Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, c/ Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown Street, Sydney.
No. 144 December, 1946. Price 6d.
|“End of the Mountain Quest”||“Bona Dea”||2|
|Christmas Party||Social Secretary||3|
|Sidelights on Walkers||Nonsense||5|
|Evolution of a Residence||Illustration||6|
|“Garrawarra Working Bee”||“Trouper”||7|
|“Steamed Pudding Specialist”||“Gourmet”||9|
|“The Rear View”||Ted Constable||10|
|“The Tuross from Bodalla”||“Prolix”||11|
|“First Descent of Clear Hill”||Flash-back||15|
|“Christmas is a Loathsome Thing”||Ray Kirkby||18|
|“A Review of 'Australian Wild Life'“||Alex Colley||20|
|What Has Paddy Got Now?||22|
End of the Mountain Quest.
- by Bona Dea.
To all in life's gay spring-time
Is joy that Time will furl -
The girl who holds the mirror,
The youth who holds the girl.
The joy of youth and beauty,
The zest of health and strength,
And academic honours -
They all must pass at length.
And you? You chose the mountains,
The bushlands and the camp,
The joy of towering summits
And long, long days atramp.
You grandly thought your pastime
Was better than the rest.
'Twas only better really
If dropped at Time's behest.
'Tis true a trifle early
Time turns the page for you,
But this means longer lifetime
Of higher climbs to do.
And heights of mind and spirit
Are fairer far to climb
Than any earth-formed mountain
You trod in life's sweet prime.
So close the alpine journal
And dry the furtive tear,
The future is not empty,
Nor is it dull and drear.
And old familiar mountains
Will gain an added glow,
When inner sight lends beauty
To light their gleaming snow.
Has the proverbial “little bird” whispered to you about our XMAS Cabaret Party on the 17th December and what a good time you're going to have… for of course you'll be there.
We are going to celebrate in the lovely Reception Room overlooking the park on the 3rd floor of CUSA House in Elizabeth St. with lots of windows for cool breezes and we leave the dress to your own discretion. You will be served a luscious supper of poultry and ham and accompanying good things and e 3-piece band will play your favourite numbers from 8 o'clock. There will be lots of novelties all for 7/6 but before you groan here's a surprise- YOU CAN LAY-BY your entertainment. Surely 2/- a week isn't going to deter you from such an evening of entertainment but the number of guests is limited so contact your Social Secretary and book a table. Perhaps you have a friend or two who might join us. The tables take eight people by the way.
We would like all money to be paid by the 6th December to facilitate arrangements and you will get your ticket in the form of a receipt. So book early and avoid disappointment.
Let us have your full co-operation and so make the night an outstanding success.
The S.B.W. Maternity Derby runs on apace. You may now congratulate the proud parents:
To Dot and Ira Butler, a daughter.
To Alan and Audrey Whitfield, ditto.
One proud mother stood before The Exhibit in the Health Week exhibition, and was heard to remark to her companion:
“The Bushwalkers! Oh, Bob's in this. He's a guide. He takes the lead.”
Wise Child: “Let's play S. B. W.”
Dumb Child: “What's that?”
Wise Child: “Follow the Leader.”
As slowly gathers light of rising day
To show this traveller o'er the ancient way,
Its rightful owners deep instincts obey
And life begins again.
The traveller to his burden turns once more,
Yet feels he not the load upon him, for
Departed is the labour, worry, war -
And he is not of men.
The timeless orb keeps to its timeless road,
And timeless time makes heavier his load;
But still he feels it not. (Time is his goad,
For timeless is he too.)
Not then of men, but yet of men is he?
With pompous vainness strives he thus to be.
This prodigal from nature tries to free
Himself from self, and you!
And as he wanders on, outwards unheeding,
Inwards calm and reverence lie breeding,
Growing, overwhelming man and leading
E'en 'gainst his will.
Then brightness softly leaves this traveller's skies;
Life slowly stops as light upon life dies,
On nature's floor the weary wanderer lies -
Man is of men still.
Sidelights on Walkers
“Ah, love, could thou and I with fate conspire
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire…” Omar Khayyam sums up the President at the General Meeting.
“Every herb, from flower to fruit,
And every plant, from leaf to root”… need I mention Clem?.
“Boots, boots, boots, boots”… The Prospective goes up Solitary.
“Frailty, thy name is Woman!”…. did someone murmur, “Two men, to every girl…!
And when Shakespeare wrote, “a long-tongued, babbling gossip”… was he thinking of the official Reporter?
