A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney.
|Heat of the Moment, 110°||A Prospective||2|
|Tramping Alone on the Southern Alps||Laz Pura||6|
|What Do You Think?||10|
|Wail for Water||97568||11|
|Letters from Lads||15|
|What Paddy Says||18|
I killed a snake this morning in the grass,
A lovely sinister thing of gleaming jet;
I see it yet!
Gliding across the place my feet would pass,
In effortless motion, fluid as molten glass,
Yet live as fire, and evilly aware
Of all the magic in its evil stare,
The founts of poison in its being set.
By a Prospective. Do you remember the article, in the Annual “Some like it Tough”? Well I think that story has a lot to commend it and when a walk to Carlon's was mentioned a few months ago, leaving on Friday night, what could be better? About ten miles there and ten back with two full days and half a night to cover the distance.
There were five of us on the train and though an easy track had been selected, occasionally I caught a sort of gloating look on Reg's face, but when we reached Katoomba he led us into the Niagara and fed us with coffee and toast, a procedure which effectively allayed any suspicions that the rest of us may have had.
When super was over he suggested that we should go down Devil's Hole to the old pub site where we'd camp for the night and as conditions were so pleasant we all readily agreed. The torches came out when we left the road to walk along the track and in a short time we commenced our scramble down the hole. About halfway down Reg shouted for us to hurry and look at an Echidna. It was quite a thrilling moment because most of us had never seen one and those who had, still got quite a kick out of viewing this strange creature.
After this diversion we soon came to the camp spot where we had a midnight swim, then into our bags and in no time at all we were all sound asleep.
We wakened early, but did not get up for quite some time. During this period of luxurious laziness, the ritual of morning greetings was attended to, Reg and I with the traditional “Good morning” etc. to the two lasses, but Roley delivered his with a delicacy and fineness that only Casanova could have equalled.
With breakfast over we stayed on the main track and even the early morning sun was quite warm enough to tell us it was going to be hot, but with only a short walk in front of us not a word was said until, ignoring the turn off, Reg streaked away in the direction of Megalong Creek. Immediately all the doubts of last night returned and to a timid question the answer came back “Oh! no, we'll go down the creek, along the Cox and up Galong.” So all in a moment thoughts of an easy day vanished. A sun giving a first class imitation of a furnace let us know that life of peace and rest was not to be ours, but realising that recent rains had filled up the creeks, a promise of a nice cool swim compensated somewhat for the added mileage.
When we sighted Megalong, Reg lost his position in front of the column for we raced past him to have a drink from the stream. With his arrival a few minutes later the party divided and a rush was made for swimming holes and how we enjoyed that dip! Thus refreshed, off we went downstream, jumping from rock to rock like a flock of mountain goats. Occasionally a foot would slip and a pair of shorts with person enclosed would bump the granite or a leg disappear up to the knee in a puddle; much to the discomfort of whoever had made the mistake.
After awhile we arrived at the Cox, full to the brim with a racing torrent of brown water. Even though it was only 10.30 a.m., down we sat for a very welcome rest and in a little while we again flung ourselves into the water. An hour passed before we began the next part of the trip and if anyone found an excuse to take off his shoes to move a pebble, the affected foot was dipped up the neck in the cool water.
At one o'clock the halt for lunch was called and as clean hands are a necessity another swim for all parties was indicated. Lunch was a motley affair. Our various foodstuffs were placed in a heap and we each selected whatever his or her taste demanded. With the packs reassembled we tried to doze for awhile, but except for Reg whose performances in this respect were remarkable, none of us were successful. He looked almost angelic as he slept, a seraphic smile on his lips, but awakened he must be, so a prod in the ribs and with Elsa and May in the van we made off rather sluggishly for the six-foot track. The sun had now passed its meridian and beamed down on us with unmerciful force. Perspiration poured from our tiring bodies and thousands of flies worried and tormented us as we slowly headed toward Galong. Gibraltar Creek showed up on the right and before you could say “Knife” five packs hit the ground and five very sticky and B.O.'ey people made for the water. It was quite some time before we thought of leaving the cooling embrace of the Cox, but when an orange had wetted our insides, we made our slightly enlivened legs carry us a bit farther along the river and quite a bit of extra energy was used to throw a few stones at rabbits who refused to run away in the approved style, because even they objected to moving rapidly.
