Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker
A Monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalkers (at present no fixed abode).
Address correspondence for the present to the President - Miss E. Garrad, 6 Bond Street, Sydney.
No. 130 October 1945 Price 6d.
|Assist. Editor||Dorothy Brigden|
|Sales and Subscriptions||Jean Harvey|
|The Upper Hastings||by Alpx Colley||2|
|From the Federation Report||The Club's Delegate||6|
|We are not Dead but Sleeping||The Club Optimist||7|
|Notes from the Character Removalists||9|
|Air Transport for Walkers||by E. Garrad||10|
|Our Correspondent in Britain||L. G. Harrison||11|
|Attention! Its Mr.Pallin||12|
- Laurence Binyon
Ah, lovely living words, what have we done to you?
Each infant thought a soul exulting to be born
Into a body, a breath breathed from the lips, a word
Dancing, tingling, pulsingl, a body fresh as dew!
Once in the bonds of use manacled and confined
How have we made you labour, thinned from beauty and strength,
Dulled with our dullness, starved to the apathy of a serf,
Outcast in streets, abandoned foundlings of the mind'.
O swift words, words like flames, proud as a victor's eye,
Words armed and terrible, storming the heart, sending
Waves of love, and fear, and accusation over
Peoples - kindling, changing! Alas, but can you die,
Hardened to wither round the thought wherein you grew?
Become as the blind leading with slow shuffle the blind,
Heavy like senseless stones the savage kneels before?
O shamed, O victim words, what have we done to you?
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On the 26th of October, the Club will meet in the Ingersol Hall, 256 Crown Street, City at 6.30 p.m.
The Social Secretary is arranging a party for that night (white tie and tails should be left at home) so come along and enjoy yourself for a change.
This hall is available for letting and is considered fairly suitable for the Club's needs. It is hoped that as many people as possible will see the hall on this night and be able to give an opinion on it.
The hall is a stone's throw off Oxford Street behind the Oxford Street Post Office.
The Upper Hastings
by Alex Colley
After an all-night train trip and a 68 mile lorry ride over the cold, grey New England Tableland we were glad to deposit our rattled frames by Pig Creek, a small stream flowing North-West into the Yarrowitch River. There we made a depot and set off next morning for Mooraback Creek, the source of the Hastings River. Myles and his son, Milo, were out for the day. The rest - Ken and Merle Iredale, Bill Hall, Ruby Payne-Scott, the Editor and the author - had decided on a two-day walk.
As a place on the map Mooraback had always appealed to me. It is shown on the Tourist map as a thin shaky line surrounded by a suspiciously square enclosing mountain range, beyond which are large white spaces. I had imagined it as a remote upland plain covered with russet kangaroo grass and surrounded by low timbered hills. And it was. On a rise by the stream was the old settler's hut round which sleek Hereford cattle grazed. On the slopes around were snow gums and here and there on the flats groves of dark, peppermint trees. We lunched by a small stream beyond the clearing, then followed a track along the stream up to the top of the range beyond. Here Myles and Milo turned back to our base camp while the rest of us went on to find Kunderung Brook beyond.
Soon we passed into tall timber country with tree ferns and here and there gullies of rain forest and vines. Some of the blue gums there were up to 200 feet high. By the early afternoon we were descending a well graded ridge into the blue depths of Kunderung gorge. The upper part of the gorge, with its patches of dark-green brush was faintly reminiscent of Kanangra, though without the sandstone cliffs and serrated rock surfaces. We camped that night on a lawn-like patch of vivid green grass by the side of the brook.
Next morning we went down stream to a hut then toiled up a long ridge to a high point marked “The Drain” on our map. How it got the name puzzled us. Ray said we should find a long, hollow rock formation marked “M.W.S. & D.B.” there, but to our disappointment it was just a trig, with “The Drain” stamped on the disc. The view was the most extensive we had.
We looked north down the Kunderung gorge and beyond to Point Lookout 40 miles away. Banda Banda and the rocky spire of Kemp's Pinnacle were just visible over the range to the east. From this point we made our way to the Mooraback again thence “home” to Pig Creek.