Can You Imagine:
Dorman going light-weight?
Phil Hall in love?
Leydan and Cosgrove in agreement?
Members on a Test Walk?
Norma Barden in the lead?
Jenny struck dumb?
Christa in a panic?
Or Roley with a mo?
Did You Know.
That a member got a splinter, and the post festered?
That a skeleton at Era, rumoured to be that of a Prospective who ate steamed pudding cooked by a member, was sold to University for two pounds? Look after your bones – they represent hard cash.
That Clem Hallstrom saw a phosphorescent waratah? And him tee-total, too?
That a Prospective recently cooked the Leader's breakfast? Imagine that!
That a walk last month was patronised exclusively by women? Would this be called a hens' convention?
Garrawarra Working Bee.
Everyone was there, of course. Me, I come trundling down the hill, late on Sunday morning, delayed by having taken the wrong track. The others went over the cliff and down by some rope attachment, but not me. At bottom of said rope was a pile of floor-boards to be carted through muck and mud to the scene of construction. No, not me – I went the long way round.
Down by the bottom of the track, I saw an apparition: a lurching pair of shorts, a stumbling pair of legs, a billowing blouse, and a banging and clattering emanating from two huge planks of timber. Yes, the floorboards. To my improper and entirely involuntary shriek of laughter, the apparition turned – a face, with long hair falling over it. Gosh! a woman. Unknown to me, so must be a prospective.
Ten yards further – two more girls bouncing along under floorboards. No, no! – the floor-boards were doing the bouncing. More Prospectives.
There then smote upon my ears a sound of hammering, and in my telepathic brain rang curses. Hm! – men. More Prospects? Then did I see a male form upon an upper member of what they called “the Roof,” belting into a hunk of iron like a veritable demented hen burrowing for worms. Bob Eastoe – Ah! a Member at last!
Imagine the scene – Prospectives wielding tools with all the zeal of eager youth; and here and there a Member, smoking! A tall, slim being greeted me with, “Hiya, Kid.” Naturally, from the familiarity of the greeting, I must know the being. Yet the only clues I had were shape, for all semblance of face was blotted out by splashes from the ten-inch brush of creosote he/she was wielding. “Hiya, Frankenstein”, I called back quite innocently. Intrigued, I enquired of the nearest bystander (a Member naturally – all the Prospectives were working), but he also was nonplussed, and subjected me to a lengthy soliloquy: “Arthur - up there, the one smoking; John Connor - over there; Jess - that one; Doug - eating; Alex - talking to Dorothy; and so on… There's only Hilma left. Oh! why, of course! it's Hilma.” I retracted the Frankenstein.
Just what happened next is quite obscure, until that moment when I found myself sitting back, sucking a painful thumb, and cursing myself for mishitting, only to hear apologies in my ear. Now, I ask you - a bloke doesn't mind missing the nail and hitting his thumb, really; but when a bloke misses the nail and clonks someone else's appendage, is that cricket?
There next appeared, from the North End, a pale-skinned, dyed-in-the wool, obviously lounge-type Shack-ite (I'll mention no name - he wouldn't print it anyway) who forthwith departed Up The Hill (leaving his hammer behind, mark you) for more floor boards. A half-hour and he re-appeared - no flooring. Some lengthy tale he told of a long, hot, fruitless climb when all the boards were down. Now, why didn't I think of that one?
All this time, there had been great cursing and gnashing of chattering teeth upon the roof. Wondering why anyone should gnash his teeth upon the roof, I looked up. Here was an amazing thing: they were ripping the sheets of iron off, not laying them on: Enquiry found the answer! Peter Price it was, who introduced some real Scientific Planning into the job. For a solid hour, he harangued the elements and us upon the necessity for a well-thought-out Plan in such a thing as a roof. But is it scientific to nail the iron so that the water pours into the hut, in lieu of off it?
Dot Vincent lent a real home touch, in more ways than one. A sponge cake, no less, cut neatly into slices, one for everyone, except me - I always was lucky. It caused me some curiosity as to how she was able to maintain such charm as she always does in the bush, only to be informed by a feminine co-worker that last night's storm would have ripped the bottom out of any woman's face unless she spent it under an iron roof. Hm! Why can't I add a shack to my sex-appeal?
The day wore on, and my energy wore down (evading work at a Working Bee is more strenuous than any Test Walk), so in the shade of some trees far removed from the activities, I sought slumber. But the hammering wouldn't cease, so that I had perforce to return to the scene of ops. And lo! the throng had dwindled to four, with Members outnumbering the Prospective, 3 to 1!!! John Wren, however, held his own, being a self-constituted machine saw, pneumatic rivetter, and power hammer in one.
