Table of Contents
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
No. 181 DECEMBER, 1949 Price 6d.
|Alex Colley, 55 Kirribilli Ave., Milson's Point
|Sales and Subs
|Production and Business Manager
|Editorial - The Bush Fires Act 1949
|At Our November Meeting
|Children's Annual Christmas Treat
|A Trip to the Valentine Falls, by Claude Haynes
|Photographs illustrating Newnes-Mt. Uraterer-Capertee Mt. Trip, by Ira Butler
|The Bushwalkers' Song, by Peter Dent and Warwick Jones
|Federation Notes, by Brian G. Harvey
|New Railway Timetable - notified by the Keeper of Timetables
|Who'd Be Father Christmas? - Paddy's Advt.
Editorial - The Bush Fires Act 1949
The Bill for this Act has now been debated by both Houses and will probably become law shortly. It is, of course, too late for our opinions to count now, but some members may be interested to know how the Bill affects bushwalkers.
The main provision which affects them is that “any person who leaves whether temporarily or otherwise any fire which he has lit or used in the open air before the same is thoroughly extinguished” is guilty of an offence. If, however, the fire has been lit for the purpose of cooking, heating or preparing meals or boiling water or for any like purpose, he need not put it out if it continues to be used by someone else.
If the Minister is of the opinion that it is necessary or expedient in the public interest he may direct that the lighting of any fire, or class of fire, in the open air, is prohibited, and that special conditions must be observed by persons lighting fires. This is similar to present provisions. The penalty for infringement of any of these provisions is £100 or twelve months imprisonment for the first offence, and £200 or two years for subsequent offences.
In company with a great number of other people who are out of touch with newspapers, gazettes, wireless etc. bushwalkers will, with the best will in the world, frequently be law breakers, because they will have no means of knowing when the Minister has banned fires. Nor is it beyond the bounds of possibility that some with packs full of dried vegetables, wholemeal porridge etc., will prefer to risk the wrath of the law rather than suffer hunger or acute indigestion. Such difficulties might have been pointed out before the bill was passed, had anyone been interested.
The chance, however, of a bushwalker being caught with his camp fire, is almost nil. Only conscience and common sense will prevent bushwalkers, boundary riders, stockmen, timber-getters, and many others whose work or pleasure takes them beyond the network of communications, from lighting dangerous fires. Laws have not prevented the destruction of wildflowers and the killing of native animals, nor will they prevent bushfires. This is not to decry the value of large penalties. If a fire starts on somebody's property and they take no steps to prevent it, a conviction might result. Picnickers too will run a risk if they light a fire, because, though the police seldom get into the bush except when looking for lost hikers or nude bathers, they do travel along roads.
Another provision of the bill is that a fund is to be set up for financing of bush fire brigades. Money may be allotted to trustees of supervised parks. So it appears that the next move for the establishment of effective fire control in our parks may lie with the Trustees. If they can put up a convincing case they may get enough to establish an efficient fire control organisation.
Crown lands have been left as a sort of “no-man's land”. They are not rateable and there can he little doubt that large areas of our best scenic country will continue to be burnt out regularly as soon as there is sufficient foliage to burn. It was some satisfaction to find that this point was several times raised in the debates.
Bushwalkers who are interested in conservation should be pleased that such a Bill could be passed virtually without opposition and with speakers vying with each other in their concern about fire damage. At the same time the Bill carries a solemn warning for us. It might presage even more stringent prohibitions in the future. Already a person with a pack, a box of matches and perhaps smoking requisites too, is a worry to farmers, foresters and others. Such a person may come to be regarded as a menace. He may be forbidden to light fires at all S.B.W members might avoid this fate by doing the right thing themselves and choosing their company with discretion.
At Our November Meeting
Reported by Jim Brown.
The meeting was attended by about 40 members, and with no new members to welcome, we plunged into business immediately.
After confirming minutes, the problem of the Ski Sub-Committee arose:it was an unwanted child, without even a sponsor from its own ranks - and perished miserably and unlamented.
The President announced that the pre-war policy of inviting members of other clubs on our walks had been resumed: three walks had been selected on the current programme, and letters sent to the St.George Walkers, the Rover Ramblers and the Wanderers, inviting their members to attend.
A further announcement dealt with the presence of visitors at the Club's monthly business meeting: in future, visitors would be permitted to attend only at the discretion of the Committee. At the same time the President reminded the meeting that full members only may vote in Club affairs.