Next morning we set off for the Hastings River. Myles came part of the way with us, but decided the trip would be too much of a strain, so turned back to the main road to catch the service car and meet us at the end of the trip. It was the wise thing to do, but a great disappointment for him as he had been on the Hastings 20 years earlier and was now planning a reserve on the upper reaches of the river. We missed his company and running commentary on the bushland. For Myles everything had its name, place and reason. Whereas an ordinary walker might catch sight of a bounding animal and think “there goes a kangaroo - or something”, Myles knew it was a kangaroo and not a wallaroo or a wallaby. He knew too its age, sex, and, we averred, its blood group. For Myles the bush lived and we shared his appreciation.
By evening we were descending a long, grassy and well-timbered ridge into the Hastings valley. Nearly all the way down there were numerous bull oaks, some of the largest I have seen - many 50 feet or more in height. We had fine views of the dark valley beneath, the black rock outcrops of Mount Werrikimbie and the sun-tipped ranged beyond. Just as the last light was fading we reached the bottom where we camped on a sheltered apple tree flat by the side of the Big Hill Creek.
For the next two days we succumbed to the warm, winter sunshine. Between baskings, we explored the river and creek, by the sides of which grew thick brush forest, Bluegums, brush box, various ficus types, lillypillies, monkey-vines, tallow-wood and orchids were profuse. For the more distant scenery Ray's graphic descriptions sufficed. With commendable energy he pushed up the rough Hastings gorge to the Lower Falls. Here the river flows through a narrow cleft and drops into an immense pool - almost a lake - below.
We went down to an old friend of Myles, Mr. Krapp, whose home is only a few miles downstream. Mr. Krapp has lived in the valley for over 40 years. He started as a cabinet maker in his father's factory in Potsdam, then he joined the navy and fought in the China Seas in the nineties. Nowadays his chief enjoyment is his old craft of cabinetmaking. He showed us over his house. Every plank in the walls is of cedar, pit-sawn and planed. The floor is of tallow wood, the furniture of cedar, beautifully fitted and finished. He showed us the planes he has made for his work, even bevelling planes which he has ground to produce the shapes he wanted. Then he produced a huge damper and corned beef for morning tea. It was so tasty that our morning tea developed into an early lunch. It was lucky he had received Myles' letter because he doesn't often ride down to the post-office at Yarras, Had he heard then, that the war ended a fortnight ago? No - he hadn't!
His mate, who had come up to trap rabbits and been invited in to stay, told us something of the hazards of cattle raising in these parts. When the time comes for mustering the men have to be provided with three horses a day, because a horse soon tires in galloping round those hills. There are no fences and the cattle know what is doing, inevitably making for the thickest and most inaccescible scrub. Many have roamed the hills unbranded for ten years or more and never been in a yard. How do you tell whose they are? Well, in general, the baldy ones belong to Mr,Hrapp and the Red Devons and black ones to the chap next door.
Next morning we set off down the river. On the way we called to see Mr. Krapp who provided us with a large portion of the delectable beef and some walnuts from the tree in his yard. While the dynamic Ray sped 3,000 feet up Mount Seaview, the rest of us meandered along the river bank. It was a pleasant trip along the flats and hillside. We lunched on a flat near an old hut which we found was made of solid cedar slabs up to 2 feet across. The broad clear stream flowed through many patches of coastal brush timber. Casuarinas overhanging the river were laden with orchids which were either rock-lilies or a closely related species. By evening we reached the next farm, near which we camped. Ray caught up just as we were pitching our tents. Though he had not seen the sea he had seen practically everything else from that famous peak - featured in every school atlas.
We met Myles and Milo again at Yarras next day. They had been lucky in meeting a sergeant of police who drove them back to the road. Myles said he was glad he had seen the pass from the tableland down to the valley as it traversed 30 miles of heavy timber and brush country.
The Upper Hastitgs is well worth seeing. There is quite a large area of virgin mountain and tableland country between the Hastings and the Macleay and, while most of it is fairly open walking. I suspect some thick scrub to the east of our route. If anyone is looking for new country, there it is.