At last, when the sun had sunk behind the hill, and birds had gone to rest, the busy quartet stood back with a sigh – the roof was up, and the floor was down. Their work was done – until the Working Bee for the walls to go on! “Question not, but live and labour…” Yes, there's work to be done there, yet!
Subscribers please note that Magazine subscriptions will become due on 1st February next and should be paid before that date to make sure you receive your copy.
Subscription rates for 12 months are:-
Copies held in Club till called for: 6/.
Copies posted: 7/6.
Pay subscriptions to Jean Harvey now.
The Bush Walker Annual is on sale for 1/6d. Post one to your friends for Christmas.
Steamed Pudding Specialist.
I walk through hills and valleys green,
Eat meals I curse with more than verb;
But nothing can on earth compare
With Era Pudding, cooked by Herb.
He wanders round the northern vale
With battered billy, fork and spoon:
An egg from here, some fruit from there –
A mixture that would make one swoon.
He mixes custard with the egg –
A mixture thin and smooth as silk –
The aged fifty-fifty mode:
One egg to one gallon of milk.
This pudding was not meant to eat
(It should be fed unto the toads)
For after entering your tum,
It gathers force and then explodes.
Recuperating from the meal,
Each ache and pain must have a rub,
I cry aloud above my groans,
“Just how did he get in the club??”
Question Time in the House.
Oh Sandfly, what doeth on me sit
As whacketh I with missing hit
At itching spot where last you bit,
Are you he or she or it?
As steady flow from lips I stem
The answer comes to me - it's them!
Kiddies' Christmas Treat.
Men wanted! – to see that the kids don't drown. Women wanted! – to see that the kids don't starve. Remember that Rene Browne needs your aid on Sun Dec. 22nd. Girls to prepare the meals, and men to play games and supervise swimming.
The Tuross From Bodalla.
Bodalla, the source of some of our best cheese is 216 miles from Sydney on the South Coast, rather pretty, quiet and its people typical of the kindly folk who form our generous country people.
One Sunday evening in June, 1944, found Prolixia (newly acquired) and myself endeavouring to obtain a prepared meal in Bodalla after a long days travel by rail, and road from Nowra - long yet in very interesting scenery and winding through fine forests, grand spotted gums being particularly impressive as we averaged about 50 m.p.h. between stops.
Darkness had about completely replaced the day as we snooped along the dimly lit street to find food waiting for us in a small store-cum-cafe. These folk provided a real feed straight from the kitchen - eggs, toast, bacon etc. etc. with inevitable cup(s) of tea.
Very unbushwalker-like we slept in Bodalla Hotel in order to arise in time for a possible lift per truck. Enquiries of our host the previous evening had resulted in an early approach to the milk truck driver, (during his breakfast), who could take us part of the way.
After making his acquaintance and receiving consent to travel we returned to collect some bread, meat and other essentials and dumped them beside his large V8 truck. A much smaller truck of older vintage then drew up and conversation with its owner changed our plans as he would be only too happy to take us right into Nerrigundah. Thus, in typical style we were soon on our way in clear frosty morning.
Our first real glimpse of the Tuross River came shortly after our departure, at the crossing below Eurobodalla and prior to ascending the range. The Tuross is typical of most coastal rivers, fairly wide, bordered by casuarinas and wide strips of gleaming sand which also beds the river making it shallow and wider than would be the case without this evidence Of man's destructiveness.
Likewise flood marks indicate that at times much water flows depositing its load of sand and debris high above normal river level, a feature now unfortunately common to all rivers.
However in the case of the Tuross the natural state of the river is met much closer to the coast than usual, this making the trip much more pleasant.
Nerrigundah is the remnants of a once very prosperous gold mining town deep in a valley over the ranges from Bodalla, but now only boasting a general store, shed and some few houses. The main object of interest is a fine statue of a policeman who was shot by bushranger my years ago, and complete with carved story of the incident. One could scarcely imagine such tribute being paid to-day.
The old truck made heavy but profitable work of the long climb to the top and then down the steep winding descent into Nerrigundah where, with a promise to meet us the following Friday on the road for the return trip to Bodalla, we farewelled our kind friend and his companions. We breakfasted by the clear, fast running Gulph Creek remarking on our good fortune in having covered 13 miles since daybreak yet with almost all day in front of us, and soaking the warmth of the sun, now well up, to remove our cold and stiffness.
