Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
No. 172. March, 1949. Price 6d. Subscriptions Apr., 1949 to Jan. 1950 4/2.
|Editor||Alex Colley, 55 Kirribilli Ave, Milson's Point|
|Production and Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Production Asst||Bill Gillam|
|Sales and Subs||Helen Brooks|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey and Grace Jolley|
|Map traced by||Jo Morris|
In This Issue:
|Editorial - The Annual Report||1|
|At Our February Meeting||3|
|Social Notes for March||4|
|Photographic Exhibition, 1949||5|
|Apsley - Tia - Yarrowitch||A.L. Wyborn||7|
|On the Road to Armidale||Max Gentle||9|
|What Every Young Mugger Should Know||Jim Brown||11|
|“Developing National Park||13|
|Official Anzac Week-end Walk||15|
|Swimming Carnival, 1949||16|
|Berry Taxi Service||6|
Editorial - The Annual Report.
To the casual reader one Annual Report is like another, but to the connoisseur each has its distinctive flavour and lingering aroma. The 1947 report was distinctly sour. It dealt mainly with the things that weren't done. The 1948 report had a fairly pleasant flavour, but lacked maturity. Much had been attempted, but not everything had been done. But the 1949 report is a banquet which stimulates the palate with a succession of courses bitter and sweet, hot and cold, smooth and rough; from soup to nuts.
The membership section provides the soup. It is rather tasteless and is offered without sauce or sippets. “Membership is slightly above pre-war and has proved adequate for Club Activities.” That settles that.
The library provides just one bite and leaves us wondering what happened to the rest.
The description of the progress of the magazine is like a Dale Carnegie success story. As we chew it over visions arise of the magazine staff working rythmically together to produce this popular publication at a bargain price.
The next course is entitled “Walking Activities”. As we read it the hairs on the back of our necks stiffen and we fight back the impulse to take the plate out on to the doormat. “Despite 21 years of concentrated walking,” we read, “the Club again displayed considerable virility in conception and execution of walks into new terrain”. Tough - mighty tough!
Now come the sweets. The local newspaper is describing the village picnic. In every paragraph large attendances have been enjoying themselves spontaneously in a most gratifying manner. Not only did we have the greatest celebration of all times on the occasion of our 21st birthday, but the Christmas party, the re-union, and the many other items on the social programme all went off with a swing. Even the Instructional Walks, which were planned primarily for instruction, were the occasion of a “kind of unofficial re-union”. Life for the S.B.W. seems to have been just one “do” after another, at which a good time was had by all. Nor is this an exaggeration. It was and we liked it.
The next course is brief but tasty. “The photographic exhibition was one of the best for many years… some of the exhibitions would have done credit to any open photographic exhibition”.
After this the flavours are a little flat. There was not enough support for the photographic section. The trees planted at Era nearly all died. Yes, we have had just about enough. Conservation is heavy going - full of fatty indigestible words. And when we read that our delegates to the Federation “have opposed the use of fire-arms by members of affiliated Clubs”, and the practice of “bushcraft” and have urged the “responsibility of Clubs for the actions of their members”, we think back to the great dais of Garrawarra and are full right up to the neck.
But after a little rest we find that we still have room for the fruit and nuts in the form of the Secretary's concluding remarks and the President's addendum.
Now are we resigned to Dr. Hardie's medicine. Nasty potions must atone for succulent feasts. We turn the page and our apprehensions rise. We spent £72 on social activities and it must have come from somewhere. But what is this? - “Excess of income over expenditure £11!” No medicine but soothing syrup! So sturdily has our Treasurer defended the Club coffers from the depredations of the frivolous that we end our year of revels with a profit.
And so with light hearts we proceed to the Annual General Meeting to select the cooks who will serve up the repast in 1950.
At Our February Meeting.
Reported by Jim Brown, Ast. Hon. Sec.
Perhaps the fact that the February meeting was held at the end of the most ennervating week of heat in Sydney's recent history accounted for the torpor in which the meeting commenced. By the same token, perhaps the southerly wind which began to blow part way through the meeting inspired the eager note on which it concluded.
The President was in the chair, and about 60 lethargic members present at the opening. Three new members, Misses Audrey (Billy) Davis, Wilma Turner and Dorothy Jurd, were welcomed.
Dormie announced that recent changes in the City of Blue Mountains Council had undone much of the good conservation work, and the new members of the Council would have to be educated, but in company with the Parks and Playgrounds Movement, the work was going on.