At last we steered around the Galong track and plopped down under a convenient tree to try and gain strength for the last part of the trip. Some more orange appeared and Elsa treated us to a drink of hot chocolate, which had commenced the day in solid form but was now a gooey mess. Three quarters of an hour this loaf lasted and we lasted about one mile up the creek before we petered out again and this time we could barely stagger to the friendly water holes. Clothes had to be literally peeled off and then we lowered ourselves gently into the water.
Now with a little over one and a half miles to go our flagging spirits revived somewhat but after scrambling up a couple of falls, legs decided that another rest was essential. Finally we started on the last lap, but after only a few hundred yards, May slipped and only a stout sapling saved her from a nasty fall. She recovered in a few minutes however and made the grade safely, so with some anxious moments of scrambling along a rather tricky ledge, we came to the very last climb. This one was at least pleasant for the water streamed over us as we climbed to the top.
Only half a mile and with lurching gait we finally straggled into Carlon's where three of our club mates greeted us with a disgusting display of laziness, lounging on the verandah where they had been all the afternoon whilst we were toiling wearily among the trees, rivers and mountains.
We weren't very good company that night, all very tired and two tummies were playing up a bit, so very soon we all retired for a really good night's sleep.
On Sunday the heat had gone and rain appeared and after a plunge in the creak, most of our vim and vigour returned and all parties indulged in much mucking about and horse play during the pre-breakfast period because a certain young gentleman staying with Mrs. Carlon had reached the age of five. His birthday gifts provided a great deal of amusement for the visitors. An archery contest was held, boat races and spinning a top-like gadget male quite a lively programme.
Breakfast came and went and after an easy morning an early lunch was served. Farewells were said shortly afterwards and back we went to Katoomba. The walk back was very pleasant but throats were quite parched when we arrived at the station and with time up our sleeves a rush was made to a drink dispensing establishment, but our luck was right cut and straight water on the platform had to satisfy our thirsts.
Homeward bound in a first class car, which scares off other travellers, made our train trip very pleasant and gave us time to analyse the walk and even after the discomforts of the heat, and the flies, had been put on the debit side, the laughs, the swims and the joy of having been out again by far outbalanced them.
So what the conditions may be the bush will always be part of our lives as long as there are places hidden away from the eyes of the folk who consider it too much trouble to leave the beaten tracks to try and find the well-concealed beauty of the country.
A lovely river valley - tree clad hills and luxuriant undergrowth. The sound of a rippling stream mingled with the hum of insects, the song of birds, the rustle of a snake or lizard, the thud of a bounding wallaby, and perhaps if you are very lucky a lyrebird concert! How many such scenes have we known and how dearly do we value them? Do we ever pause to consider how much they really mean to us? Let us then for a moment think of another aspect. Have you after a year or two gone back to a valley that has been a lovely memory, and found that all the features that had so impressed you have been completely wiped out? The bush's greatest enemy - a fire - has been through, and then has followed a drought. You find no longer the luxuriant undergrowth, the lovely ferns and plants that delighted you. Bird and animal life is missing and weeds have supplanted the native plants and so overrun the valley that it can never recover.
If only then for a purely selfish reason it is in your interests to throw all your weight and enthusiasm into preventing bush fires, so that this desolation will not be a recurring feature in our countryside. It is not only the spectacular losses that count - like the wiping out of a man's home or crops - but it is the irremediable loss of flora and fauna that are important.
We have in Australia many unique flowers birds and animals, and unless we can educate every man woman and child a realisation of the importance of using every effort in preventing bush fires, we are likely to be bereft of them all.
November, 1942, saw me aboard the train to Canberra en route for the Godradigbee River, my starting place was the Cotter River from whence I travelled to Brindabe11a by mail car, as far as the post-office.
Oh, so this is the valley of whose beauty I have heard so much with its various shades of green and the fast running stream that all life depends on and with a far and wide reputation for the best trout fishing; the valley with a few scattered homesteads, far apart, where men and women with kind hearts reside; nothing is too much for them to share in helping their follow man.