From an old timer we learned that the creek had been thoroughly dredged well up into the hills but that much gold was still to be had. In fact right under our feet was a fortune in alluvial gold, but a dredge and anybody else could not get it as it was part of the roadway and council property. Many tales of the district could - and would - have been told by this old soul, but we had to press on, having duly admired his little bottle of pannings which is apparently shown to all callers, complete with its history.
The side road from Nerrigundah wound gradually down past Cadgee on the slopes bordering the Tuross, passing a few farms and finally petering out beyond a field of corn which seemed to have ripened solely for the benefit of some hundreds of cockatoos and galahs. For the remainder of that day the scenery was much the same, the river narrowing with hills and ridges closing in.
The second day found the river winding around the feet of ridges and with more numerous crossings by which we cut many corners.
Late in the afternoon the remains of an old stamper battery and gold mine were found on a bend in the river, Utopia on the Map, but very little evidence is left, it having apparently suffered by weather, fire and the removal of parts. The old mine was some distance away so was not visited. We noted an old long-abandoned roadway from the workings winding up the side of the ridge. It was late afternoon and we decided to try it with a view to cutting off some of the bends of the river. Optimistically we kept to it till the Tuross seemed a long way down below, and in a panic we turned down towards it via a small creek bed with darkness rapidly approaching. Orr reward was a very awkward camp at the mouth of this tiny creek, some 5 feet above the river and with no alternative but to make the best of a cold, damp, sloping, confined hollow. This excursion had profited us nothing so we kept to the river.
The following day, fine weather still prevailing and, as the reader will have already guessed, we, not breaking any records, found the river more interesting as it passed through tall timber, comparatively deep cuttings in the hills, shady casuarinas, sparkling pools and the ever recurring pebbly crossings. Shortly the first real sign of civilization was noted in the form of a well made dirt road following the river - and not on the map. In the picturesque surroundings it was a welcome change to follow, giving frequent glimpses of the delightful river bends shaded with tall trees and splashed with clean sandy.banks. As our road cut a wide bend in the river and rose to negotiate the ridge we were rewarded with our first glimpse of the Mountain Ranges east of Cooma, a near deep green peak picturesquely placed in the scene as a distant interest (and one which predominated the landscape for the following 2 days) through the winding gorge below and the sparkle of the Tuross threading its way in the lower foreground.
The Tuross begins in the plateau on the ranges, flows through the mountains and here is still quite wide, swift flowing and crystal clear, this latter a very noticeable feature. It was evening and as the banks were grassy below under the Casuarinas we decided to camp- the choicest camp spot of the trip with the merry sound of water passing over pebbles. At this spot the river formed an “S” bend with the ridge behind us and a creamy curve of sand at the opposite bank. Here were surroundings from which we had to tear ourselves away the following morning.
Clear and bright the second last day dawned. Fed and washed we reluctantly made for the road above. It was not long before the landscape changed completely as we rounded a bend and beheld through a thin curtain of trees undulating grass-covered country, obviously a large property. All hills and ridges were left tree covered, presenting a deep green soft woolly appearance, as were many of the slopes.
Passing through a gateway the road continued, winding over the grassy slopes and to a farm house, to which this road provided vehicular access - I think also for strategic purposes, as it was in excellent repair throughout. It was our good fortune to be hailed by a utility truck driver who took us the remaining few hundred yards to the house, which proved to be the station manager's home. The station, Bellowrie, 20,000 acres of marvellous country is surely in the finest setting to be found, surrounded by high hills and mountains, part of which are within the boundary, the green slopes stretching along the Tuross and side creeks, between wooded hills and extending over the ridges beyond eyesight. The station homestead was somewhere to the North about 6 miles away.
Surely few men are rewarded with such fine surroundings as those here, and the innumerable Hereford cattle raised thereon. I wish I was a Hereford “cattle”.
Permission to camp by the river was readily given, and likewise to spend the afternoon climbing the nearby mountain - one of those on the property. The long climb - best part of 1,000 feet - was rewarded by a wonderful panorama of the station pattern below. To the South and Easterly the Tuross and country beyond, whilst to the West, South and North the Mountain ranges were outlined against the afternoon sky. Some peaks are near the 5,000 ft. mark and to the North West Bald Mountain stood out boldly. Below and to the West the Tuross River disappeared in a deep gorge and was lost in the Mountains. Lining the river and dotted about, the gums had a lovely rounded shape more like English trees than Australian. This rare spot will live long in our memories.