Edna Stretton's Social Report earned a desultory round of applause for its brevity - the meeting seemed in a humour for getting the whole thing over. It was announced that the three best exhibits at the next Photographic display would be reproduced in the Club Magazine by a newly discovered process. The audience laughed with good natured tolerance, almost disbelievingly.
It could not laugh off Bill Henley's announcement that he was presenting a cup for the Swimming Carnival, for he produced a handsome trophy in the metal. It was to be competed for on points, and to be held by any champion who qualified two years out of three for the prize. In the meantime, the annual winner would be named on the plinth.
It was stated that a new trustee for Blue Gum would be elected at the Annual General Meeting and nominations should be kept in mind.
This brought us to the southerly gale and the matter of the Annual Re-union. These must have co-incided for now the meeting became alive. The locations suggested were Euroka (damned by Alan Hardie, who thought a re-union there would develop into a search and rescue week-end), Era - no wood and maybe no water, Macquarie Fields (eventually chosen by vote), and Menangle, which received many votes despite the almost complete absence of suitable transport in - and more particularly out.
But it was mention of the damper contest which drew the crabs. Kevin Ardill complained that the judges last year ate the lemon peel from his damper, and was told there should be no peel in dampers anyway. This brought the question, “What are the terms of reference?”, and it was decided that there would be two damper contests, one plain, one fancy; the plain one, following Miriam Steenbhom's professional description, was to contain only flour (S.R. flour was OK'd), water and salt - no eggs, fruit, etc. “Take a swab!” urged someone. Competitors were reminded to bring their own flour.
Gil Webb wanted to know whether it was to be a real damper “with ashes next to its skin” or that insipid, emasculated product of the metal age “a powder cake”. The judges refused to eat their peck of dirt or more, and voted that the despised “powder cake” was in order, but it must be cooked in the ashes of the re-union fire.
Dormie now rose to another vital matter, and advanced a triple-barreled motion, which (summarised) was that we urge the Federation to write the Minister for Tourist Activities asking (1) that defacement or damage to huts in scenic and similar reserves be made a punishable offence (2) that visitors' books be placed in such huts, (3) that the responsibility for tending Seaman's Hut be defined. After debate, in which Claude Haines thought that these huts were primarily designed for skiers, and Dormie said he wasn't going to freeze just because the hut wasn't specifically made for him, motions 1 and 3 were carried and motion 2 lost.
Colin Lloyd mentioned that the proximity of Seaman's Hut to the road exposed it to much damage during summer, and thought that the authorities didn't worry greatly until winter approached, but generally put the place in fair condition then. Ruby Payne-Scott suggested a few kamikaze walkers, so that memorial huts might be built in desired places.
It was decided that information regarding dedicated land at Blackheath, and its possible transfer to private ownership, should be passed on to the Parks and Playgrounds Movement. Also, that a reminder be sent to the Minister for Lands regarding timber cutting in the Mark Morton Reserve.
After announcement that the late Photo Section was going to rise Phoenix-like as a Federation-wide activity, the meeting closed in moderating climatic conditions at 9.25 p.m.
Social Notes for March.
Some documentary films, by courtesy W.E.A., will be shown on 18th March. The reels will be carefully selected and are bound to be of interest to Bushwalkers.
Mr. Walter Gruse has some interesting slides to show us on 25th March. His topic - “Kosciusko and Burragorang”.
The lecture set down for 29th April has now been arranged. Mr. Alan Strom will give a talk “Geology and the Bushwalker”
- Edna Stretton, Social Secretary.
The Committee has already appointed a committee, consisting of Ray Kirkby, Phil Hall and Jack Thorpe, with Roley Cotter as convenor, to arrange the photographic exhibition, which will be held on its traditional day - the last Friday in June. Photographers are reminded of this date because it takes some time to take, develop, print, enlarge and mount a suitable masterpiece. As announced at the February meeting, the Committee has voted funds to enable the first, second and third best photographs to be published in the magazine. A competent critic will be obtained, and all photographers will be able to benefit by al expert analysis of their exhibits. The suggested size of photographs, for those who can enlarge, is about 10” X 8“, but any size will be acceptable. In fact a panel of small photographs is often most interesting. Age of photographs is immaterial. There are some photographs of which we never tire.
So Laz - our Volga boatman of many a camp fire in the years that are fled - is no more. And the manner of his passing - alone in the snow near Cradle Mountain, with his pack beside him - was appropriate. He always did like solitude.