I found a suitable camping spot for the first night and the next day I decided to follow the stream as far as the junction of Coolamon Creek and the Goodradigbee and there I decided to make a permanent camp, as the surroundings of this picturesque place appealed to me most for beauty and comfort; there were good swimming pools and above all, the best driu1cng water containing lime. These streams run through limestone country, and therefore possess so much value for life in general, which can be seen in the rich vegetation and the large variety of trees.
I liked the place so well that I stayed there for more than a week and during that time I made several daily trips to various points along the river and hills. This particular place where I camped was a small valley within the valley proper. Surrounded by hills, the only opening to it was the river which one had to cross twice. The beauty of this part of Brindabella is that the river is formed almost in a circle and when viewed from a high point it appears like a silver belt that holds life together in this small valley.
I love to camp on a river bank and listen to all sounds that pass my tent door, especially when I am alone at the camp fire. Some poet once said that if a man preferred to roam about in the midst of nature, then he must be either a god or an animal. I must confess that I am neither.
But the true lover of natural phenomena especially of the beauty and harmony here so constantly present to the senses, cannot restrain a tendency to philosophize. To no one is this tendency more compelling than to one who wanders amid the silence and grandeur of mountains, or alone, along the banks of a sparkling stream.
I experienced very cold nights in this valley and in the morning have seen white frosts yet about mid-day it has been warm enough to swim in the lovely pools nearby. I have been informed that this valley is 2800 feet above sea level which is exceptionally high for a valley.
Now as regards food, I was very lucky to be able to procure from some of those kind-hearted people who would share everything they have with visitors, such things as home made bread and butter, fresh vegetables, eggs, and the best milk I have ever had to drink. I had a long distance to go for them but it was worth while for the good health gained.
But alas! I had to make up my mind to move on as time was passing and there were lots of places to go to. On the last night before breaking camp I thought I would like to sit near the camp fire till about midnight. I had the good fortune to see glow worms and fire flies dancing around the trees and through the branches; and here comes the moonbeams on the river and the moon slowly rounding into sight above the mountain tops. Fair scenes, where the day and night made rival love!
The following morning I got busy preparing for the high climb towards the mountains and soon after my breakfast, I saw a man galloping on horseback to my broken camp with a bag of food, butter, sugar and porridge and a bottle of milk. It was Mr. J. McMahon, an Irishman with a great heart. I told him I had sufficient good for the whole way, but he said, “You must take it. I am afraid that you might get lost in taking this short cut, you will need more food”. He warned me too not to take this route but to follow the road. I was glad of the butter he brought me and I drank the milk, but could not take anything else as I had a full pack. In drinking the milk I did myself more harm than good, for it made me feel off colour for about two days. I learned the lesson not to drink so much milk after breakfast and them climb with a heavy pack on a hot day.
Now with a load on my shoulders but a light heart, I had to say adieu to the Goodradigbee where the enchanted birds dip and sway where the leaves toss in greeting or bend and whisper one to the other; and for the last time I heard the clear fast stream shouting and murmuring. Some day I will come to greet it again.
Onwards I went and from a distance I saw Mr. J. Bluett on horseback waiting for me on the spur to give me a lead, and most careful directions through rough cross country to Mount Franklin, there was no track to go by so the compass was the guide to the peak. So my good friend left me, I was sorry to part with him. I felt sad for a while until I got used to my own company.
These two men of the valley impressed a stamp of human kindness upon my heart the rest of my life. Such men I had never before come across in my travels.
Onward I went to the mount with great anticipation and the realization was still greater when I reached the peak. I arrived at the chalet at 3 o'clock and to my surprise found it open, so I entered, feeling curious as to what it was like. At first glance it had the appearance of a deserted hut and was very neglected. I learned later that the Canberra Alpine Club had been kind enough to lend the chalet to the Royal Dutch Air Force for the end of the winter and they were the last occupants.
I had a look around and found much of interest. The first thing I noticed were the skiing posters from various countries and next was a notice in handwriting as follows:- “We have this chalet open for members and if outsiders come this way they are also allowed to find accommodation here providing they respect this place, and also be so kind as to donate towards the expense of this home.”