Next morning we left very early in order to make our truck of the first day and hence Nerrigundah, 15 miles away, by 4 p.m., not relishing the extra 13 miles to Bodalla in one day. The morning at Bellowrie was cold, crisp and beautiful. Mists rising from the lowlands against the sun, grass beaded with dew drops and ourselves emitting miniature mists at every breath. Just before leaving we enjoyed a fine sight and sound - of milling young cattle being rounded up by dogs and man on horseback in the early morning sun and mist. All participants seemed equally fresh and full of healthy vigour. All this and yet to-morrow we were to be speeding back to Sydney.
With the sound of activity behind we were about to leave the station when a movement caught our eye.
I suppose such things are necessary, but the sight of a golden fox in a trap was just too much for us and the joy which was ours was immediately forgotten as we went to its assistance, a wild creature struggling against steel jaws. The unfortunate animal had apparently been there for some time, its front leg snapped clean near the “elbow” and held by the tough skin, by which it had circled the trap in its frenzy to escape. A groundsheet sufficed to hold and hide him while I cut through the skin. To open the trap was almost impossible and in any case unwise as foxes teeth are very sharp, and the trapped portion of leg quite useless.
Released and uncovered the fox seemed non-plussed, then limped quickly some 10 yards, stopped, looked back at us as though in thanks and quickly disappeared.
The road by which we arrived was followed to Belimbla Creek and over a flood bridge. Up and up following the ridge to the top of the wooded range the road led us, till at last, the crest reached, we were able to look back on the scene of the previous day, our mountain easily visible against the main ranges behind.
For some miles the road gave us changing glimpses of this scene as the afternoon sun moved down from its zenith. Occasionally to the East the distant coast and ocean stretched for miles to either hand with the huge double hump of Mount Dromedary, 2,700 ft. dominating and hiding part of the coast line. In the centre distance we could see Montague Island and its white lighthouse bathed in sunshine.
The trees up here are grand specimens, especially those passed towards and on the descent to Nerrigundah, the golden light and long shadows from the lowering sun adding their beauty.
Suddenly we came upon our truck while still on the mountain top, and seeing no-one about decided to keep on and enjoy what remained of the day. A mile or two farther we were picked up and safely installed in the rear of the old “chev” under groundsheets and sacks to keep out the cold which grew more bitter as the pace increased and evening approached.
Soon we dropped down into Nerrigundah - which is well nigh ringed with mountains - and thence, after farewelling some of the crew, back to Bodalla at dusk to thank our good friend for his kindness. His occupation was distilling essential eucalypt oils back in the hills where we saw his truck.
On a rise in and overlooking Bodalla, under huge trees and on an old leaf covered road which showed as a gap through the trees we camped the night and arose early to be sure of catching the mail coach which leaves about 8 a.m.
True to form the locals had learned of our venture as several enquired of our trip “up the river”.
Knowing the larder to be bare at home we invaded the local butcher for a round of beef, receiving a choice and large specimen. Coupons were returned with a flourish and suggestion that we might need them later. Oh, for a country life!
The coach duly arrived leaving us no time to examine the village and so to Sydney, meeting rain at Wollongong. Luck had been ours as the weather held out perfectly to the last day, though wet in Sydney most of the week, to the surprise of the “optimists”.
First Descent of Clear Hill
By Frank Duncan.
Reprinted from Sydney Bushwalker Annual, April, l934
Editorial Note: Clear Hill is taken for granted by present-day bushwalkers and few even stop to ponder that it was once a real bushwalking problem. At the beginning of 1928, the cliffs of Narrow Neck were an unconquered challenge to bushwalkers, with Nellies Glen and the Devils Hole (a well-marked tourist track then) the only entry to the Megalong, and the Megalong the only passage to the Wild Dogs and Cox.
At Easter, 1928, the trip herein described was executed, after unsuccessful attempts by Myles Dunphy and others, aided by rope and pitons. Perhaps it is one of the examples of bushwalking cussedness that the first descent should be the furthest and toughest, whilst nearer and perhaps more accessible routes - Red Ledge Trail, Mitchells Creek, Dunphys Pass and Carlon Head came after the furthest out!
Note:- In other countries people make first ascents. In Australia, which is a topsy-turvy country, we make first descents instead.
One of the first long week-end walks undertaken by my wife and myself after arriving in Sydney was down Nellies Glen, through the Megalong Valley past the Woolshed, and down Black Jerrys Ridge to the Coxs River.