From the Federation Report we found that the S.U Bushwalkers had requested a change of date for the Annual Reunion, and it was resolved that we had no objection so long as the alternative date selected did not clash with our mid-March Reunion. Also, following Federation Report, Paul Barnes pointed out that the new Federation regulation concerning admission of Clubs would need to be policed. It would be useless to keep a Club on the threshold of federation for several months unless some positive action was taken to determine if it (1) subscribed to Federation ethics (2) demanded a certain physical standard amongst members (3) gave instruction in map and compass work, first aid and search and rescue fundamentals. It was resolved our delegates press for a Sub-Committee within Federation to consider applicant clubs along these lines.
Came the juicy part of the meeting - the reading of the two remaining reports by Bill Gillam and Dennis Gittoes regarding the tour of inspection of the Bushcraft Association's camp on 23/8/49. Both reports resembled Allan Hardie's earlier statement and agreed that nothing objectionable had been noticed at the camp. The first speakers were inclined to be brief, and not very favourably impressed by the reports. Brian Harvey pointed out that the practices of Bushcraft acknowledged in Federation meetings indicated breaches of National Park By-Laws, and moved that 'the opinion of this meeting is that the reports on the Bushcraft Association do not affect our previous attitude“.
This evoked annoyed comment from the investigators, but support for the motion came from Flo. Allsworth, Herb. Morris and Allen Strom, who stressed the educational angle, and the adverse publicity for Federation arising from Bushcraft's unfortunate propaganda. Kath Brown referred to the magazine editorial of several months ago, suggesting that Bushcraft was not truly a “walking” club, but a camping club, and had little right to be in a bushwalking federation. It was not what little harm or good they did which mattered, but the fact that Bushcraft was associated with ourselves and other bushwalking clubs through Federation.
At this stage the gag was moved, and lost, and Bill Gillam and Gil Webb spoke for the reports and Bushcraft. Gil Webb thought we should review our own household first - it was common practice to make a bed out of cut bracken - was this less heinous than using grass for rope, or dead palm fronds for the roof of a bush hut? Some of our members had admitted that they had carried rifles in the bush.
Alex Colley rejoined that there was talk of live and let live, but was it necessary for all to live together? Paul Barnes responded to one of the investigator's claims that Bushcraft did not transgress Federation ideals by quoting the appropriate clause of the Constitution - “Conservation - to prevent the spoilation of the bush and to educate public opinion to appreciate these aims”. Brian Harvey's motion was adopted.
We were reminded by Rene Browne of the Kiddies Treat, to be held this year at Lilyvale, and was voted for a special conservation supplement of the magazine. At this stage exhausted by its efforts, the meeting gave the game away at about 9.30 p.m.
Children's Annual Christmas Treat
This function is to be held at Lilyvale on Sunday 15th. December this year. The first Children's Treat in 1929 was held at this spot and it was held here for many years afterwards.
I would suggest to any members who have not been to one of these outings that they come along and sample the pleasure of giving joy to the children. Also I would like to make an appeal to any who can do so to save or beg and donate any butter coupons they can, as the butter situation is rather hard. Also any old bathing costumes would be welcome and appreciated by both the helpers and the children. Finally, please come along and help - you'll love it! - Rene D. Browne
Snow Touring : A Trip to the Valentine Falls
By Claude Haynes.
We were at the Alpine Hut in late August, 1949. The Hut is situated towards the northern region of the Kosciusko area being at the foot of the Brassey Mountains, The Big Brassey is 6,450 feet.
The morning was fine and nice for ski touring. My companions were Jack Fraser (Snow Revellers) and Bill Kenyon (C.M.W.) and as we had done many ski trips together we were soon happily on our way to Fletcher's Tip and then on past the Brasseys and Penerith. Here the Main Range opens out and is not difficult touring.
After travelling west for about a mile and a half we then turned south. The day was still young and snow good. The run down to the Valentine was glorious. The hillside was heavily timbered with snow gums but Jack picked a good track and we were able to maintain speed while the timber made us really turn. Skis had to be removed to cross the swiftly running Valentine River. There had been recent rain and the snow was thawing early this year. The river was wide open. (A week later we had to ski two miles out of our way in order to find a crossing from the Alpine Hut to Mawson's Hut.) From here on we had periods of skiing and ski carrying, at times having to cross creeks which in normal years may be crossed on skis.