After reading this n to I began to feel more at home. First and foremost I got busy in giving the place a clean up both outside as well as inside. I felt for the time being it was my own home. I made a fire in the very good fuel stove and the place looked cheerful again. I found all the best comforts that I could wish and plenty of good food on the shelves, such as rice, prunes, honey and army wheat lunch biscuits which are very, very precious these days. It was rather tempting and I helped myself. What a luxurious time I experienced, with a nice soft bed to sleep on and no fear from storms or rain, and above all there was a piano in the dining room, such a precious instrument to come across in the wilds of a high peak. I was able to express my feelings in the folk songs of my native land, It would certainly have been much nicer to have had company in this home. I felt quite lonely to be on my own and was glad to move on further to other mountains.
Ginini and Gingera are about 6000 ft. in altitude, one can see Mt. Koscisuko and snow patches quite clearly and Burren Juck Dam. It is the finest mountain view I have seen in N.S.W. I reckon the Blue Mts. are only third rate in comparison with the Southern Alps from a scenic point of view. The latter are superior in numbers, in altitude, in form and beauty. This neighbourhood also possesses many streams, rich vegetation and has lots of wild life of all descriptions, but of wild flowers I did not see very many. I was told that if I had come about a month later, I would have soon them all out. To my regret I was too early to see the different types of flora we get in other parts of N.S.W.
When leaving Mt. Franklin for Ginini one sees a most picturesque light green patch in a corner of the deep valley at Brindabella, surrounded by mountains, one would imagine only angels reside there. It was the most attractive piece of scenery I had seen for contrast in colour. If I could only paint what a picture I would have brought home. This patch is a cultivated paddock that belongs to Mr. Bluett.
Now on my return to the Cotter from the foot of Mt. Bimberi towards Canberra I ended my tour of the great Southern Alps. Much interest and pleasure I gained from this walking trip and I would very much like to go there again during the winter when everything is clothed in white, to see men and women ski-ing on Mt. Franklin, to meet them at the chalet and it would be interesting to see the country which I have seen in the summer season.
So when I reached home I thought I had better write to Mr. Lane-Poole the President of the Canberra Alpine Club and express my appreciation to him and to members of the club for their kind hospitality and trust in mankind. If there were more like them it would be a better world to live in. I signed myself a member of the X.B.W.
Moorabinda, Heathcote Creek, was again the site of a reunion - our 1943 gathering. After a shower on Saturday afternoon the threatening clouds rolled away and we were vouchsafed a perfect night and day. Perhaps fewer members than usual were there but we are happy to report more children and no dogs. Unfortunately the President was not sufficiently well to be present thus creating for herself another, if this time unenviable record. We can imagine her lying in bed gnashing her teeth and refusing all comforts but a constitution.
The camp fire was lit by embers from various other fires. Some came from a new member's fire and some from a future president's. Our work has not been in vain as at least one new member must have managed to get a fire alight and we trust that the identity of the future president was not revealed as it might cause a poisoned-cup or -dagger intrigue in the manner of the Borgias. Bill Henley made a superlative job of the fire and the three cheers for him were as hearty as well earned.
Entertainment was often in the traditional impromptu style but none the less amusing good work was performed by one of the “has beens” whom we rarely see except at reunions, while new members displayed considerable talent and came mighty near to justifying their existence.
Our pyjama-girl mystery would save the local police from having to manufacture cases to keep going for we had the additional complications of (1) no body (2) no pyjama top. Anyone seeing a girl suspected of wearing the missing top should pull the communication cord.
One blushing couple were confronted by a bird which had apparently been down among the bull-rushes in the creek. Prophetic? “all de same its not a hill homen”. We are getting the night a little clearer in our heads now and recall it as being distinctly zoological. Not only were we treated to an exposition on the habits of bears but also the peculiar noises of a species of martin were reproduced most realistically.
