakfast, the smell of bacon as you made your way back to the tent and breakfast; which the toiler of the party had cooked, and was going crook at you for letting it get cold. No, one can't forget these days but I am not there. I'm in the land of wogs - interesting, yes - Beautiful yes, some of the most beautiful country I've seen since leaving Australia. Fields of green wheat and barley with real poppies sprinkled through them and here and there a solid mass of red, in another place the ground is white with daisies then in the distance, mountains with snow on them. In other places one sees real forests of pine, but they are so small compared with ours back home.
I had a very pleasant time recently wandering round the forest hills. It is quite like old times, some times one comes out on a rocky hill top covered with stunted prickly bushes, just like some above Lockleys and many another place. Then again you might find yourself looking down on the sea only two or three miles away and you 800 metres up. Then there are all the old ruins. The castle where the Crusaders were beseiged for years, it was the last place they held in Syria. It stands on a hill about 800 metres high or more there is a tower about a mile away to the West and one or two on the other side, during the siege they dug a tunnel to the tower on the west.
Another place there is a great amphitheatre but I did not see that, another day I passed a couple of columns built by the Epheasians, then in the town of Maaiaf I saw another castle built by the Arabs during the Crusades.
In some places the whole hillsides are terraced with stone then planted with wheat or barley and fruit trees, its just like looking at a contour map. One trip I did in a truck, only a short one, there were over 40 hairpin bends on it, one we couldn't get round so ran forward then backed to the next bend then forward again, we scared the daylights out of a wog we were giving a ride to on the return, when he saw us heading for space he just jumped and continued on foot till the danger was past.
One day I and a couple of others found ourselves in a most wonderful valley, almost perpendicular sides, the track and the roof of the houses on the lower side were the same height so that you could step from one to the other, the whole hillside was terraced and planted with all sorts of fruit trees - even bananas at the bottom, then in one place we passed under some huge trees just bursting into leaf across a beautiful clear stream by a very narrow bridge and there was a village. There was a little kid down in the creek, not a stitch on him (he was only about 3) when he saw us coming he fled yelling. I doubt if he had seen a car before. Soon the whole village was out to see us, they were most friendly. One chap hoped we would marry one of the girls in the village, in fact we could have our pick, but like Fitzpatrick we had to say farewell with many regrets to these happy people and their beautiful valley, etc. etc. Fortunately I am a man of great determination etc. so as yet, will not be taking a small plot of land and a stone hut on the side of any Syrian hill.
Well, I think that is about all I can think of this time, and many thanks for all the books, papers and parcels which come from time to time every mail there seams to be something, so thanks again and cheerio and good hiking.
Very pleased to get letter and photos from the competition. They are the second lot of photos received. The others were of the Reunion at Heathcote Creek, all are excellent and judging by them and a letter the Reunion was a great success. Glad to hear Bob Savage and the rest of the lads are back. Regards to all the Club.
Please pass my thanks along to the Services Committee. I have been in receipt of many little gifts of late from that source, and you may believe me when I say I do appreciate them. In front of me as I write is a sheet of 6 photos, Clear Hill, Mt. Solitary, Galong, its a contrast to the country I've been seeing this year or so up here. What a change to be in the green hills again, or fancy actually seeing old Sol again. Wacko me for the bush. As with most people up this way, this little feller is very busy, though in my case its because I'm acting C.S.M. and he never rests. Life up here just goes on as in any military camp, small squabbles and all the usual happenings, work, eat and sleep, and in most cases but mine, write letters. Main excitement just lately, building a new Sgts. Mess and arguing who should go on parade.
Conditions have improved 100% over the last month or so. It is a most up to date camp and has many attractions a lot more cannot boast. Regular mail, electric light in all huts, refrigeration, pictures once a week, old but good films. Better canteen supply and better tucker. Wireless in huts. What makes it better is that our unit is responsible for building the whole lot anyway. Mossies we have always with us.
Thank the Services Committee for the periodicals and sweets which turn up at the most unexpected but welcome times. I met young English in Melbourne recently, No news, I get all mine from the Bushwalker.
Sincere expression of appreciation for the reading matter. It is some consolation, in this service life, which does not allow either the time or the opportunity for the bushwalking in which I found so much pleasure, to be able to read of the trips and experiences enjoyed by others, and to feel that, in spite of circumstances, I am still a member of the bushwalking fraternity. Since coming to Canberra, I have acquired the art of biking in place of walking, but as it has resulted in two serious accidents, involving almost a month in hospital, I shall be more than glad to resume my walking activities.
What Do You Think?
In reply to “Doubtful”'s question in the last issue I should like to offer the following explanation:
The mountains south of the Cox are part of a continuous plateau about 4000 feet high. You may walk to Mount Danae or Gouougang from the Caves side and hardly rise at all to get to the edge of this plateau. Gouougang rises a little and can just be seen from the high land around Sydney.
Mount King George and Mount Hay on the other hand are about 400 feet above the surrounding country. They are capped with volcanic rock which weathers more slowly than the surrounding sandstone, and as the sandstone is gradually worn away are left standing above it. There are a number of these volcanic cones about the mountains and they are all prominent. Some of these are Mounts Uraterer, Cameron, Wilson, Tomah, Oolong, and, I think, Jellore. At one time a volcanic capping covered the whole of this sandstone country and these are the remaining bits of it. The trouble about our mountains is that they are worn out - nearly all the fertile volcanic soil that used to cover them has long since been weathered away.
