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The Sydney Bushwalker.

A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.

No.211 June, 1952 Price 6d.

EditorJim Brown, 103 Gipps St., Drummoyne
Production and Business ManagerBrian Harvey (JW1462)
Sales and Subs.Shirley Evans
Typed byJean Harvey


Editorial - Twenty-one Again 1
At The May General Meeting 2
Mt. Blanc Ski Adventure - Spring 1950By Frank Leyden 4
Ettrema GorgeBy Wal Roots 8
The Factory Was Warmed 12
B.O. Areas 13
By Any Other Name 14
Trundling Down the CoxBy Brian Harvey15
The Unofficial Official Easter TripBy “Eenaweena” & John Bookluck18
Field Weekend, or How to Go Nuts in Three Easy LessonsBy “Wombat”22
A Letter to the Editor - “Bushfires” 24
Federation Notes - May MeetingBy Allen A. Strom26


Leica Photo Service12
Sanitarium Health Foods25
On Getting Lost (Paddy's Advertisement)27


Twenty-one Again.

In this year of the Club's “Quarter Century” we celebrate another less important but quite noteworthy anniversary. It was in June, 1931, that the first edition of the Club's magazine was published and so, with this issue, No.211, of June, 1952, the magazine “comes of age”.

The magazine, then known simply as “The Bushwalker”, did not have an easy birth. A previous General Meeting had considered the suggestion, and washed its hands of the matter, whereupon five enthusiasts, namely Marj. Hill (Editor), Dorothy Lawry, Rene Browne, Brenda White and Myles Dunphy, each contributed 10/-, and financed the production.

The infant thrived, it was adopted by the Club as the official journal at the age of one year, and at about the same time suffered by having its name filched. (These were the days of depression and “mystery hikes” were the craze: a city firm produced a free paper styled “The Hiker and Bushwalker” to cater for the brief public enthusiasm). The magazine was re-titled “The Sydney Bushwalker” and has been able to keep its name inviolate since that date.

During the years 1931 to 1936 the magazine appeared at intervals of two months, being sold at either 1/- or 9d. per copy, depending on the financial state of the accounts. Early in 1937 it was transformed into a quarterly, but later in the same year, with the purchase of the Club's first duplicator, it became a monthly, selling at 3d. per copy in those dear, dead pre-inflation days. Apart from a price increase (was it approved by the Prices Commissioner?) during the war years, and minor fluctuations in appearance and lay-out due to the whims of various typists and editors, and the output of members, it has appeared in substantially the same form ever since.

At the age of 21 years a person is legally presumed to be capable of handling his own affairs, to have put childish things behind him. There is room to hope, however, that the magazine will not become too staid, too prematurely senile, and incapable of youthful buoyancy or letting its hair down at times.

Since we are committed to a Special Anniversary number in October to mark the Club's “25th”, this is not such a lavish edition as it may have been in another year. There is, instead, a somewhat larger selection of reading than we can muster for a normal monthly issue, and perhaps this will give assurance that the magazine is by no means spent. In fact it seems a reasonably safe wager that the magazine will outlast the vaunted new duplicator.

On to the next Twenty-one Years.

At The May General Meeting.

After more than twelve months of marathon general meetings, the May meeting, with about 50 members present, and Allen Strom as Chairman, was unbelievably brief and in reposeful andante tempo. The Chairman first read the regrets of the President, holidaying at Bega, and we heard minutes of both the special Era fund meeting and the April General Meeting. No members rose and no matters arose.

Correspondence contained a note from the Parks and Playgrounds Movement, concerning the proposed oil refinery, and replying to our Hunter River suggestion with the point that the Movement was primarily concerned in preventing erection of the refinery on parklands, and had not so far entered into the matter of alternative sites. There was a letter from the Prime Minister, referring to our earlier representations on Bush Fire Prevention. It informed us primarily that this did not come under Federal jurisdiction, and that the Commonwealth authorities were carrying out water, soil and timber conservation within its own territories: also that the Forestry and Timber Bureau of the Department of the Interior and the Australian Forestry School at Canberra were carrying out research into fire prevention and control and provided education to Fire Control Officers nominated by State Forest services. There was no suggestion that the Federal Government intended to enter the “State sphere” of control: in short, rather a negative reply.

One other item of correspondence was a letter from Jack Gentle informing us that he had represented our conservation views to North Shore scoutmasters, and had also written the Area Commissioner, Northern Suburbs. This provoked Bill Cosgrove to draw attention to a publication which set out the equipment required by scouting parties on extended trips - one schedule included 6 tomahawks, 2 entrenching tools and a nail file. The nail file had him baffled until Wal Roots explained that it would be used to saw down trees when the axes had worn down to the hilt.