Late in the evening I gravitated up to a sequestered spot (hoping that the spots might not be growing singly) only to find the prophetic bird there roosting. It flung itself upon me with tender, touching helplessness and poured forth a tale of having become lost on its way from the camp fire to its nest. As it had come due north instead of due west and ten times too far this story would have sounded incredible even if advanced by a bush walker of long experience. However, considering the damage it had already done during the evening I deemed it advisable to conduct it to its nest. We pecked and parted.
The camp fire continued for hours after midnight punctuated by swims and yells at least. Like a good reporter I had my ear to the ground - in slumber. Nevertheless I did hear that a certain girl, starved no doubt for little nips at the ears of her best love on foreign shores, bit a piece out of the back of a member newly arrived from the Middle East. No wonder our poor soldiers have to be punctured so often with anti-toxins.
Its a darned shame finding fault with such a good show but why, oh why, did the committee decide to forego the damper competition on the day before the bread strike?
Jack Debert writes:- I happened to be sitting in the mess after a very heavy day. The mail read and enjoyed I glanced casually through a newly arrived Sydney Bushwalker Magazine. My eyes were caught by “What do you think?” by Alex. Colley. Do you mind if I reply? I take it that in the interests of democracy and fair play these few lines will be published. I agree with some of the writer's statements but one particular sentence somehow stuck in my gizzard (I haven't a heart). It was, “In wars it is youth who leave the comfort of their homes to fight and die for the community.”
So I looked around the mess. There were fourteen men present so I asked each man his age. The average age was 37,3 years and two men present were specialists both under 32 years of age. Every one of the fourteen had left the comfort of their homes to fight, and if need be to die, for the communIty, their wives and families. Everyone of them would hate to be called a hero, but there is still a glint in the eye of every man jack of them which would do credit to a Friday night in the S.B.W. club room. I wouldn't like to say that they lacked alertness or youthful ideals even though they were aged.
I don't think any of these men did anything to bring the war on. I have never seen them asking youth to do most of the dirty work. When it comes to standing the strain of the trials troubles and bombing, medical opinion up here shows the older men are standing up to it better than the younger ones.
After all it may be asked just how much has youth done to save itself? Ask yourself quite honestly what have you done or did you do to have a say in public affairs. Did any of you honestly make a sincere endeavour to improve the lot of the community, or were you all too interested in your hobby of walking or enjoying yourselves? I'm in the same category as you all, I did no more than any of you. Walking and life was very pleasant. But let me issue a word of warning from the front. There are a lot of young men, and old men, with young ideals up here. They talk plenty and when this war is over they intend to have a say in the running of things. They feel they have earned it equally as those young and old ones who have stayed behind. They will be prepared to see youth is given every facility to live a full life and make its opinions heard and felt “if youth has any worthwhile suggestions.”
What do I think? Youth has been given every opportunity, it has let itself down. But get rid of the fool idea out of your head that age counts for so much. There are many old men with youthful enough ideals to keep youth young, trying to keep pace with them.
Here in Wagga Wagga
Green thick-foliaged planes
Sway their strong leaves in the potent sunlight
Roofs of corrugation
Throw back the heat in the Sun-god's teeth;
Tremulously wish for coolness,
And the willows are sleepy and mournful.
Yesterday, magpies spilled their liquid notes
From the roof above my window.
O! When will the rain come;
Winter and sharp blowing;
The winds in their power,
And cold frosty mornings.
'I am sick of the summer!
The parched earth is crying,
'Everywhere dust blowing,
And cornstalks drying,
Yellow and sore.
Grant Autumn rain, Old Jupiter Pluvius!
Gently sprayed from your watering-can;
Does anyone know, and if they do, will they please tell us the magic formula that entitles a person to enter that exclusive circle that talks to and even EATS with a lecturer after the show on Friday nights. For months now, we have concealed ourselves behind the FLAG, and watched these great people, striving to detect the raised eyebrow, the half-closed eyelid or the shrill whistle that might denote the summons to the elect to come and eat with the mighty, but no sign has been shown. We offer a Purple certificate for the first correct solution to this intriguing mystery.
Isn't it nice to think that some Bushwalkers are so interested in the way the club is run that they even come in once a year simply to vote for the election of officers for the committee etc. even if they don't know the people they are voting for. So good of them.