Thirty years ago he wandered round our now familiar mountain tracks with his chosen pal - an Airedale - also carrying its own neat tailored pack of dog biscuits. To me - this lone walker - the dog, and the two spotless tidy packs, seems the completest picture of Laz.
I first met him one cold crisp morning when day was very young, near Thirroul. I had walked up Bulli Pass to catch the sunup - and at the lookout I met four walkers, I think they had come from Appin. The face of one was very familiar to me - for a long time I had seen him at many a city hall where the best of music was to be heard. It was Laz. This was about 1918-19. I still have a snap of them perched on the top fence rail with the ocean behind.
The life of Laz reads like another Steinbeck book. Born in the Caucasian part of Russia, life was a grim struggle for the Puras. By sheer necessity his mother was compelled to play foster mother to the higher ups, selling the milk nature intended for little Laz. By some means the family got to the greatest foster mother - London. Even there the struggle went on - our Laz toiling long hours in a basement making superlative clothes for the higher ups. Laz ran to a standstill and a doctor advised a new country - Canada or N.Z. In a coin toss style Laz picked N.Z., but, after a time - finding the people much too suburban - he came over here - with a little cash and a lot of skill. By sheer hard work he managed to bring the family overseas to share sunny Australia. The vices and follies of mankind snared none of his cash or time - his life lay in his craftmanship, superb clothing for the inescapable higher ups. This brand, however, paid well and cheerfully and Laz was able to clothe himself with comforts and refinements that would have seemed dream stuff in old Russia.
Most of his life he was tossed between two fears - (or bayonets) one - that the Pretty Things would pass him by - the other - much bigger and sharper - that one - and just one - would pounce on him and by a stroke of the pen and a spot of gold - prison him body and soul for life.
We once had a heavenly ten days at Kossy - according to Laz the apex of his life - and this female subject was much discussed. I used to tease him unmercifully with visions of a married Laz with lots of small editions - and be it known many a wistful expression betrayed him.
I shall miss him greatly and for long. Politically we were poles apart but in all else we clicked as one.
We had a long conversation just before he left. I tried my best to dissuade him from air travel, he would not agree, but said: “Well, I'm very grateful to you for trying to stop me, for it looks like there is someone who would like to see old Laz keep on living”.
How little we knew!
Berry Taxi Service.
Cars meet all trains at Berry. 6-passenger car service can be arranged to Woodhill, Cambewarra and Berry Mountains.
Reasonable charges. Phone Berry 10 for bookings. 24 hour service.
Proprietors - Lee and Bissett. Queen Street, Berry.
Apsley - Tia - Yarrowitch.
By A.L. Wyborn.
(For location of main points of interest see Max Gentle's map on Page 9.)
The Oxley Highway runs inland from Wauchope on the North Coast past Walcha and Tamworth. The first portion follows the Hastings River closely through very fertile country, in fact the Upper Hastings National Forest contains perhaps the most magnificent reserve of timber in Australia. After leaving the Hastings the highway gradually ascends to plateau like country over 3,000 feet high, which is rent by very deep gorges.
It was to this region that the “Anniversary Official” was making in a very slow bus from Wauchope on the Saturday morning. After going 95 miles in five and a half hours we thankfully left the bus at Apsley Falls turnoff, with a rousing farewell from all the other passengers, Some of whom had to sit out another hundred miles of journey.
The leader, Alan Hardie, knew what to expect, but Clem Hallstrom and myself were amazed at the sheer gorge into which the Apsley Falls dropped at least 700 feet. Above the falls the river flowed placidly through a gentle colourful vale, then suddenly toppled over into this huge chasm, which gave no indication of its presence from only a few yards away. The volcanic walls went down into ominously dark pools, which wound their way through narrow walls. Steps and ladder's to the bottom have long since fallen into disrepair, and would now be dangerous, and this was as well for us as we had little time, and must push on.
Our route lay roughly east between the Apsley Gorge to the North, and the Oxley Highway. There were no tracks but the open country made easy going as we crossed Rocky, Tiara and Bullock Creeks, then Green Gully, to camp on Stockyard Creek just as darkness descended. Several times on the way across we came on a huge brown old man 'roo over seven feet high, accompanied by light grey kangaroos.