Whizzing through the reports we were suddenly and unexpectedly at General Business. The Editor queried whether the meeting wished the two best prints from this year's Photographic Exhibition to be reproduced in the magazine, and Brian Harvey cautioned that this would cost the Club about £8.10. 0 on present costs. Alex Colley felt this was justified, representing only about 9d. per active member, but Gil Webb wasn't so easily satisfied and pointed out that it needed about 10 subscriptions to make up this amount, while the standard of reproduction didn't do justice to the winning entries. Here Ken Meadows interpolated the suggestion that actual prints may be turned out en masse and at about the same cost. They would be about half-plate size, and, if guaranteed aid, he would undertake to do the work. Apart from Betty Hall's point that winning prints often required individual retouching, the meeting seemed to approve the idea, and carried a motion to that effect.

The Editor was on his feet again, talking about the 25th Anniversary Magazine for October. Four years ago, on the coming of age of the Club, the magazine had been indemnified against financial loss, he said, and would the Club be kind enough to support the special issue an this occasion. Alex Colley suggested that a limit of £10 be placed on the Club vote, and since this was accepted as reasonable by the magazine team, the amount was passed.

For the last business of the night Alex Colley harked back to the location for the oil refinery, and suggested we write Northumberland County Council, asking if they wanted the refinery. He believed they did, and would give us some good reasons which we could use in our campaign to avoid use of Kurnell or Kariong. We agreed to write the Newcastle area Planning body. Then, despite the Chairman's efforts to eke out the meeting, we drew a curtain at the impossible hour of 8.42 p.m.

Family Department.

Congratulations to Hilma and Alex Colley - birth of a daughter (Frances) on May 1st.

Mt. Blanc Ski Adventure - Spring 1950.

By Frank Leyden.

Our 100-mile-on-ski 9 day ski-mountaineering tour of the “Haute Route” was nearing its end. The last part of the trip that remained was the traverse of Mt. Blanc on ski. We were a party of nine. There was “bash on regardless” Heinrich of the tough school of Swiss Guides; lithe Sonya, the only girl; Otto and Hans, as funny as a total of eight Swiss and myself. They were one of the toughest bunches of skiers I have ever met, but were extremely friendly, considerate and helpful to an inept foreigner. Our conversation, their “Swiss-German” against my “High-German” with some French and Italian thrown in, was an experience in itself.

At the respectable hour of 9.30 a.m. we boarded the Téléférique on the Italian side of Mt. Blanc, from Courmayeur. This consists of a small glass and steel cabin holding about 20 standing people and is suspended from an electrically powered running cable. In two miles the Téléférique climbs 6,700 feet in about half an hour to the Col du Geant and the upper glaciers. The cabin silently swung clear of the tree tops, and was soon hundreds of feet above the ridges. The immense south face of Mt. Blanc, one of the greatest mountain walls of the Alps, lay just to the west of us, an 11,000 feet sweep of broken ice and black aiguilles. We passed through several cloud banks and arrived at the Col in mist.

A body normally revolts at being jerked suddenly up to 11,000 feet and given hard work, but by this time we were in pretty fair training. Diet for the previous week: raw bacon, dried meat, dried bread and weak tea! With skis clipped on we broke the silvery snow of the Glacier du Geant and plunged into the mist, leaving the machinery behind us. It was just like a couple of days previously on the slopes of the Grand Combin.

Heinrich, roped to Werner, swung ahead making the track in the mist, through broken ice, over snow bridged crevasses and brandishing map and compass until a hole in the mist revealed la Vièrge aiguille. A glimpse of the Dent du Geant confirmed our position, so skinning up, we made a course for Col du Gros Rognon. The roped pair made the track, the rest of us following at five yard spacings, with the last carrying more rope. There were three or four ice axes and individual crampons.

Roughly speaking, there are about 20 square miles of upper glaciers on the main Mt. Blanc massif above the 10,000 feet level. We were now located about the centre of this, and about five miles N.E. of the summit. On Gros Rognon, with everything blotted out and in menacing cold, we sat on our skis and had another go at the dried meat, leaving the map to Heinrich. Our immediate objective was the hut, Refuge du Col du Midi, which was located at 12,000 feet on the ridge of the Aiguille du Midi. But hours of wanderings in the mist only brought us to a scientist's cabin, located on the ridge to Mt. Blanc du Tacul. It was bitterly cold by now, with freshening wind, and night was approaching. The place was locked save for a narrow passage, and we huddled there while stout Heinrich searched for the Refuge. Eventually shouts came through the mist and we climbed down from the cabin, located in the face of a cliff, and skied down to what was the Col du Midi. On continuing onwards and up the opposite ridge the hut appeared through the murk.