It happened at Era. A member passed the time of day with two campers who, though he didn't know it, were prospectives. “Do you walk much?” he asked. “Oh yes”, they replied, we belong to the Bushwalkers' Club - Walking is our Business.“
At Mr. Krapp's home the walls were, naturally, papered with pictures from newspapers and magazines. Pride of place on one wall went to two large and symmetrically placed pictures - one of the Duchess of Windsor, the other of a death adder.
Once again, Long Angle Gully, Warrimoo, was the scene of the Annual Barbecue provided by the Rover Ramblers, the boys who put the “queue” in Barbecue.
The weather was perfect, just sufficient crispness in the air to whet the appetite, and after a sunny day followed a lovely starry night with a half moon to illuminate the campfire scene.
The folks began to drift in on the Friday night and the last comers arrived in the small hours of Sunday morning. All ages, from hoary heads to tiny toddlers, and all types and sizes joined in the trek. The colony of little tents grew rapidly like mushrooms studding the grass. About 120 were present at the camp fire - members of clubs and unattached walkers all drawn together by the common bond of a partiality for roast lamb and a good campfire concert, plus the attraction of a very pleasant camp spot.
The sight and smell of the “Special Export Quality Lamb” sizzling on the spit were very welcome, but if anyone ventured too near with a hungry look in eye, a caution, in no uncertain manner was forthcoming from the cook-cum-butcher.
The afternoon was occupied in a “Scavenge Hunt”, during which the contestants had to collect an array of the most weird and wonderful items. Everywhere, from the bottom of the creek to the top of the highest hill, had to be searched to yield the stipulated articles; some of the competitors gave up the struggle, but others, with dogged determination, went on searching until time was up.
Eventually, word went round that “IT was ready”, and the boys and girls started to queue up with their plates and two bobs tightly clutched in their hands. All the housekeeping girls apparently felt quite at home in the meat line-up even though the absence of requests for coupons must have seemed a little odd. The meat was soon expertly carved and everyone received a little lamb in due time and had a lot of fun in the process. By dusk not so much as a bone was left.
Dozens of little cooking fires gleaming amongst the tall trees made a very pretty sight, someone remarking “It looks like Lilyvale on a Sunday night.”
The camp fire (consisting of two medium sized fires – a very good idea) was started up and community singing, assisted and controlled by several musicians, who were sitting between the two fires, was heartily joined in by the ring of walkers circling the area. Charades and other hurmourous items helped to pass the time and all too soon the cocoa supper was served. As usual, this was the signal for the gathering to break up and some drifted off to bed while the “die-hards” drew into a smaller circle and sang songs well into the night.
The programme of sports and games for Sunday was, apparently, compiled by the young and virile with a total disregard for safety of neck and limb. The boys, and some of the girls, climbed trees and cliff faces, and finally took part in some strenuous tugs-o-war. A very funny fancy dress parade amused the less energetic ones and the morning passed with gossiping and laughter. At the mention of lunch the whole company melted away like snowflakes in the sun.
The afternoon found the parties slowly beginning to pack up and the tents falling one by one. A few youngsters made time and found energy to do some very hectic and fancy skipping, but the lengthening shadows saw rucksacks on backs and the folks slowly stringing towards the station. The long walk to the station caused, of course, a fierce thirst and famine with the result that the local shop enjoyed an unprecedented boom in trade. Fortified with the delicacies of Warrimoo the barbecuists felt able to face the usual assault on the train but (what do you thinks?) there were two reserved carriages to take them back to town. That was a fine ending to a fine barbecue.
Here are some items of Special Interest from the Report of the August Meeting of the Federation.
The date of the Federation's Re-union was fixed as 20th and 21st October. The Rover Ramblers' delegates undertook to convene an organising committee as they have done on previous years. This committee (members to be co-opted from the various Clubs) will arrange a suitable location. Further details of this matter also later, but book the week-end now, 20th and 21st October.