The camp turned out to be the last water before Tia Falls, and was on the tops close to the junction of the Apsley and Tia Gorges. Having covered eight miles in hot weather, after travelling by train all the previous night, we were soon abed, but rose next morning before daybreak. Looking over into the Apsley Gorge early in the morning, I was reminded of the drop from Kanangra Walls, with similar rock formations to the Spires and the wooded slopes below. I wondered if anyone had ever climbed into the gorge back at Apsley Falls and followed it through to the Macleay River. It would be a long and dangerous feat with very little chance of climbing out anywhere - in country far worse than the Morong Deeps and about fifteen times as long; and then it would include that mysterious “Apsley River Gorge” shown on the North Eastern Tourist Map about thirty miles downstream from where we stood. Surely that gorge could not be as spectacular as the part of the Apsley near the falls, which is not even mentioned on the map.
Leaving camp we soon came to the western side of the Tia Gorge, which, although as deep as the Apsley has accessible heavily timbered sides. We were following the edge south to Tia Falls, when I almost trod on a large black snake, which, being poised to strike, caused me to beat a hasty retreat. However C1em came from the rear with a loud whoop and dispatched it with a lucky hit from a dead stick. Soon the falls came into view up in the corner of the gorge, and this method of approach proved to be a good one, as we had increasingly close vistas of the falls, which cascade down through a narrow cleft in the rook walls to a large pool below. Above the falls we found a delightfully cool rock pool where we disported for some time, always being careful not to risk being sucked over the edge by the strong flow. Then on again along the opposite side of the Tia Gorge as we had much ground to cover if we wanted to reach Yarrowitch Falls that night. Heading N.E. just after lunch we reached the top of Mt. Trinidad, one of the highest points around, from which we had a very good cycloramic view of the plateau country. Fifty miles to the north was Point Lookout in the New England National Park. Further east was Anderson's Sugarloaf and the lonely Mt. Banda Banda at 4,200 feet. From the top we checked our next direction, and started off for the Yarrowitch River.
Peter's Creek was negotiated and a track on the opposite side ridge was followed north toward the junction of Peter's Creek and Deep Creek. This went for at least a mile and a half before reaching a practical way to the bottom of Deep Creek, about 1,000 feet below. Just before going down the track became very steep and winding near where an old mine was reputed to be, and a signboard wittily declared “slow down to 30, curves!”
From here we caught a glimpse of Garibaldi Rock protruding from the side of Deep Creek a few miles downstream, a remarkable square pyramid of basalt. Standing on the ridge between the two creeks, we noticed how thickly wooded was the narrow Peter's Creek valley, in contrast with the relatively bare sides of the wide Deep Creek. One particular patch of trees was literally festooned with vivid orange mistletoe, gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight.
The bottom of Deep Creek was reached after a steep descent, to find the water in stagnant pools, and overall a hot oppressive stillness. Those things made us only too anxious to press on, even though we faced a 1,000 feet climb and a further four miles of walking. At 7.30 p.m. we made camp about 1/4 mile above the Yarrowitch Falls, right on darkness again, having covered 22 miles in hot January weather.
We went round on the ridge opposite the falls early next morning to appreciate the fine setting of the twin cascades, dropping an estimated 600 feet into a large amphitheatre. Above the falls the placid river meandered through light green grassy paddocks, and dark green coppices of eucalypts, and was edged with laden blackberry bushes, their roots deep in the water.
It was six miles of dreary road bashing then in the hot sun, back to the Oxley Highway, there to wait one and a half hours under a mailbox for the charabanc back to the coast. The less said about this part of the trip the better, as the charabanc was crowded and the journey was slow. Children were everywhere; Clem and I shared one sturdy lad on our knees for most of the way, and I sat on a case of peaches - so enjoyable!
On arrival at Wauchope Station we found we had time on our hands, so continued twelve miles in the conveyance to have a hasty look at Port Macquarie township. I was not very impressed, as everything was on the holiday resort commercialised style, and the surroundings were very flat. As I gazed on the large number of auto tents huddled on the black soil behind the breakwater, I thought of other camp spots, pleasant and quiet, above the Apsley, Tia and Yarrowitch Falls.
On The Road To Armidale.
By Max Gentle.
Sunlight, mountains, a road, a bicycle, a restful countryside, forest clad hills, rich meadows - what more could any man want? Such was my plan for a Xmas cycling tour - on the road to Armidale.
Beyond Singleton, I peddled through pouring rain to Muswellbrook which slowed me considerably. Next day, when crossing the Liverpool Range, the aforementioned sunlight appeared, to reveal a fine panorama, looking eastward over the Mount Royal Range and Barrington Tops.