There was a great heap of iron girders, wire cables, drums, winches, all in a confused mass, hideous in the snow. It was the top station of a partly erected téléférique from Chamonix, but evidently had been hit by the blizzard. The hut nearby looked as if it had been used as a workshop and was barely habitable. There was no choice and we flew into action. Pierre slashed up planks with his ice axe and a fire was made in a small iron stove. War was declared against draughts and refuse. Soon the hut was filled with smoke and a glorious fug. Then out came the spaghetti, the nuts and, of course, the dried meat. Coming to the hut in the mist, I was a bit vague about the setting. Later, as I was about to kick the snow behind the hut, I saw a hole already there that appeared to be filled with glowworms. A horrible moment, and back to the side of the hut very quickly. It was the lights of Chamonix 8,500 feet below. The hut is constructed a few yards in from the brink of a 3,000 feet cliff and it would be quite easy, in bad light, to walk right off into space! Huts are often located in such awkward places to avoid avalanches, rock falls or insecure ice.

We shared the few bunks but there was no covering, so the fire had to be kept going. Some say they cannot sleep too well at this height, but to me the discomfort was the main factor, as I slept well enough for two nights at a similar height on Jungfraujoch under warm conditions.

“Aufstehen! Aufstehen!” No matter how bad the sleep, nothing is more revolting than to be ousted at 3 a.m., our rising time on the next morning. The great white dome of the summit stood clear against the stars and the mists had sunk low. Biting frost gripped the great white world about us, a wonderful sea of ice and rock, broken and jumbled in wild frenzy. Wonderful confusion existed as everyone struggled with their boots, their gear, and their marmalade in the dark so as to be all quickly ready. Crampons were ready for the 1,800 feet ice slope up Mt. Blanc du Tacul. But the guide hesitated. Approaching 4 a.m. the whole summit ridge reddened with the first light of dawn. We looked anxiously, wondering why he would not start. It was only two and a half miles away, and just 4,000 feet higher. Great shreds of mist and cloud were streaking up from the black depths to the south and a cutting wind of intense cold swept across the ice. Aiguilles Rouges and Val de Chamonix stood in clear sunlight but Mt. Blanc weather was definitely worsening. As this was one of the more difficult routes and in view of the much slower climbing rate at this altitude, the climb cannot be attempted unless the weather is good. A half-dozen great glaciers, cataracts of fantastic jumbled ice, plunged down 12,000 feet from the highest ridges to the valley of Chamonix. From our lofty perch we gazed across the mountain grandeur of the roof of the Alps. Most high mountains are mainly snow and ice, and one of the great advantages of skis in mountaineering is that the valley is so much closer. One has only to point the skis downhill. Escape from bad weather is so much more rapid and progress is possible over ground too crevassed to walk on. But I certainly never bargained for anything like La Vallée Blanche and Mer de Glace. We had to get off Aiguille du Midi before the storm caught us.

Heinrich and his horde were away in a flash. Heavy with disappointment I charged after them until a concealed wire caught the skis and gave me another taste of Mt. Blanc. A bit of fast ski-ing and then, in a trice, we were amongst scenery straight out of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Across our path loomed crevasses up to 50 feet and more wide, with walls of green ice plunging to cavernous black depths. Here and there was a narrow and tenuous looking snow bridge descending steeply to the lower lip. Heinrich poked optimistically, then side-slipped down. The rest followed, showering streams of snow into the void. I was 100 per cent last, but I was not abandoned. Soon we were in the greatest chaos of gigantic ice seracs, towering spires, leaning walls and quaking ground I have ever imagined. The scraping of the skis on protruding ice echoed strangely and the mists enclosed all in an eeriness of fantasy. The ski-ing was most unique and never was there a place where the turns had to be done so precisely in the right place - at this bridge junction, against that wall or on the crest of that lip of snow. There was no scope for individual flair and everyone had to do just the same track, the same turns, and the same wiggles. The worst spots were some great long horrible knee-breaking side-slips across the very steep upper walls with blackness straight below. Sydney sandhills ski-ing practice gave valuable training to keep with these lifetime toughened Swiss. My friends were often helpful almost to embarrassment on the difficult spots but, like shooting rapids, it was a case of you are in it, you have done it, and there is no time to think. Occasionally there was backing and filling by the roped track makers in front whilst we waited, always spaced about five yards apart. Falling was carefully avoided so as not to start vibration. A hole in the mist revealed the great black needle rock of the famed Grépon and across on the far side a fine sweep from Les Grandes Jorasses to the Aiguille Verte. Coming level with the nearby Requin hut, we ploughed down acres of avalanche debris and skidded and scraped through the complications of the lower icefall out on to the flat of the Sea of Ice.