Commonwealth Disposals Commision
Miss Byles advised that her attention as Hon. Sec. of the Federation had been drawn to an advertisement stating that the buildings at West Head were to be auctioned individually or as one unit plus a lease of the area, which was considered suitable for a guest house. However, when the auctioneer was approached, he stated that the latter proposition had had to be withdrawn as the State Minister for Lands, Mr. Tully, had intervened and objected to the land being leased for the purpose. Federation decided to write and congratulate Mr. Tully on his action, also to write to the Parks & Playgrounds Movement of N.S.W., the Minister for the Interior, and the Property Officer of the Department of the Interior regarding the position of Commonwealth Lands when the temporary buildings are up for disposal. It was considered that the action taken regarding West Head, Hungry Beach and Barrenjoey had been unsatisfactory and delegates were asked to try to get information regarding any other such areas and Commonwealth proposals.
It was reported that the National Fitness Council has included in its estimates money for resumption as well as for a hostel.
Road to Maynards
Bulli Council had referred to Garawarra Park Trust for its opinion of a request from Maynards for the improvement of their access road. On behalf of the Park Trust the Hon. Secretary, Tom Herbert, had asked Marie Byles for the Federation's opinion. Council endorsed her action in advising that the Bushwalkers are not in favour of its improvement. Mr. Herbert agreed.
Sales of Wildflowers
It was reported that Mr. Allan of the Rangers' League had told a delegate recently that so far very few people have applied for licences as growers under the Wildflowers Act and that sales have dropped away very considerably.
Letter to the Editor - We Are Not Dead But Sleeping
“The Club is not what it used to be” is the theme of two recent correspondents. Of course it isn't. After six years of war, with some 70 of its most active members in the Services, with the remainder working long hours, with transport cut and big walks few it couldn't possibly be its old self. The marvel is that it has kept so much of its old spirit, in fact that it has kept going at all.
For its continued existence we owe our thanks to a body of old and devoted members and to the many newer members who have taken on big jobs with very little experience in Club affairs. Before the war many worked willingly for the Club, not as a matter of duty, but because they liked it. This is not to deny that there are some hard and rather thankless jobs to be done, and that anyone who accepts the Club's benefits should take at least one of these jobs on in his day, but the fact remains that it was fun to lead walks, debate the Club affairs, act in plays, arrange parties and, in general, take an active part in Club affairs. Why did so many people do these things and like it?
The main reason was that we were able to walk a lot more and in bigger parties. Not a month passed without several large parties setting out on two or three day walks, often hard walks, which were only possible with good organisation and co-operation. And it is hardly necessary to say that the way to get to know your fellow members is to go on walks with them.
The running of the club means a lot to an active walker. It was one of the chief topics around the camp-fire, It was important that office holders should run things the way you wanted them run, and an honour to be entrusted with such a responsibility. Healthy minorities formed to combat real or imagined “worserism” or conservatism. A lot of high spirited new members were attracted. They just couldn't resist taking an active part.
During the war we have not been able to get together as we used to. Neither old nor new members have done much walking. Many members have never had much chance to know their clubmates. Most old members haven't been out much. We have become a collection of rather tired individuals rather than a Club, “Our psychologist's” groups in the last issue are true of any collection of people without a strong common interest.
Are we “dying on our feet”? (shades of Debert). I don't think so. Already there are signs that interest is reviving. Most of the members in the Forces haven't lost interest (thanks largely to the B.S.C.), and they will be glad to come back into the Club.
It is quite likely that we shall have a big increase in membership. “Yes”, say the pessimists, “that will make things even worse.” But they forget the possibilities it opens up - our own Club rooms, better transport - motor coaches - perhps buses or even planes. And there will always be plenty of scope for the small private party. Maybe there is some “rough and no track” ahead till we find club-rooms. That is something in which we can all help right now. In the meantime we must make the best of poor camp-sites.
The danger is not that we shall “die on our feet” - a not unworthy end for a walking club - but that we shall lie down and die.
I am, etc.,
The Club Optimist.
From "Dream Exhibition of a Final World"
Beyond is the last great valley (Charabanc, Charabanc, roaring!)
Here are the old cascades,
Warranted still in their ancient courses,
Guaranteed to be haunted yet by the spirit of beauty,
Mumbling mysteriously far within their barb-wire encircled enclosures;
And every train-and-villa-girdled mountain
Is crowned with proud hotels.