I had a feeling of satisfaction at having defeated the elements, and was able to appreciate the next stage of the journey through rich meadows, between forest clad hills, then the willow lined Peel River at Tamworth, the boulder strewn ridges of Moonbi Range and the willow lined river at Bendemeer.
I left the New England Highway at Bendemeer, and followed the Oxley Highway eastward to Walcha Road Railway Station, and then crossed the Main Dividing Range at an altitude of 4,000 feet.
A number of tableland streams were to be seen, winding through grazing properties on their way eastward, to form the Apsley River. They are said to be stocked with trout. Twelve miles east of Walcha town, the Apsley Gorge appears with frightening suddenness. The actual height of the waterfall was disappointing, but it holds historic interest, having been seen by explorer Oxley, in 1818.
A few miles further on I made a side trip to view the Tia Falls in a very rugged setting, and to admire the swimming pool under the cascades at the top.
Further east, the highway crosses a range of hills on to the watershed of the Hastings, there the coastal and easterly influence is at once apparent. Here the forest timbers are intermingled with a rich growth of tree ferns.
Grand mountain scenery unfolds while descending to the Hastings River, and beyond Mt. Seaview the road follows the southern bank of the river down to Wauchope.
I followed the coast road north over the Macleay River at Kempsey, and just beyond there obtained a striking view of Mt. Banda Banda to the southwest.
After passing through dairying and tomato growing land along Warrel Creek, the popular tourist resort at Nambucca Heads was reached. A full day at the surf was found quite enjoyable there, the water being much warmer than at Era the previous week.
The next morning I swam at the Bellingen mouth at Urunga, then followed that river upstream to Thora, its fresh water pools providing some excellent swimming as a change from the surf.
The road up Dorrigo Mountain is characterised by magnificent mountain scenery, and maybe its main attraction is where it passes under Newell waterfall. The dairying and potato growing land of Dorrigo plateau later gave way to forest clad hills, as the road climbed to Ebor.
Beyond Ebor Falls, there is something about the look of the forest which indicates a high altitude above sea level. The trees are mainly of those Eucalyptus species, popularly known as the “Messmate” and “Blackbutt” of New England. It is not surprising to read on a signboard there - “The Snowy Range - 5,000 feet”. As this point was the highest reached on the tour, the downgrades beyond were much appreciated. Presently, a side road turned off to Point Lookout, 9 miles away.
The road to Armidale brought me to the village and store at Wollomombi. The Wollomombi Falls, 28 miles from Armidale, make a sheer plunge of 1,100 feet, and then surge down a steep slope into a great ravine, from whose floor rises a rock of immense size - it is said to be 600 feet high. Two rivers meet below the falls, their combined waters plunging down a chasm, whose sheer cliffs exceed 1,600 feet in height.
From Wollomombi, I peddled along the road to Armidale, to complete a 530 miles tour in 10 days.
What Every Young Mugger Should Know.
By Jim Brown.
Sometimes I wish I could have been a walker in those far-off days when a bushwalker was a curiosity and his gear a miscellany of oddments of his own devising. For there's no doubt about it, standardisation is infiltrating into perhaps the most individualistic sport in the world, so that anything other than a Paddymade pack, sleeping bag, tent and groundsheet approaches rank heresy.
So it's a good thing that walkers have not become entirely uniform; it's well that we still dress in various degrees of disreputability, that we still have different schools of thought about billy hooks and blackfellow's fires, that we have frame pack enthusiasts and supporters of the filletted rucsac; sneaker addicts and confirmed beetlecrushers: not to mention big muggers and little muggers. Or rather, I must mention them, for this is mostly about them.
Early in his/her career the prospective must make up his/her hind. The decision need not be irrevocable, so it isn't necessary to lose sleep over the issue, but if you are one of those impossible people who determine something and stick resolutely to it fair or foul, then you should consider this parting of the ways, this crossroads in your walking career. For, understand! there is no mean. You are either a big mugger or a little mugger. You may be a large big mugger or a small little mugger, but you can't be a medium mugger. Why? Because nobody makes medium mugs. Either you get your pint or something like a gill.