The bad weather raged above and low down all was calm. Great flutings and curtains of ice hung from the Grépon, buttressing the gigantic rock spires for thousands of feet with striated masses of gleaming white. They satisfied in every way one's imagination of what mountains should be, but seldom are. A couple of miles of langlauf down the Mer de Glace, more broken ice, Montenvers, a helter-skelter run down through the trees, then Chamonix at last - at the end of an exciting 8,500 feet ski-run of unforgettable memory.

Tourist Department, or Mentioned In Despatches.

Dormie (Allan Hardie), departed this Continent over the Easter Weekend for his eight-month's tour of Europe and Africa. Dennis Gittoes sailed for the Old Dart on May 2nd.

Happy sailing for both.

Ettrema Gorge.

A new playground with a challenge.

By Wal Roots.

The Prologue:

Recently a young chap named Bob, in discussing bushwalking with Paddy said in tones just reeking with the condescension of the young and virile to the old and bold - “These days, Paddy, I suppose you only tackle the easy trips”.

“Yes”, said Paddy, “I guess that's about right”.

There was a twinkle in Paddy's eye for he had plans. These plans have since matured, and so I tell the story of Paddy's Easter Gamble of 1952.

The Build-up.

For the sake of posterity, let me record that the party consisted of Paddy Pallin, Fred King, Norm White, Ken Brown, Paul Howard and the Scribe.

The idea of the trip was to traverse the country from Yalwal, westward to the Shoalhaven just to see what lay in between. Paddy and Paul had made a trip down that way a year or two before but flood conditions had upset calculations and prevented penetration to any depth.

On that trip, however, they had learned from the locals of the “impenetrable” gorge which lay to the westward.

“Ettrema it's called, it's terrific, you can't get into it - cliffs for miles, and if you get in you won't get out. Give it a miss or you will finish up breaking your ruddy necks.”

With this challenge ringing in their ears for two years, is it any wonder Paddy and Paul lead us back that way?

There is no published military map of this area, in fact, no maps at all, but Paul has influence and managed to dig up something taken from aerial surveys, and in addition was able to study the stereoscopic photos of the area.

The photos fully backed up the locals' opinion of Ettrema and served to whet appetites already as keen as a westerly on Clear Hill. From the photos Paul worked out a plan of attack; there was a point here which had distinct possibilities and if that failed, this creek was a cinch. So we have two new names for the maps of the future - Point Possibility and Cinch Creek. And now to the story.

The Story.

Thursday night found us camping in a drizzle at Saltwater Creek some seven miles out of Nowra. This was as far as we could go by transport as the bridge had been wrecked in a flood a fortnight before.

Fortunately, there lived on the other side of the busted bridge a blitz buggy and driver, and in the morning we climbed aboard (after helping to ferry the cream cans across the remnants of the bridge) and were duly deposited in that picturesque old mining town of Yalwal.

We told our driver what we had in mind and whilst he was most polite, he nevertheless left with us the impression that he thought anyone who wasn't a bushman who went playing around in that country was nuts.

“You won't get through! The cliffs on Ettrema extend as far as you can see - I'll keep an eye open for you on your way back.”

From Yalwal, we followed up the Creek past the old battery and cyanide tanks (Paul panned some dirt from the battery - no luck) and lunched prior to making the climb over the ridge and into Bundumdah Creek. It is a very pleasant climb of 1,500 feet or so to a classic gap, and then an easy drop down to a lovely little creek and a beautiful campsite.

On Saturday, we were up betimes - beat the old Sol by plenty - for this was the BIG day, the day on which we were to conquer Ettrema (we hoped) and we weren't so sure of ourselves as to risk a late start.

A glorious day this, clear and crisp and with woolly clouds floating lazily in an azure sky, blue distance with purple shadows in the gullies, and flecks of red where the prolific Burrawongs had cast their fruit.

There was no hardship in the climb, although it was steep in places, and by nine o'clock we were on the plateau and headed towards Pt. Possibility. We followed height of land through scrub covered country (poor visibility) until reaching an eminence (unnamed) which seems to be the central feature of this plateau. There we had an early lunch prior to making a bee line for Pt. Possibility.