And then there are the people who come along on General Meeting nights and hold their meeting right outside the door, in opposition to the serious folk inside. We understand there is quite a strong feeling about this. And rightly so. We really make less noise outside.
Wonder what the Army feeds Bill Bourke on? Are they building him up for some special job do you think? Morrie Stephenson was in last week looking fairly robust in spite of strenuous efforts to enjoy his leave. We believe he has a very ticklish job up North, looking after the matron and sisters and even a few nurses in one of the hospitals.
The Fifteenth Annual meeting was an enthusiastic and enjoyable gathering. There was a good roll-up. Many stood up at the back, some because there was not room to sit, but many, we feel, eager not to miss anything. Old members arrived from near and far, and they nearly all had something to say. Dorothy Lawry had a bad throat, and could hardly talk, but Frank Duncan and Wal Roots, the Vice-Presidents, were at her side and in good voice. The mere raising of the bone was usually enough to quell any minor disturbances.
Two new members were welcomed, Jean Thirgood and Stan Martin.
In moving the adoption of the annual report Dorothy Lawry said that it had been a difficult year and there had been, as would be expected in these times, a slight reduction in membership. But it had been a better year in that we had had the pleasure of welcoming some returning members. She regretted that the V.D.C. Guides and Reconnaisance Corps, formed in May, had been disbanded in August. The conservation position was difficult, but the Government was sympathetic. Arnold Rae of the C.M.W. had left a legacy which would be a big help in Conservation work. Some of the annual events had been abandoned this year due to the absence of so many members. The Committee had a good attendance record.
The election of Office bearers and Committee followed. Here is a list of them:-
|Vice Presidents||Frank Duncan and Graham Harrison|
|Hon. Secretary||Hilma Galliott|
|Hon. Asst. Secretary||Jess Martin|
|Hon. Treasurer||Doris Allden|
|Hon. Walks Secretary||Alan Wyborn|
|Hon. Social Secretary||Jean Harvey|
|Hon. Membership Secretary||Edna Garrad|
|Committee||Win Duncombe, Phyl White, Reg. Alder, Wal Roots|
|Federation Delegates||Marie Byles, Dorothy Lawry, Ray Kirkby, Stan Martin, (Ray Kirkby and Stan Martin to sit on Committee)|
|Substitute Federation Delegates||Marie Kinsella, Bill Hall|
|Delegate to Parks and Playgrounds Movement||Mrs. Hilda Stoddart|
|Trustees||Laurie Berry, Joe Turner, Dorothy Lawry|
|Hon. Auditor||Tom Kenny-Royal|
|Hon. Solicitor||Marie Byles|
In presenting her report the Treasurer, Doris Allden, said we showed a small “profit” of £5/9/8. She pointed out that the loss of £l2/2/4 shown in the accounts of the Social Committee was mainly due to the Kiddies Christmas Treat and a presentation. In 1935, when there was a large revenue from the Annual Concert it had been decided to debit these items to the Social Committee account. The meeting gave approval not to include these items in the Social Committee account in future.
A letter was read from Charlie Pryde, regretting that he could not be present. Charlie enlisted in the V.D.C. Guides and Reconnaisiance Corps and was transferred to Guard duty when this was abandoned.
The question of the privately owned land between Garrawarra and National Parks (Era area) was debated at some length.
Frank Duncan said that we might at any time be excluded from this area of privately owned land, on which camping fee is already charged by the owners. It might be possible to get the co-operation of the National Fitness and Youth Hostels Movements in having the area reserved. Era would be a good site for a hostel and National Fitness Camp, and North Era was a good camping spot for walkers.
In supporting the motion Alex Colley said that North Era and Burning Palms were practically the only beaches remaining for campers. Campers would not object to paying a fee if it were used to support a park. Era was a very good site for a hostel or Fitness Camp.
Myles Dunphy said that the proposal would mean a road down to the beach. It had once been proposed to build a country club on the land, this too would have meant a road and a tremendous scar on the hillside. Hostels or bunkhouses could not be built without making a road. Bill Hall said that if the whole area were not resumed then a road would be built to the privately owned portions. Reservation of the area would enable the clearing out of the shacks.