Now let us suppose you are a light drinker and decide to be a little mugger. At your first halt you proudly produce your natty, Persil-washed, little pannikin, to find it surrounded by a motley collection of seedy-looking, unwashed, unlovely, chipped bath-tubs. At last you know what is meant by “everything except the kitchen sink”. the disprenser of the brew says, “I'm afraid you won't get your fair share”, and this absolves him from any attempt at equal division of the spoils. You get your small mug filled and you'll be very lucky to organise a return, or if you do, you collect some slightly diluted tannic acid, or the coffee grounds.
Occasionally of course you'll strike a fairminded brewer. Schollastic leanings prompt him [illegible] ion the drink equally. He will use your pannikin as a measure, look dismayed at the miserable swill on the deck of the big mugs and promptly top them up. Ah, yes - but he has used your little mug as a measure. Has he also used it as a dipper? Is it cocoa you are drinking? If so, you will have to wash the outside of your pannikin too. Tough on the little mugger, ain't it?
There one fairly sure way to discourage the use of your little mug as a ladle: place it in a prominent position on top of a deposit of cow dung (it is almost certain there will be some, especially if you are camped at Era.) But careful! Don't do this if it is night, for the brewer's eyes may be dimmed by smoke, and he may still use your pannikin.
How do I know all this? By bitter experience, my dears! I have in my time been a little mugger. It was not always so. In my earliest walking days I carried a military monstrosity of metal which swallowed 1 1/2 pints without effort. This forsook when about to do a very tough trip, acquiring instead an absurd little thimble of aluminium. Don't let them do this to you! The aluminium burns your lips and fingers. The only way of al1eviating the position is to put some sticking plaster around the rim and handle. Use three different strips on the rim, and mark them “coffee”, “tea” and “Cocoa” and then wait for someone to make soup. By drinking, say, coffee over the cocoa strip and so on, you can add infinite variety to your drinks. By the way, I am now a reformed character with a normal big mug. I say again, WITH a big mug.
Of course, you can go super lightweight and take no mug at all, drinking out of a plate or billy, but if you are a fastidious type who doesn't approve of oddments of spud or custard in the tea, you must wash your improvised pannikin between course, and washing up before tea is most distressing. Or should I say, washing up is distressing, full stop?
Just lately we had a non-walker away with us one weekend. When the brew was ready for pouring, I pointed a finger at her and said laconically, “Pannikin”. It took some little time before she realised I wanted her “cup”. I have since been thankful that I didn't simply gesture towards her and say “mug”. People have been dragged before the courts for that.
Well, thank you for your tolerance if you have tolerated me so far. All I really want to say is the little mugger is a silly mugger. Thank you.
Very good news comes from our Parks and Playgrounds Movement delegate, Mrs. Hilda Stoddart. The Minister for Lands has approved of action being taken to reserve an area of 970 acres on the Peninsula for public recreation. In addition the Minister for Lands has approached the Minister for Conservation with a view to appropriate action being taken to prevent any further erosion or the area. It is the first instance we know where official action has been contemplated to stop erosion on a public reserve.
The campaign for the reservation of this area has been going for 30 years.
Narrow Necks and Ruined Castle:
In a letter read before the last meeting Marie Byles reported that both the City of Blue Mountains and the Parks and Playgrounds Movement had written to the Lands Department about shouldering half the cost of the two freehold portions on the Narrow Necks which were recently sold: no reply had been received. The Parks and Playgrounds Movement had written to both the City of Blue Mountains and the Lands Department about resuming the surface only of the Mining Conditional Lease portions, but so far no answer had been obtained. The Director of Tourist and Immigration Activities was interviewed and expressed himself wholeheartedly behind keeping the area in its natural state, and promised to write to the Lands Department about this, and about the resumption. The Federation had written to the Lands Department and the City of Blue Mountains about keeping the area roadless, but the City Council refused to commit itself, saying that it might want to put a scenic road on Narrow Necks one day. The portions marked “classification area” were within the jurisdiction of the Warragamba Catchment area, and the Water Board did not wish to have them converted to recreational areas, but stated that it did not expect to use them otherwise than for recreational purposes.
Marie would be pleased to have some good prints of photos of the Narrow Necks so that she could write an article for the “Katoomba Echo”.
"Developing" National Park.