A change was coming over our glorious day and we arrived at P.P. just ten minutes prior to a rain squall, which the roar of camera shutters made sound like a thunderstorm.

Ettrema Gorge - this was it! The unknown - the unconquerable - the great challenge! We stood in awe and looked in wonderment at a seemingly unbroken line of cliffs extending as far as the eye could see, with a secondary and sometimes a tertiary cliff line below.

The talus slopes were at angle of repose and after mentally jumping the cliff face (some 300 feet or more) the question arose as to whether it would be best to use triple hobs or butter.

The scene was one of untamed grandeur and thrills raced up and down our spines as we gazed into the blue depths. For this was new country - untrodden by all but one or two - a challenging new playground for bushwalkers to explore.

Even more mysterious became our gorge as the rain storm draped its gossamer veil - we could better understand its legend of impenetrability, seeing it thus.

Before long, we started looking for ways down and ways up t'other side. We could see two possible ways up. Paul picked one (Howard's Pass) and the Scribe was dead keen on another (you've guessed it - Roots' Route), but first we had to get down.

Pt. Possibility we found was wrongly named, it should have been Impossibility. You'd need to be a hybrid octopus to get down there. So we turned our attention to Cinch Creek and what did we find? A rift vying in sheer magnificence with Kanangra Gorge and just as inviting as a possible route to the valley floor.

Believe me, Cinch Creek is terrific - the sort of place that mountain goats and rock wallabies class as mile-a-day country.

The rim rocks were continuous and we could detect not one place where a possibility of descent existed. It looked as if our trip was over for we were two days out on a four day trip and most of us commenced adjusting our mental processes to this thought - but not Paul.

Paul conducted a rock by rock search and finally located a split in a cliff, some 18 inches wide, through which we were able to climb down to the talus slope. Packs had to be roped down as they could not be wangled through the cleft. Then it was a case of down, down and down. Down through the rain forest, sliding on the moss, crashing through the rotting timber and skidding on the greasy rocks. Down and down at a hell of an angle, missing the stinging Gympies by the grace of God, frightening the devil out of the wallabies and lyre birds.

The daylight was still with us when we reached the waters of Cinch Creek and it remained while we scrambled down a mile or so, until we came to the only level patch we had seen for hours. We camped, and how we slept!

An hour after our “crack of dawn” start found us on Ettrema Creek, looking up and wondering whether our climb out would be as spectacular as the descent.

Ettrema is delightful, a sort of young Kowmung but with a personality of its own. Here are tall casuarinas, and some fine old cedars, mysterious deep rock pools (with whopping big perch, I'll bet) and some lovely camp sites.

What a thrill it would be to spend a week following this lovely stream down to its junction with the Shoalhven - I wonder who will be able to say “I was the first one through”.

We could only enjoy it for less than an hour while we argued Howard's Pass or Roots' Route. Paul put up the best case so up we went, plugging away in the blasted rain and cursing because of the view we were missing.

Howard's Pass is really a cinch (though I still believe Roots' Route is better, mark you) and to get up through the rim rocks is no trouble at all.

We paused at the top and looked back into the mist and rain filled gorge we had left. We had confounded the locals, we had crossed their uncrossable Ettrema and it had been a grand experience.

The rest of the trip was uneventful - that is if you disregard hour after hour of scrub barging on a compass course in continuous teeming rain, the swimming of the racing Shoalhaven in a twelve foot flood and a hair raising ride in a utility into Goulburn.

And that is the end of the story - all that remains is the challenge.

The Challenge.

We six has-beens - old and bold - or what have you, pass along to you youngsters this challenge from one we have come to respect and to love, from Ettrema herself.

All you who glory in your ability to climb, to explore, to map, and who love wild and untamed places, here is a new thrill worthy of the best of you. See what you can do about taming this one!

But don't think I've painted the lily, that the old boys have forgotten what toughness is. Put an extra day's tucker in the rucksack and a hundred feet of rope.

The Case For Prohibition.

The party which spent Anzac Weekend in the Newnes-Glen Davis country angrily deny that their walk became a pub crawl. They point to about forty miles of honest-to-goodness foot slogging, while admitting to a night spent in the Newnes hostelry sheltering from the unkind elements.

It seems that the Newnes pub could offer refuge but no victuals, so the party cooked their own on the kitchen range to the amusement of the lady of the house.