The Maid: I am leaving, Give me back my character.
The Master: Sossosh, My Wife may be listening.
The number of club members, who have this year spent holidays in (sic) the snow is so great an to justify one member's proposed Ski-ing Sub-committee. Space prevents us from giving all the names but, if your name is not one of the many, you also must brave been sufficiently misguided as to send in an income tax return. Bill Cosgrove sounded very disillusioned after a fortnight's bad weather and I fear that the usual party will be booking in at the Hydro-Majestic next year.
Another Club is reported to have expressed scorn at the wide advertising in our club of the bias to the top of Era. They little know that the remarkable feature is, not that the Club cannot walk to Era, but that it is willing to pay the fare.
They're coming back in dribs and drabs, in mufti and in uniform. In the latter class is Betty Isaacs (Mr. Isaac's little girl) who has the miserable job at Bradfield of handing out discharges to other people.
Betty Jeans is reported to be engaged and, by her absence from the Club, we opine that fiance comes under “Other” in the usual classification of the population into “Club” and “Other.
Did someone say Debert was in the camouflage section of the R.A.A.F.? Only by such experience could he conceal for a period of approximately 20 weeks the arrival of a son from the ramifications of our Super-sensitive, supercharged Spy Service. You have hurt our feelings, Jack, and next time we shall be more wary.
We report with pleasure that the request in last month's issue for a tent has resulted in a satisfied client. Will subscribers please let us know their views on a possible merger with “The Sydney Morning Herald”?
With all humility we should like to know what are the qualifications for being invited on special trips such as the recent one to Kxnxngrz (apart, of course, from payment of transport costs in advance). Is it a question of worth, girth or year of birth? As we are halfway through Carnegie's “How to Win Friends and Influence People” we hoped to be asked one way.
The Iredales were able to have a holiday recently through the kindly offices of Hilma who looked after the numerous progeny - a family of two these days is enormous. Hilma gave a guarantee that they would be returned “clean but probably hungry”. Hilma must have been reminded of the quotation “The child is father to the man” when she saw those children chewing apples.
The British Navy was in the Club the other night with a destroyer of the “Stretton” class in attendance.
“He is only a British bosun but one day he may be a mate”.
We admit that we have not yet heard any news of the six members who participated in the “extraordinary test for women athletes” but they should get a cut price if they take a whole ward in the local hospital. Should they put up a good showing, however, we suggest that their names be publicised in order that we weaker, male members can avoid them on walks.
The Woodsesses are home from the Wars! Johnnie's two brothers walked in, we understand, almost simultaneously, and we guarantee a good time is being had by all. It is hardly possible now to see the trees for the Woods.
Air Transport For Walkers
A recent plane trip to and from the Warrumbungle Mountains has been the means of converting me to an enthusiasm for air travel. Apart from the cleanliness and lack of fatigue as compared with train or other earthbound traffic, it is the saving of time which is so miraculous. On that occasion we covered the journey by air to Tooraweenah in 2 1/2 hours as against 18 hours in the train with car to follow.
It was only a tiny plane, a De Haviland Dragon, carrying the pilot and six passengers. When we arrived at Mascot aerodrome on the morning of our take-off it looked like a little mosquito, against the bombers and A.N.A. planes that were grouped around. In fact I felt that if I pushed it, it might just fall apart. My father, who had driven us to the drome, was obviously trying hard not to look aghast at its unsubstantial appearance. However, it is very comforting to note the nonchalant air of the pilot on thse occasions, and having once made the plunge I don't suppose one would have these qualms again.
We taxied around and rose very nicely and it was most intriguing picking out all the familiar landmarks below. To the delight of Ray and Dorothy we flew right over the roof of theirt home at Clifton Gardens. As we went north we looked down on West Head and all the waterways in that vicinity, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing from this new angle all the bays and ridges we knew. This interest continued until we were north of Gosford and then I felt that I should like a map to assist me in recognising the mountains and townships.
The weather deteriorated and we had a good deal of cloud and some rain.