Wiff Knight said that we were selfish in wanting to get rid of the shacks. Shack owners had a perfect right to be there, as good a right as anybody else. They had taken a great deal of trouble to lump all the necessary materials down there and build the shacks.
Replying to this Tom Herbert said that the selfish people were those who allotted themselves a place where nobody else could go. Bushwalkers did not claim one site for themselves. A hundred bushwalkers could use the some site in a year.
Joe Turner pointed out that originally Bushwalkers had aimed at making the whole of the area south of National Park a primitive area. A hostel would be an encouragement to huts and would need a caretaker, who would require a road. He did not think we could stop hostels in national parks.
Mouldy Harrison supported a suggestion of Myles Dunphy to recommend little Gara beach (between Nth Era and Garie) as a hostel site. He said that the Fitness Movement did not have much money and could not buy land.
Marie Byles said that Mr. Byrnes, owner of the greater part of the land had recently died and the executors would have to sell at the best price obtainable. The buyer would buy for the good of his pocket, which would not be 1/- or 2/- camp fees, but subdivision into building lots or for a Golf Club or boarding house. This would be the last opportunity of reserving the land. The Commonwealth Government might reserve the whole area.
The meeting decided to support Frank Duncan's proposal provided the whole area were resumed.
Paddy Pallin appealed for volunteers to lead youngsters on walks and instruct at camps for the National Fitness Movement. He said that the Movement thought the ideal person to be just what we think we would like to be.
A volunteer was called for to be Assistant Federation Secretary. Beverley Bruce offered to do the job.
Pay up! pay up! and play the game. Its ten bob again, and the treasurer has plenty of blank receipt forms.
The inferior planets, Venus and Mercury, are nearer to the sun than the Earth and move faster than we. In the diagram below, which is drawn to the same scale as the diagram in the last issue, they are assumed, as before, to start off in a row. In this position we could see neither planet as they would be between us and the sun. After one month Venus will be well ahead of us and will rise nearly two hours before the sun. Mercury will rise a little over an hour before the sun. After two months Venus rises nearly three hours before the sun, but Mercury has gone right round to the other side of the sun and cannot be seen. After three months Venus rises a little over three hours before the sun (it has appeared to be nearly stationary as it travelled almost directly away from us). Mercury has new come round the other side of the sun and will be visible in the evening sky, setting about an hour and a half after the sun. After six months Venus is near the other side of the sun and will rapidly disappear into the sun's light. After a year the earth has gone round the sun once. Venus has gone around about 1 2/3 times and is visible in the evening sky. Mercury has made more than four revolutions and is visible in the morning sky. The inferior planets are much brighter when they are on the same side of the sun as we. Venus is six times as distant when it is on the opposite side of the sun. The elliptic orbits of the planets are another cause of variation in brightness.
At the present time Venus is coming round the sun towards us. Soon it will start to move between us and the sun and will disappear again into the sun's light.