En route to Wolgan Gap via the road a well-intentioned farmer met them and offered them the shelter of his barn, but it was discovered that the pigs had moved in first, so they went their ways to pitch their tents in the storm. This is, of course, ample proof that their behaviour at Newnes was beyond reproach for, as everyone knows: “You can tell a man who boozes by the company he chooses - and the pig got up and slowly walked away”.

In this case the walkers slowly walked away.

[Editorial note by Geoff Goodyer…

The quote above is taken from a poem. In full, the poem goes:

'Twas the pig fair last September,
the day I well remember,
I was walking up and down in drunken pride.
When my knees began to flutter
and I sank down in the gutter
and a pig came up and lay down by my side.

As I lay there in the gutter,
thinking thoughts I could not utter,
I thought I heard a passing lady say,
“You can tell the man who boozes
by the company that he chooses.”
And with that the pig got up and walked away.]

The Factory Was Warmed.

Paddy entertained some 25 or 30 walkers at this factory in Harris Street on the evening of May 9th. Probably there would have been more had the weather been less forbidding or Harris Street better protected by awnings.

Despite a blackout which prevented running some of the plant until after 6.30, all present seemed quite fascinated with the gadgets which turn out packs, sleeping bags and all the assorted paraphernalia of bushwalking. During this stage of the evening the visitors interested themselves in operating the manually-actuated machinery - the various leather punches, the array of sewing machines, the cunning device which cuts out a hole in fabric and plugs in eyelets all in one stroke.

When the power authorities relented we were able to see the strap cuter ripping out a variety of strips of leather of assorted thicknesses, the emery wheel on which sections of tube for rucksack frames are cut, and the electric cutter which was driven through some thirty or forty thicknesses of duck (destined to become packs) already pegged out and scribed in chalk with mysterious patterns. For the life of me I couldn't make out where one or two of the crescentic cuts of material belonged in a rucksack, but I daresay the gent who marked-off the material knew.

After refreshments served by May Pallin and several assistants, the visitors reluctantly dragged themselves away, Elsa McGregor consoling herself with the thought that, as Malcolm was away down the South Coast, he couldn't be present and so would not be hankering after facsimiles of the Pallin equipment.

B.O. Areas.

Areas which were burnt out in the summer fires are swiftly resuming a pleasantly green appearance, so that it is unlikely we shall have to report further for the present. That is to say, until neglect, thoughtlessness and stupidity create next summer's hazard… However -

Kanangra Tops:

No damage evident from the Walls, and most of the areas bordering the road out from Jenolan Caves undamaged (Anzac report).


Fires have raced up some of the ridges between Timor Rock and Pincham's Farm, but the area is rapidly recovering (Easter).

Cowan - Gunyah Bay:

No evidence of fires along the ridge usually taken.

Barren Ground:

Fires have been across the tops south from Barren Ground Trig, but only remaining evidence is charred underbrush. Reeds and grasses restored (mid - May).

Nepean Lookout:

No trace of fires for about 1 mile north-east from Euroka Clearing, but burnt out, and dirty walking toward the Lookout. Glenbrook Gorge appears to be unspoiled (early May).

Mechanised Department.

In contradistinction to the previously mentioned “Lower Income Group” the Club has now a closely knit Motorised Section. Its first official outing was to Kanangra Walls at Anzac Weekend, and when the weather proved unkind it degenerated into an outright motor tour, complete with caves inspection at Jenolan, followed by a camp in clearing weather at the Lett River crossing. It is understood that the group has not yet chosen its name, but in acknowledgement of its parent organisation, it is believed S.B.W. (standing for Sybarite Bush Walkers) is favoured. A small metal wheel worn below the flannel flower will indicate membership. Occasional walking trips will be carried out to avoid the hazard of atrophy in the lower limbs coupled with extreme deposition of flesh at the base of the spine.

Girls! Girls! Girls!

It appears that only advertising splurge for the Tiv. can honestly advertise thus nowadays - follows the lament of one lonely male: “Ladies! Ladies! On the day walks of Sunday 20th April the attendance was all male except one young lady (a prospective member). On Sunday 4th and 11th May another young lady (a visitor) graced the party of men who attended on each occasion.

Really girls, apart from the desirability of your attendance to assist and advise prospectives and visitors, and conceding that you can't be in two places at once, when may we expect to see more than one of the “gentle” sex on a day walk?

Another report on the doings of the motorised detachment at Anzac Weekend :-

The Lett River was running fairly high after the Anzac Day rain. In crossing some sloping stones, Edna Stretton dropped her scarf in the rapids and it started to float away in the rush of water. Forward the male! In an instant one of the male members of the party had shed his shoes and socks and plunged into the swirling water - just too late. The current had whisked the scarf out of reach.