The Sutherland Shire Council has unanimously nominated Councillor Harper as a Trustee of the National Park. In an article in “The Sentinel” newspaper of January 20th Councillor Harper said that the nomination might enable him to “help along some overdue improvements in the interests of all concerned, and to the advantage of the Sutherland Shire, which controls a number of settlements whose destiny is closely interwoven with the development of National Park. The inhabitants of these communities are just as concerned as outside nature lovers with protecting and caring for the natural flora and fauna, and are already doing much to protect it from bushfires and vandalism.” Further on he says that “in the ease of access roads, the Trust has not shown any sympathy to the advantage of opening up the Park for vehicle traffic, but on the contrary, has been influenced against such a move by bushwalkers, hikers etc. who are at the most a very limited section of the general public. It is on good grounds that we contend that hikers are responsible for recent bushfires and they have a habit of leaving camping refuse, tins etc. scattered around in a most untidy manner.
On January 24th Allen Strom replied with a letter as follows:
“Sir: I read with considerable anxiety the remarks made by Clr. Harper on his nomination to the National Park Trust, and published by you on January 20.
Clr. Harper shows a lack of knowledge on matters concerning the National Park, and this is particularly disturbing when he is to take his place in the administration of that National Reserve. In the first paragraph of his statement he speaks of “overdue improvements”; may I remind him that this area was “dedicated forever as a National Park” so that “the primeval forests will rema1n untouched” and that the history of past Trusts has not been glorified by either an understanding of the term “National Park” nor such action as would show a capacity for conservation, preservation or biological appreciation of the primitive natural resources. “Improvements” have always in the past meant desecration and after a review of the personnel of the Trust, one does not look forward to an enlightened policy in the future. The Wild Life Preservation Society of Austra1ia (founded in 1909) has consistently pursued a policy over the years designed to retain this area for the delectation and edification of future generations - it must not be used for the “carnival” recreation of a single generation. It would appear that the “inhabitants of these communities” referred to by Clr. Harper are but new adventurers in the field and to state that they are concerned about protecting flora and fauna bears little strength should the Councillor care to visit the Park in the vicinity of Engadine and Heathcote where rubbish is being dumped, standing trees removed, water removed from creeks, dogs sported against native animals and playing fields opened where once stood the best Waratahs and Woody Pears. Furthermore, the same Shire Council has murmured about taking gravel. Is this protecting flora and fauna?
Clr. Harper laments the lack of access roads and attributes it to the influence brought to bear by bushwalkers and hikers. This does flatter the bushwalkers and hikers, but access roads have brought their score of damage to Nature's creations. There are a few of us who remember the primeval beauty of many spots before the hordes of motorists brought their cans and bottles that Clr. Harper blames onto the walkers. The real haunts of the walkers (and they are precious little now) are still free from the litter suggested in the article. May I suggest that Clr. Harper has not seen these and that his opinion is clouded by a desire to point his moral for “a very limited section of the general public”? Not all walkers are blameless any more than the people that Clr. Harper represents. But at least the walkers' efforts to keep the Park primitive are motivated by a desire to keep the bush as they know it for their children and their children's children for they know that before many years have elapsed they too, must stow their rucksack and their heavy boots with the other relics of a vigorous youth; and furthermore, they do not regret this sacrifice if it means a living contact with the true Australia.
It would be good to know what are the “good grounds” on which Clr. Harper levels the blame for recent bushfires on “hikers”. The 1948 report of the Federation of Bushwalking Clubs has this to say about fires in the National Park - “An offer by Federation to supply fire-watching teams during week-ends in “bush fire weather” at a time when the Trust was short of manpower was not even acknowledged by the Trust.” It has further been my experience in fifteen years of bushwalking that fires commence from picnic areas and hence Clr. Harper's hikers are people of little worth anyhow.
It is to be regretted Sir, that nowhere in Clr. Harper's statements do we find the breadth of vision that his new tasks will demand; he is throughout limited by the “small town” policy too often seen in public affairs. Despite prolonged agitation the Government has still not seen fit to appoint in equal proportions (at least) individuals with scientific training to do a scientific task such as this National Park Trust demands.
Allen A. Strom.
Hon. Sec. Wild Life Preservation Society of Australia. Member of The Sydney Bush Walkers.”
In N.S.W. representations for the appointment of a bushwalker representative on the National Park have met with no success. Contrast this with Tasmania. It is reported in the “Tasmanian Tramp” of October, 1948, that “The work which the Club has done since its inception, to foster interest in our National Parks has been recognised by its being given representation on the Mount Field and Cradle Mountain-Lake St.Clair National Park Boards”.
Official Anzac Day Weekend Walk 22nd to 25th April 1949.
Katoomba - Clear Hill - Splendour Rock (Memorial) Cox River - Breakfast Creek - Carlons' - Devil's Hole - Katoomba.