The chief features through the greater length of this route are the impressive bluffs, ridges and precipices of the Narrow Neck, or Clear Hill, Plateau. I well remember comparing it with the plateaux which figure so often in the tales of Rider Haggard, plateaux which usually have but one way of access, and this very difficult, and whereon are found the most weird and wonderful of ancient civilisations.
It was in this mood that we fell into conversation with a walker who told us of the approach from Katoomba via Narrow Neck. When I suggested that it would make a most interesting route out to the Coxs from Katoomba, he pooh-poohed the idea with vigour, and held forth on the ring of inaccessible cliffs at the end. He mentioned several unsuccessful attempts during the past years to find a way off the plateau.
Later, in June, 1928 we joined a popular Bush Walker trip to Clear Hill, at the end of this six-mile long plateau. On the way out we mentioned to some of the party our ambition to pioneer a route to the Coxs via the end of Clear Hill. And, as we arrived at our camping spot at Glen Raphael early, we set off for an evening exploration of the possibilities of a descent of the cliffs, feeling delightfully light and fresh without our heavy packs. A short time found us at the very end of Clear Hill, perched up in the air with cliffs on three sides of us, and a fine clear view, one of the best I have seen in New South Wales, of bush-clad ridges in every direction. Tortuous valleys at our feet wound away in the distance but most striking of all was the feeling of airy lightness and detachment, and freedom from the petty cares of everyday life.
A photo or two were taken, and then the search began. Soon our efforts were rewarded, and we climbed down the gully to the west of the southernmost point of the hill. The descent was in the form of steps or ledges extending in the direction of Mount Mouin. After repeated deviations and retracing of our steps, we came to a sheer cliff within fifty feet of the bush-clad foothills below.
These last fifty feet were the only serious difficulty of the descent, but even here it was not long before three of us, E. Austen, J. Debert and myself had climbed down a chimney-like crack and solved with a shout of pride the descent of Clear Hill.
We returned to camp very pleased with ourselves and made plans for the morrow, when the Austens, J. Debert, Gwen Adams and ourselves made the descent with our packs, and lit a smoke signal from a clearing on the Dog Track, to let our friends, who had stayed on Clear Hill, know of our safe descent.
We spent the next night near the junction of Breakfast Creek and the Coxs, and so home via Jerrys Ridge, tired, but with a satisfied feeling of achievement.
Subsequently a deviation on the latter part of the descent was explored by others, and this saved the climb down the chimney.
The charm and grandeur of the unspoilt bush still clings to Clear Hill, but now someone with more ingenuity than poetry in his nature has fixed a rope-ladder for the convenience of weaklings down the one bit of real climbing on our original route. The Philistines, I fear, will yet put an escalator up Mount Cook and a lift up Kanchenjunga.
Christa Calnan and Norma Barden held their own private annual re-union at Blue Gum. Norma came back with a stiff jaw - and Christa with a stiff ear!
A letter from John Hunter was full of the resounding names of New Zealand – he seems to do his tramping at heights where Kosciusko leaves off!
Christmas is a Loathsome Thing.
by Ray Kirkby.
“Sweet Teviot! on thy silver tide
The glaring bale-fires blaze no more…”
(Any connection between the subject and this quotation is entirely coincidental.)
This, I believe, is a Xmas Number. Pardon me while I shudder - I hate Xmas. What happens? All the year your mother-in-law has been brow-beating you, has been domineering her daughter instead of letting you do it, spoiling the baby and leaving as soon as it starts to play up, getting coupons out of you, cadging your smokes, drinking your beer and then on Xmas morning she turns up and has the “hide” to say “Merry Xmas” to you - right to your face too - which is of course an impossibility from the moment she puts in an appearance although she does try not to be openly sarcastic - and partly succeeds - but makes more veiled and subtle sallies instead. Then the next day she resumes her habitual nastiness perhaps even at a minute past twelve midnight if you should have the misfortune to have her with you still, which is most unlikely as her presence during the day has so enraged you that you eat and drink all sorts of awful combinations which are calculated to certainly (and I'm splitting the infinitive on purpose) to certainly make you ill early in the evening so that you have to go to bed or if this little plan doesn't work you invent a pain anyway.