Nothing daunted, he shouted a suitable warning, and off came his trousers. The ladies of the party, with late Victorian decorum, sat with eyes averted, but the strain of not knowing how the scarf was getting on proved too much. Each had several surreptitious peeps. How lucky it was that the man of the hour, F…, wore underpants and a long-tailed shirt!

P.S. - the scarf was recovered.”

By Any Other Name...

Among the interesting things we learned from Thistle Stead's illustrated lecture on Australian flora and trees (May 16th) was why a bloom like, say, Chloanthes Stoechadis, has no common name. It seems we have such a superabundance of species of wild flowers that there aren't enough popular names to go around.

Apart from the more-or-less technical slides illustrating the form of some of the flowers she discussed, Mrs. Stead had been fortunate enough to obtain some exquisite colour slides from a Mr. Reeves in Melbourne, and it is certain we have not before seen such a varied display in the wild flower field.

Emphasising that climate and soils produced not only the wide variety of vegetation found in this continent, but rung changes on the same species spread over different regions, Mr. Stead explained that there was something practical we could do towards conservation of native flora. While it would be difficult to persuade the authorities that a total ban on sale of wildflowers was necessary, evidence that a particular species was in danger of extinction may produce a measure to protect that plant. For example, the Native Rose (Boronia Serrulata, according to Mrs. Stead's own book) was under review. It would be important, of course, to have quite definite information that the plant we sought to protect was really becoming rare.

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Trundling Down The Cox.

Brian G. Harvey.

To avoid unfavourable comment, I thought it better to carry out the whole trip in dead secrecy from the earliest preparations until this article went to press.

During my home-building operations I had acquired one of those pneumatic-tyred metal wheel barrows and had noted the case with which 250 pounds of bricks could be wheeled about the job - up narrow sloping planks or bounced over low obstacles.

Later, this gave me an idea. Had not fully grown men been pushed in wheel barrows from Sydney to Melbourne and vice versa, for wagers? Had not the intrepid Myles Dunphy pushed a perambulator, loaded with gear, food and a then young family eighteen miles from the Oberon Road to Kanangra Walls before the advent of the present road? Why should I not trundle a barrow-load of camping gear and succulent food along the grassy banks of the Cox River, downhill to Burragorang? Of course, it would have been another case of putting the cart before the horse!

The Chinese are credited with the first barrow, I believe, but their models have the wheel more centred so that most of the weight is taken up by the wheel. For some reason ours have the wheel well forward - probably for greater ease in steering - but with the great disadvantage of sharing the load fifty-fifty with the “pusher”.

So I had the wheel assembly cut off and rewelded about a foot further back, thereby greatly easing the downward pull on the handles. Paddy was taken into confidence, and in the dead of night produced a harness incorporating the rucksack frame, two loops being slipped under the handles and buckled securely to “D”s welded on to the handles for that purpose. With the waist-strap done up, the “horse” was complete and could push or “whoa” at will. The handles were made comfortable with sponge-rubber grips borrowed from the handle-bars of my push-bike. I was sorely tempted also to borrow the rear-reflector. A coat of dark green paint smartened the outfit.

I had a week's holiday owing from earlier years, and I chose early May for the experiment. The barrow was quietly wheeled to Hornsby station, with forwarding arrangements to Megalong by service car. At the same time a box of the heavier gear, food and a length of light rope was railed, all nicely timed in advance of the mechanical propulsion section, to wit, shanks' pony, clad of course in hob nail boots instead of the traditional horseshoes.

We duly took delivery at Megalong and were accorded dubious looks. Nothing loth, the barrow was wheeled out of sight and loaded with the rucksacks and the box after lunch. By packing the concentrated weight well forward, there was little downward pull on the handles.