Should “Doubtful” obtain the services of some soldier and study the never ending problem of Military Maps and Contours and the high matter of intervisibility, all should be clear. In other words, Mts. Hay and King George are clearly visible from Sydney because the intervening hills are much lower than the line of sight, while those to the south are higher and therefore blot out the high ranges to the south of the Cox. Simple, isn't it, or still doubtful? Then get yourself a contoured map and a soldier (if he can remember how) and work it out for yourself.
We have noticed with grave sorrow that the restrictions on the manufacture of glass have left the S.B.W's in such a position that on lecture nights, the Social Committee has to scrounge stale milk bottles with an evil, sour smell, to fill with fresh water to quench the thirst of parched lecturers. Perhaps in the near future some kind member will donate a bottle of liquor or better still a Cocktail set for our guest.
Calling All 'Shutterbugs', Camera Artists, and just Plain Photographers!
Once more the Bushwalkers/ Services Committee appeals to you for assistance, this time to help establish a “Photograph Pool” so that a number of Photos will always be on hand for immediate use as required.
Judging from letters received, photographs of the 'old haunts' are by far the most appreciated 'mental comfort' despatched by this Committee.
So please let us have a copy or two of your favourite picture - or lend us some negatives, no matter how old, on which to base our collection.
You will help us, won't you?
Bushwalkers are such helpful people. In June edition a correspondent, Fed-up, wrote - “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.”
Was there a spate of replies requiring the editress to draw upon her vast experience in order to cull the most useful and effective? No! as the psalmist might have complained “July issue appeared with no hope for July issue and the expectant had nothing to expect”.
I myself was expect - no, hopeful of some novel hints but now feel that it is my duty to fill the breach with some “advice” though more, perhaps with an eye to the welfare of future walkers than to be much assistance to the errant enquirer. For example, to the question “Where can I put it?” I should reply. “On the lay-by” (for the child must be too young to be taken out yet).
I quite agree that a man's child-bearing seems to be strictly limited to one on the shoulders and one in the arms though a few extras could, on day walks, be carried in the pockets of the pack but in this connection it would be as well to remember the experience of Omar Khayyam:-
“At once the silken tascel of my purse tear
And its treasure on the garden throw”
or over the end of Clear Hill, maybe.
Prospective wives should note that a man's child-bearing is most likely to be willing and multiple when he is young and healthy - weak ankles do not appear to be a disadvantage but a weak brain is very useful, even essential.
I do not expect that Fed-up will take the third out for a while yet but it could be carried in a water bucket (Because it would still be small and light - see). I have known a young pup to be so carried and young pups have to be carefully looked after. The bucket could hang from an unoccupied wrist.
Fed-up's case is certainly more of a warning than an ideal and the fate of the light-weight walker seems to be a long wait - just another example of the theory of the survival of the fittest.
The crux of the matter seems to be that more children should not be born than can be borne at one time and the answer surely is careful spacing - but perhaps I presume upon the province of the writer of Nature Notes. In the light of Fed-up's experience it is desirable to have only two on hand when one is in the bush.
Soaring Into The Purple.
Though the Gordon Pritchards daughter arrived on the 5th of July, someone in Port Moresby heard of it on the 2nd. Gordon thinks the Stork must have flown over that way. After all Port Moresby must look a pretty good place to these overworked birds.
Another order delivered is a son to Mr. and Mrs. Waller. Molly Astridge you remember.
Even Leaders of Youth Movements have their Moments. Charles Jones & Grace Mulroney are engaged. May we say we heartily support this movement at least, and wish them the best of everything.
If only Members would hold off from becoming engaged for just a month or two, it would leave some space in this column for some real talking and it might give those birds a rest, as well.
We appear to be relying a great deal on birds, but it was another feathered friend who told us that the two Love-Birds we have been watching so closely for the last few months, have set up their own little nest, all legally feathered of course, but it does show, doesn't it that however high these little creatures nest, they can usually be detected by interested observers?
For all your photographic requirements and for excellent developing work and photographic services.
20 Hunter Street, Sydney (opp. Wynyard) Tel. B3438.
Mr. Upton will be delighted to hear this one.
Said a lady in Paddy's shop last week:
“About that zip bucket I bought for my son last week. He tells me his is the envy of the regiment. Water is scarce where they are so he gets his bucket full of water and
(a) Has a drink
(b) Cleans his teeth
© Has a shave
(d) Washes face
(e) Has a sponge bath
(f) Places foot in bucket, zipps up round ankle and by shaking foot violently makes a patent footwasher of his Paddymade Bucket.”
(We hope he didn't waste that water by throwing it away. It could have been filtered and chlorinated and used again in a really 100% water saving scheme).
Anyway it proves that our fighting men are finding Paddymade gear just as useful as Bushwalkers did, do and will do in days to come.
Paddy Pallin. Camp Gear for Walkers.
327 George Street, Sydney. 'Phone B3101.