This walk has been put on the programme so that those with sentimental thoughts about the homage due to the Fallen on the day of the year set apart for that purpose, may without any qualms of conscience pay their respects and at the same time enjoy the weekend in bushwalking through this most picturesque section of the Cox River terrain. This is not a test but prospectives are welcome. It will be a good opportunity for them to get to know some of the key routes through the mountains.
Camp on the Friday night will be at Corral Swamp.
A. Hardie. Leader.
Swimming Carnival 1949.
The bad luck which has dogged our Swimming Carnivals over the last few years overtook us again at Sandy Bend this year.
There was a good roll up, about 50-60 and there was plenty of song at the Camp fire on Saturday night. Sunday morning was cloudy and by 10 O'clock the rain had started. The carnival got under way all right and despite the rain the competitors were enjoying themselves. But it was too cold for the full programme to be run.
Here are the results:-
1st. Bert Whillier.
2nd. Claude Haynes.
3rd. Roy Bruggy.
1st. Vera Matasin.
2nd. Gwen Jewell.
3rd. Mary Macdonald.
Ladies Breast Stroke.
1st. Vera Matasin.
2nd. Mary Macdonald.
3rd. Gwen Jewell.
Mens Breast Stroke.
1st. David Roots.
2nd. Don Read.
3rd. Claude Haynes.
1st. Gwen Jewell - Eric Pegram.
2nd. Vera Matasin - Don Read.
3rd. Claude Haynes - Mary Macdonald.
Underwater Swim - Men.
1st. Eric Pegram.
2nd. Frank Young.
3rd. Don Read.
Underwater Swim - Ladies.
1st. Gwen Jewell.
1st. Gwen Jewell - Kevin Ardill.
2nd. Vera Matasin - Frank Young.
3rd. Margaret Stoddart - Eric Pegram.
Points score for the Henley Cup.
1st. Gwen Jewell. 7 1/2 points.
2nd. Vera Matasin. 7 points.
3rd. Eric Pegram. 6 1/2 points.
Dorothy Vincent is off to New Zealand, answering a written appeal from Ron Knightley to come and share mountains and other troubles. They will be married shortly after Dorothy's arrival there.
A certain person, who is not a member, is mainly responsible for the absence from club activities of new member Bill Hancock. Margaret Mulholland is the attraction and their engagement has been announced.
Is there any connection between the report of Social Expenditure of £72. for the year and the ultra smart sophisticated appearance of our Social Secretary. Did you notice the Treasurer giving her an “old fashioned” look.
“Reception at Sandy Bend”. Well, not quite, but the guests from the Keith Lambkin - Christine Johnson wedding were at the swimming carnival you know.
One of the trains on Saturday carrying steady reliables to the swimming carnival was the one chosen by Billy Taplin and court for a trip to Bushwalkers Basin. With the “reliables” was Phil Hall and we were wondering whether he is thinking of applying for the position of reigning favourite or court Jester at the above mentioned court as he is working assiduously on his record, on which, by the way anyone can have a blow.
John Freeman and Elaine Marsh (prospectives) and two others, set off for the carnival on Friday night. They arrived at the top of the hill above Sandy Bend that night and camped. Next morning they asked the woman who lives in the house there, where was Sandy Bend. She directed upstream. They went for five miles (they report) before they “woke up”. Well, we've made some early starts ourselves but never have we walked five miles before waking up - either to the leader, or ourselves.
There should be no chance of any member of the S.B.W. losing his way at Kosciusko after the fine array of coloured slides presented by Roley Cotter, Jack Thorpe and Doug. Johnson at the slide night and by Bob Savage at his lecture “Kosciusko in Summer & Winter” on Friday 25th Feb. Bob was able to give us the low down on both the history and architecture of the snow country buildings. Both nights were well attended by S.B.W's who never tire of good colour slides,
State Cabinet recently approved the expenditure of £185,000,000 on the Snowy River Development scheme. Wouldn't it be a good idea to start by spending just a million or two in protecting the eroding catchment area from fire and over-grazing?
News has just reached us that John Harvey, a member of many a years standing, passed away last week. To the Harvey family, his wife Dora, sons David and John and daughter Judy we extend our deepest sympathy.
John was a true lover of the bushlands and spent all his holidays camping with the family. Though he was not often seen in the club in recent years, the many members who enjoyed his unassuming friendship will feel his loss very intimately.