|Plan||Period of Revolution - Years||Speed in orbit - Miles per sec.|
We received letters from the following during February:-
I would like to thank the Services Committee for the parcels, magazines and photos that arrive from time to time. Believe me they are very welcome, especially the photos. I have quite a collection now and value them highly. I have shown them to friends over here and as there is a good assortment they get some idea of what Australia is like. Since last writing I have been to Scotland. I went along with another chap and we had a great time. We stopped at a small village called Bucklyvie(??) about 18 miles from Stirling. The scenery is far superior to the English and next summer I am going back again. Some of the time the weather was not the best. The day we visited Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond was one of these and I am afraid we did not see them to advantage. The Trossack (or h)s were marvelous; we managed to borrow two bikes and rode over them. The day was the best during our leave and the mountain tints and the colour of the water in the Lochs was great. Stirling Castle, The Wallace Memorial, were also visited as well as what is reputed to be the largest grape vine in Scotland. It is over 300 ft. long and approximately 50 years old. It was covered with grapes but as the price per bunch was 9/-, decided they looked better on the vine. I did not do any walking this time, the opportunity did not arise. I find bike riding a lot better. There is very little open country like in Australia, villages are close together, land is privately owned and one must not trespass. A few weeks ago I managed to get an unofficial 48 hour leave. Fourteen of us were sent (on a Friday) to a nearby station to do a week's course. Incidentally we were flown down, there being 20 all told in the plane. On reporting early next morning were informed to report back at 10.45 on Monday. They gave us Saturday and Sunday to ourselves. Four or five others and myself decided to visit Nottingham. I rather liked the place. It seemed a lot cleaner than most English towns, The Trent was very nice being lined with trees on both banks, The river was a lot cleaner than some I have seen and in summer, boats, punts etc, can be hired. Nottingham Castle was closed to the public but the grounds were open. There were one or two interesting relics to be seen but otherwise it was nothing out of the box. The most interesting place was a hotel. It is supposed to be the oldest in England, in fact it dates back to the Crusades. Legend has it that the Crusades stopped there to have one for the road. It is a vary quaint place itself. From the outside it is like a very old and small house at the foot for a high cliff. On entering, passages lead to rooms carved out of the solid rock. Winter is approaching again, already the temperature is dropping. We have had a few frosts and one morning last week the ground was absolutely white with it. Coal and coke is rationed but just the same we have plenty. If anybody starts talking about the beautiful English weather, tell them it does not exist. I have been here for 15 months now and all that time the weather has been awful. Wind and rain predominate. Now we are approaching the foggy season at times visibility is reduced to less than 50 yards. A nice bright sunny day is a very rare thing indeed.
Since I last wrote I have seen quite a lot more of this island and I should say that I have been most impressed by the gorgeous butterflies that abound in the mountains. They're so beautiful that one could not adequately express, or should I say, describe them. Their colours contrast vividly, and yet, so perfectly. It seems strange that there is so much beauty where there is also so much unpleasantness (The next half page of this letter has been censored.)
I am many, many miles from Sydney, in fact it runs into the thousands, and my unit is camped on the fringe of a sandy desert, the only vegetation being low scrubby timber and mulga trees. Water has been somewhat of a problem and we are supplied from local bores which have been established by the Engineers. We were very bright when we arrived in this area as a few “knew-alls” maintained that by sinking holes in nearby saltpans a steady supply of water would be obtained from seepage. Excitement was great when one of the holes filled uP overnight with crystal clear water but it was a different story when it was found that the water was extremely salty. The heat can be best described as terrific and it is definitely no exaggeration when I tell you that the temperature has not been below 100° for over five weeks and often rises to 116°. Still, it is not difficult weather as the heat is particularly dry and one is able to sleep well as the nights are generally cool to cold. Occasionally we travel about 50 miles to the coast and spend about three days in rest areas, doing little but surfing, sun-bathing and lazing. The living quarters are built by clearing the centres of ti-tree clumps and building up the sides with brush. The result is a a cool gunyah which keeps out about 50% of the flies. The surf is not to be compared with the N.S.W. coast but makes up all that it lacks in that regard by being warmer and it is possible to frolic all day in the water without becoming at all cold. Nearby is a very small and isolated fishing village where we are nearly always able to procure dozens of crayfish which are sweeter than any lobsters or crabs back home. Needless to say when the opportunity presents itself we certainly make “hogs” of ourselves. The main regret of the lads is that they cannot get the beer in order to complete the feast. Life, although somewhat monotonous at present, is nevertheless bearable and one can always look forward to the future, dreaming of the day when once more he will be lying at his ease in some sylvan glade, watching the smoke of his fire curl lazily upwards knowing also that his main responsibility has ended.
Jack Debert went through Sydney on his way to Melbourne last week.
Bill Burke and Rory Lofts are back in Australia and have been on three weeks leave.
|April 16th Friday 7.30 p.m.||4th Watercolour Exhibition of Australian Wildflowers from the collection of Malcolm McGregor.|
|April 30th Friday 8.0 p.m.||Mr Michael Terry will we hope be back from Queensland and will tell us that “There is adventure in Central Australia”.|
|May 21st Friday 8.0 p.m.||Services Committee Night.|
|May 28th Friday 8.0 p.m.||Illustrated Lecture by Dorothy Brigden, “Camping with the aborigines - Far North”.|