So you see this good-will-to-men stunt is very overdone and I think that if a person cannot bear me good will all the year round then I'll risk not having it on Xmas Day and stay indoors all day and not issue forth until Boxing Day so that he cannot do me any hurt, more than usual. And as the reaction sets in on Boxing Day during which day and the following 363 days and 364 days in a leap year one can hate one's neighbour at leisure I intend to have my reaction now before the good will sets in for if the whole world were affected by good will simultaneously the effect would be so maddeningly and monotonously sweet and idyllic that one would wonder whether one were in Russia, or, on an official walk composed entirely of prospectives.
My motto therefore is, “Have a bite for Xmas - out of your neighbour.”
But on looking around for something to bite, I find it is not easy. Everything has its uses - “Sweet are the uses of adversity.” Strikes give the strikers a holiday and the slums impart a feeling of wellbeing to the affluent. In our club the critical faculty is even more taxed. Unless I can think of some deficiency in ten minutes this article is finished. Seven… Eight… Nine… Ah, yes.
This committee seems to have solved the difficulty of the minority meetings which used to occur on general meeting nights. But has the millenium arrived? No! sir. It may have been around the corner but it has unfortunately been beaten up, bashed, garotted. One expects sweet interchange of voices now a soprano, now a basso, the violins answering the trumpets, the nightingale a then the jackdaw. One expects.
I cannot hope to describe all our types of speakers nor shall I attempt to do so. There may, for example, have been lots of inaudible speakers at various times but, of course, I haven't heard them. The man standing up may have been looking for a friend or he may have been trying to get a cramp out of his leg for all I know.
There is a type of person who sits in practically the front row and directs himself to the President (quite rightly) but in such a confidential tone that scarcely anyone else can hear. This is wicked waste of time as the President has to repeat the whole thing. Such person should at least give credit where credit is due and address the chair something like this. “Mr. President, would you be so kind as to do me a delayed broadcast on your network?”
Of the distracting mannerisms of the hands let us choose only one. She puts her hands on her hips. You being a mere male hear something like this. “Therefore I think that lighting fires in the open … she has got rather nice hips … I remember now on that last walk-when she was in that neat pair of shorts how nice she looked … mmmmmmmmm, I don't think she has any attachments… All those in favour say “Aye”. You look around wildly, wonder what it is all about, say “Aye” and for all you know you may be voting for your own expulsion.
During a debate a “murmurer” will suddenly shoot a remark at someone a few seats away. This person will feel it incumbent on him to reply and everyone within earshot will soon be in the fray with the circle of “murmurers” getting larger. Only the original speaker knows the original remark but each successive hearer distorts the argument until finally numerous small scrimmages on different subjects are going on in different parts of the meeting. Sometimes they die a natural death but often they linger until one debater having been worsted in his argument calls for order out of spite.
One type of speaker could be called the “parabola” because this is the shape he finally assumed. He or she seems to be suffering from curvature of the spine. But it could be a dozen oranges, a baked rabbit and a half-knitted comforter in the lap. This speaker catches the president's eye when he (the speaker) has his body at about 45 degrees to the floor. As he proceeds the angle becomes more and more acute until finally, upon sitting down, he almost apologises to his stomach for putting his face into it. I have often wondered how they build brick arches. Do they stick the bricks on to one another with less and less underneath hoping all the time that they will stay up long enough for something to be propped up under the other side? Well, if they do, these speakers look like the arch when the builder's have got to the middle but are a bit doubtful whether the law of gravity can stand much more of it. Or like a ruined Roman aqueduct. They are not sure whether they want to be bipeds or quadrupeds, whether they are going to pin their faith to creation or evolution. Of course they are almost inaudible for as they descend in a shrinking curve they must look down lest they take a bite out of the permanent wave in front or smash their teeth on the chairs.
Chairs? What, chairs? I am not going to digress on the people who lean on the furniture as they speak. This habit is so prevalent that it is doubtful if it will ever be eradicated. Indeed it might be a kindness to invent a modern, up-to-date “leaner” which could be passed around to speakers. One would need a cushioned part to lean against with hand rests for the tired arms, also a ….. what's that? You can't hear? Well, I'll try both nostrils and see if that is any better.
A Review of "Australian Wild Life" - Journal of the Wild Life Preservation Society of Australia.
By Alex Colley.
This Journal is a most comprehensive review of conservation activities of recent years, and it is gratifying to note that it owes much of its inspiration to members of the Society who are Club members. The Editor is our past president, David Stead. Dorothy Lawry is a member of the Council, and Doris E. Stead Assistant Secretary and Hon. Treasurer.