About 11 a.m, we arrived at a position facing the Ghost; here the snow ended and we descended on foot, then after a short walk through heavy scrub we rounded the foot of the Ghost and heard the roar of the waters. Suddenly we came upon a magniicent view. The Valentine River was cascading down for at least three-quarters of a mile through rocky boulders, on the northern side was a beautiful long sloping snow-covered ridge while on the other side of the river was a ridge of dead timber free of snow. In between these two ridges can be seen the Valentine River, Rocky Plain Creek and Greymare Creek. All around were multi-coloured shrubs, while the ground was littered with the yellow centres of last year's snow daisies which had kept their colour under the winter snow. Near at hand two robin redbreasts were gallivanting about and we speculated as to who was chasing who - while high above soared a giant eagle. This was good enough, but we had seen nothing yet. What about those falls?
There was a shout of joy and exhaltation when one of the party beheld the main falls. The drop is just under 300 feet. The heavy rain and the thawing snow provided a terrific force of water. Peeping over a big rock we watched the spray puff-puff high into the air, then looked at the long line of cascades that lead to the falls. Jack, who was once stationed near Barron Falls in North Queensland, mentioned that there the gorge is below the falls. I felt that we must be seeing the falls at their best or else Jack would not be making comparisons with such a celebrated landmark.
Near the foot of the falls is a clearing which looked an ideal spot for an overnight summer camp. Close by Greymare Creek and Rocky Plain Creek join together and then enter the Valentine River as one. The river then changes it name to become the Geehi.
Everywhere water was trickling down the hillside and firewood was plentiful - the billy was soon boiling and lunch was had at a spot just far enough away to be out of the spray from the falls. Well, we must be on our way, so cheerio Valentine Falls until the next time (which happened to be just one week later and our first impressions were more than confirmed).
We were happy on the journey home, all feeling that we had had a good day. I looked back and saw the sun setting in the west, held between a line of clouds and, the Greymare Range. Over in the east beyond the snow were the blue black hills while the northern sky was a beautiful pink.
At our last meeting £20 was voted for the production of a conservation supplement. Who will offer now to do any of the following :
Write articles on the history of the proposal for the Greater Blue Mountains National Park; the purpose of the park, how it would be planned and administered, why it is a suitable area for such a project, etc.?
Go to different parts of the area and take photographs of erosion and fire damage?
Submit old photographs of rivers which have since become silted, hillsides that have since become eroded, etc.?
Submit photographs illustrating the scenic beauty of the area?
Assist in typing and proof reading?
At the A.C. Cafe last Friday two of the Club's bachelors gave Gil Webb and Jean Mowbray the benefit of their observations on marriages they had known. It was not till the meal was practically over that they spotted Jean's engagement ring. We extend our hearty congratulations and would like to point out how lucky they are to be so well advised.
Photos illustrating Newnes-Mt.Uraterer-Capertee Mt. Trip.
Top row : Tyan Pic from Capertee Mt. and some typical gorge country south of-Mt.Boonbourwa.
Second row: Ruins at Newnes.
Third row: The Capertee River below Glen Davis and more ruins at Newnes (model excluded).
Panorama: From Mt. Uratorer. The left extreme edge is about west and the right extreme edge about north.
The numbered mounts are 1. Tyan Pic, 2. Dunn's Mt Ht. 3. Capertee Mt. 4. Mt. Boonbourwa - on the second line of hills down from the horizon, 5. Mt, Coricudgy. The party travelled diagonally across this panorama, from the midpoint of the left edge to Mt. Boonbourwa and then back in the far distance nearly to Tyan Pic going over Capertee Mt. on the way.
(Note for photographers. All of these photos wore taken on 16mm film and represent enlargements of about 40 times in terms of area.)
The Bushwalker's Song
Across across the knife-edged ridges,
Cross the creeks that have no bridges,
Hear the walker softly swearing,
“Never come again”.
See the rags that he is wearing,
Mighty pack that he is bearing,
Now you'll understand him swearing,
“I'll never come again”.
Attacked attacked by ant and fly,
Now and then you'll hear him sigh,
Wish to hell that I could die!
never come again.
Far beyond the city's reaches,
Blood absorbed by bugs and leeches,
Bashing on he loud beseeches,
“I'll never come again”.
Broken back and blistered feet,
But if you think that he is beat,
You'll be right: you'll hear him bleat,
“I'll N-E-V-E-R come again”.
Sung to the tune of “Men of Harlich”.