It was particularly interesting when we reached the plains, but rather heartbreaking to see them so brown and caked and seared with eroded gullies. Our trip coincided with the breaking of the drought and on the way home the transformation was staggering. We returned in brilliant sunshine and looked down on to vivid patches of grass, crops, and large areas of black, red and brown soil that had been ploughed up immediately the rains came. There were rivers and creeks where before we had seen only the dry beds. It was interesting too to see many homesteads and villages that had been obscured by cloud on the trip up.
When the Warrumbungles came into view it was just breath-taking. All the extraordinary shapes of the spires and cliffs (that we knew from magazines and tourists department photos) were stretched across the horizon, becoming more incredibly weird as we drew nearer.
I gazed eagerly below, looking for the aerodrome. I need not have bothered. We landed gently in an open paddock - without a building of any kind! However great pride is taken in the fact that it Ills, alwayi been possible to land on this field - never has the pilot had to turn away owing to fog or flooded land.
The forward trip was over and we were safely in sight of the mountains we were to climb during the next fortnight - one of the most successful walking holidays we have known.
The purpose of this article is to impress on fellow members the enormous scope that plane transport will open up for us when we have the extension of plane routes that is bound to follow these war years. Do you realise that, with plane transport, an Easter trip to the Warrumbungles is well worthwhile, and we shall be able to make trips to all sorts of distant places for short holidays?
It is a most exciting thought, and the quicker we as a body become air minded the sooner we shall be ready to take advantage of the very many opportunities which, I feel, will become available.
From Our Special Correspondent "On The Spot"
What an historic date! This morning I awoke at 2.30 a.m. to strange noises. Put on dressing gown and then to the front windows. It had happened! Wizzed back to my bedroom, on with strong shoes and warm clothes, and out on to Manchester streets. Standing at the head of the steps was one of the Hotel Porters. “That's ours” said he, pointing, “and all we can get back so far is one castor”. The Hotel piano was doing more than noble duty in the centre of the street, right on the tram lines! It was withstanding blast from fireworks and surging crowds, some dancing round it, others just singing - albeit a little hoarsely. The Hotel had given free beer to service men, and several bottles of champagne had also been given out. A jeep nipped round the corner with 15 aboard. A hansom cab with a FLAGPOLE attached and huge Union Jack came by with very “celebrating” occupants. A Baby Austin car does not wear its usual grown up dignity when three are on the roof astride, one with a piano accordion.
Down in Albert Square jazz rattles were going hell for leather. (Whilst away from the Hotel, a tear bomb was used to heighten the proceedings.)
We followed a kettle drum band, and to my astonishment saw the drums were “Keep your city clean” waste paper baskets beaten with sticks.
Perhaps the most significant of all was couples dancing on the roofs of an air raid shelter 10 feet above the pavement. The bells of Manchester Town Hall were trying bravely to be heard through the noise.
This lims all mousey quiet compared with what was going on in Piccadilly London. There had been a “warming up” for several nights previously, and now –!!! The din of a Victor Nation after 6 years of war and pent up controls…..!!!
L. G. Harrison.
A kookaburra had a very pleasant bath in the pool the other day. He (let's hope it wasn't she) didn't just fall in and he wasn't catching fish, but he deliberately jumped in, thrashed and splashed wildly and scrambled out to the side. Then with a rattle of his beak and a prodigious fuss he shook himself, paused on the edge and in he jumped again with all the gusto of a small boy on a hot day.
He repeated this performance a number of times and then finally tried to fly away. Unfortunately he carried too big a load of water in his feathers and he made a crash landing with his undercarriage up and nearly fell in again (accidentally this time). The second attempt was more successful and he managed to reach the branch of a tree overlooking the pool and there settled down for a sunbake and little reflection on the wicked ways of the world or maybe the curious kinks of kookaburras.
Now that the war is over things will gradually return to normal. The rucksack situation is improving but please do not be too impatient for japara articles. It may be come months before supply is better.
Manpower. Walkers can help the good work along by looking out for a likely girl for the “Paddymade” workshop. Under 18 years, no experience needed. Permanent position.
Paddy Pallin. Camp Gear for Walkers.
327 George Street, Sydney
Phone B 3101.