The first part of the Journal is the report of the Society for the years 1939-1945. The report covers the main conservation projects of recent years. All Club members could learn much of conservation from it and the newer members in particular might be surprised to learn how much conservation work has been done by the S.B.W. Items of particular interest to Bush Walkers are the sections on Era Lands, Garrawarra, Grose River, The Greater Blue Mountains National Park, Kosciusko State Park and Warra Reserve. The sections on Flora and Fauna preservation raise many issues which have not perhaps received the attention they deserve from our movement, but I was rather disappointed to find that no mention is made of the Wild Flower petition organised by Rae Birt.
The brief section on National Parks in Victoria quotes a most revealing report by Mr. G. Campbell. He states that “Wilson's Promontory, for ten years or more, has been leased to cattle graziers for about £300 per annum, burned from top to toe under alleged control and is no longer a “national park” but a national pasturage - and a poor-looking one at that…. The place lies “in ruins” … all for a matter of £300 per annum.” I hope the Kosciusko Trustees are aware of this.
The rest of the Journal - 39 pages - s devoted to “The Tragic Story of National Park” by David G. Stead, who was an Honorary Member of the [illegible]. This it a harrowing account contrasting pious “confessions of faith” by the Park Trust with actions in direct contradiction. The chronicle of despoliation is full of useful data, but I feel that the emphasis is misplaced in two directions. Firstly I think that the main fault of the Trust is one of omission. The Trust has taken no effective steps to control fires. If a fraction of the money spent on “development” and road work had been used to install an efficient fire control service the park would not today be such a sorry waste of scribbly dead limbs and “feather-duster” trees. One fire does more damage to the flora and fauna than 50 years of “development”. I was flattered to find that Mr. Stead had used a cutting I made from the S.M.H. as his main line of argument, but at the same time I feel convinced that the disappearance of so much of the park's flora and fauna, for which he blames the actions of the Trust, is really due to its lack of action regarding fires. In the second place I think he fails to appreciate that the park is there to be enjoyed by the people: and, since it is on the edge of a city of nearly l 1/2 million people it must cater for thousands of visitors weekly. Roads are necessary for the majority and cleared picnic grounds and other amenities a necessity. Unless we are to be voices crying, literally, in the wilderness, we must take account of these facts. It is also a pity that Mr. Stead does not carry the argument to a conclusion as regards what action conservationists should take. Should they ask, for example, that trustees be appointed to represent them? Should they petition for a new Parliamentary Charter? Should they just go on protesting, as they have for the last 50 years? These and other possible lines of action require careful consideration before any effective action can be taken. The matters I have raised, however, are secondary to what I interpret as his main thesis - that what the Trust should provide is not sporting facilities, or cleared recreation areas, but bushland in its natural state. With this I agree wholeheartedly.
The Journal is obtainable from the Wild Life Preservation Society, Science House, Gloucester Street, Sydney, for 1/3 plus postage.
Peggy Bransdon claims a near record for an official walk, on which she had thirteen members and two prospectives! No, No! – it's not the numbers that tickles us, but the fact that none of the members got lost.
It would seem, too, that one of the Club's Respectable Bachelors has a most convenient set-up, in that he was to co-tent with two of the Club's Loveliest Ladies (this is all from hearsay, and I can't guarantee verification on every point). However the competition was too keen – aren't some women fickle? (Or maybe men are cads?).
What Has Paddy Got Now?
Paddy is pleased to report that things are gradually improving.
Here's how things stand.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first.
Steel Frame Rucksacks. Owing to the shipping position, steel tubing which was due to arrive months ago is still on the wharf at Adelaide. Hence no steel frames.
Rucksacks Without Frames. All stock patterns available in a good range of colours.
Groundsheets and Cape Groundsheets. Good stock on hand.
Tents. All stock patterns available.
Military Maps. All published l” = 1 mile maps from N.S.W. constantly on hand. A set is available for inspection.
Prismatic Compasses. (reconditioned). Price £2/-/-, leather cases 5/-.
Knife Fork and Spoon Sets. Lighter, brighter and better than ever. English make 6/-. (a useful Xmas gift).
Housewives. Light and compact. Wools, thread, needles, buttons and thimble. Price 6d.
Stop Press. (What's cooking?)
Aluminium squat type billies now on sale.
1 1/2 pint 4/6.
2 1/2 pint 5/6.
3 pint 7/3.
4 Pint 8/3.
8” fry Pans. 4/9.
Mosquito and sand fly repellent.
1/9 per 4 oz. bottle.
Paddy Pallin. Camp Gear For Walkers. Phone B3101.
327 George Street, Sydney.