Composed by Peter Dent and Warwick Jones one wet weekend at Era Beach.
By Brian G. Harvey.
THE CODE OF ETHICS as adopted at the October Meeting will be roneoed and circulated amongst all members of all affiliated bodies.
BOUDDI NATURAL PARK. The Department of Lands has acknowledged our nominees for vacancies of the Trust, namely Mr. Allan Strom and Miss Daphne Ball, and is giving consideration to selection. Work is in progress for the re-erection of the shelter shed, water from the roof of which is used to replenish the tank.
No 11 BUSHWALKER. Committee is pleased to report that proceeds from sales have equalled expenses. Copies are still available at Paddy's.
THE SOCIAL COMMITTEE is experiencing difficulty in obtaining accommodation for the Federation Dance. The Show Boat is being considered. Ideas will be welcomed by our delegates.
THE CONSERVATION BUREAU has met. The “Bushman's Handbook” has been reviewed and a report will be tabled at the December Council Meeting. Mr. Lindsay's new book - “Living Monuments” is now under review. Copies are obtainable from the Commonwealth Office of Education, Grace Building, York and King Streets, for 6d.
QUEEN VICTORIA HOMES. Information has been received that recently walkers arrived at 1.30 a.m, and sought accommodation on a verandah and caused disturbance generally. The Matron has raised objections to the general use made of the Home telephone for taxi transport to Wentworth Falls as this service is most inconvenient. Walkers are generally regarded as unpopular on holiday weekends and all are asked to refrain from asking favours which throw additional work upon an already hardworking and probably short-staffed organisation.
WINGECARRIBEE SHIRE COUNCIL is seeking assistance in the erection of safety railings at Adams Lookout on behalf of the Bungonia Trust. Shire clerk at Goulburn will welcome offers and supply particulars to - those interested.
WILDFLOWERS. The Conservation Bureau is to arrange a meeting o faFe-d7-15-odies to press for the bringing down of legislation to prevent the sale of wild flowers as it is felt that the license system is open to abuse.
THE ANNUAL REUNION of the Federated Clubs will now be held in May of each year, as the fixed date which obtained in September was found unsuitable to many walkers. Suggestions for suitable venue will be very welcome. Primitive Reserves are not favoured for this purpose as large bodies of campers are not conducive to the welfare of such areas. Sporting events will not be held in future.
Our delegates gave NOTICE OF MOTION for the establishment of a committee to consider the credentials of new applications for Federation membership (see November S.B.W. meeting report). We hope that this will overcome difficulties which have arisen in the past so that applicant clubs will be given to understand what is required of them. The Federation can arrange observers to do a walk with the applicant and test their ability and general knowledge of the bush and attitude towards conservation.
New Railway Timetable
(Information supplied by The Keeper of TimeTables.)
A new railway timetable will be operated on Country lines, commencing from Sunday 27th November. Reference copy of the timetable it located in the top map drawer.
Summarised, no major changes have occurred which affect the trains normally used by walkers. Services out on Friday night, Saturday morning and noon, and return services on Sunday are generally as before, or departure times varied by several minutes only.
The only notable changes are :
WESTERN LINE - Friday night.
6.23 p.m. train extended from Mount Victoria to Lithgow, serving stations Hazelbrook to Lithgow.
6.35 p.m. train will now terminate at Mount Victoria, serving Penrith to Mount Victoria, and will now depart Central at 6.37 p.m.
SOUTHERN LINE - Friday night
Kosciusko Express (previously 8.50 p.m.) serving stations Campbelltown to Canberra, Coma and Bombala (including Mittagong, Moss Vale, Bundanoon, Tallong and Marulan) will now depart Central 8.47 pm.
ILLAWARRA LINE - Saturday morning.
All existing services cancelled, and the following substituted: 8.08 a.m. serving Helensburgh to Kiama, Berry and Nowra.
8.45 a.m. serving Austinmer, Thirroul, Bulli and Wollongong and making connection at Wollongong with Branch Line train to Robertson and Moss Vale.
9.12 a.m. South Coast Daylight Express. serving stations Kiama to Nowra only (RESERVATION OF SEATS COMPULSORY.).
ILLAWARRA LINE - Saturday noon. 12.55 p.m. train serving Helensburgh, Lilyvale, Otford, Stanwell Park, Coal Cliff, Coledale, Austinmer, Thirroul, Bulli, Wollongong. and all stations to Nowra will now depart at 12.52 pm