With the total load of about 105 pounds, we started off down the open six-foot track and had no trouble making Gibraltar Creek before dark. Next day, before going very long “rocks ahead” was signalled and here the rope was used from the front to encourage the wheel up the sloping rocks or low step-ups. When the going was too difficult the load was “portaged” as they say in the best canoe clubs, and picked up on the other side of the obstacles. In the more convenient spots, where the river was shallow and sandy close to the bank I merely wheeled in and splashed in boots and all after it. Having high metal sides the load was perfectly protected, and having passed the blockade, came ashore like the amphibious duck of war-time vintage. Just above Harry's River it was necessary for us to make our first crossing to the right bank and here came the great flotation test of the open water. The load was placed “amidships” and covered with a groundsheet, secured round the rim of the tray, and a light rope affixed for'ard. Jean went in ahead and slightly upstream and the horse and cart entered the somewhat fast running Cox, still a bit “up” from the fresh of Anzac Weekend. Here the river is wide and fairly shallow, the bottom being smooth-polished water-worn granite. There are several casuarinas growing in the stream, forming tiny islands. Jean made for one of these and secured the rope to a tree, which was just as well as the full force of the water was more than I had bargained for and before I had gone any distance I was slithering about on the smooth bottom, wet from head to toe, but the barrow was riding gaily like the “Queen Mary” in mid-atlantic. I could see it was futile endeavouring to make a direct crossing, so just worked round gradually through the arc of the tethered rope until I was directly downstream of the tree. Here the water was slacker and more shallow. I fished out a length of cord under the groundsheet, and tied the loose end to the front of the “chassis” and threw the ball to Jean. She exchanged the cord for the rope, and crossed with the latter to the next “island”, and again I swung across the current. After releasing the cord from the first tree, we again repeated the operation and then, with a straight pull, landed high and not-so-dry on the far bank, and so onwards downstream.

Harrys River was running strongly, and was negotiated in a single swing. From this spot the bank was abominably rocky, with trees close together, jamming progress. All the gear and food was carried down to where the cattlepad recommenced, necessitating two trips. The barrow was then lugged, pulled, carried on its side and cursed generally for about 400 yards until the open-going again was reached.

Not wishing to start the next day with another water-jump, we decided to cross back just at Breakfast Creek, where the Cox is sandy bottomed. We tied the rope and cord together, secured it on the other side, and swung across, and wheeled the ship up the gravel at the mouth of the creek. Deciding it was a day, we camped and dried out our wet clothes.

From here the banks were a treat, the rock patches becoming further apart, although on the bends where the steep slopes came right down to the river edge it was necessary to cross. The mechanical marvel was riding well on the cattlepads, being as easy on the shoulders as a good one-day pack. The constant gripping on the handles to maintain balance and guidance was a little tiring however. It left Jean free of any burden whatever which gave me the idea that a party of, say, three husky young gents could take their turn in the shafts in shifts and thus have a very enjoyable trip in similar country. I could also visualise a certain bushwalking club which conducts an annual marathon walk putting an a wheel barrow race next year!

Before Konangaroo Clearing was reached, the river was crossed seven times. The crossings were selected with great cunning, generally above the rapids where the bottom was most shallow, and then by Jean taking the line across first the single “swing” was all that was necessary.

There were a couple of lads camped an Konangaroo when we arrived, but we had the forethought not to display our club badge and so saved the Club the day. As it was twelve years since I last was there we decided to spend two nights enjoying the area. With washing to do, we just wheeled the barrow down the bank of the Kanangra, filled up with Rinso suds, washed, rinsed out, all very convenient. We thought of using the barrow as a water cart to save filling the water bags, but the taste of the fresh paint didn't appeal.

Next day saw us at the Kowmung Junction for lunch, and we negotiated the river without shipping a drop. Black Dog Rock now loomed ahead, an insurmountable rocky barrier, falling sheer into the water. Here we all three got properly afloat in the chilly waters, nudging the barrow along parallel to the bank and out again as soon as possible to recover our breath. We made a cup of tea to warm ourselves and proceeded to a camp at the foot of the Policeman Range where the bank presented a broad couch-grass flat, with a lovely bank of driftwood right on hand for the fire. We found some nice juicy worms under a rotten log, and tried out our nylon line without success. However we were quite content with a three-course meal without a fish entree. Gee, what appetising meals one can have out of tins - goodbye forever to the dehydrated tucker!

With no greater obstacles than wire fences we picked up the old road at Moody's next day, and at dusk reached McMahon's, having remained on the right bank since Konangaroo.

Heavy rain had set in, and we were glad to accept the offer of civilised accommodation for the night, with prospects of fresh bread, cream and milk, not to mention the luxury of a bed. We found there was a service car leaving for Camden next morning at 8 a.m. from King's, about four or five miles down the road, and arranged for the barrow to be taken back to Camden on top of a bus next day, with subsequent railing back to Hornsby. As it was necessary to make la early start we would cook our own breakfast, and to obviate oversleeping borrowed an alarm clock. As its shrill notes rang out in the pre-dawn dark next morning we awoke with a start, just as you dear reader will awake when you realise nothing of the foregoing ever happened.

The Quarter Century Party (The event of the Century).

  • The place - the “Dungowan”.
  • The time - Friday, October 17th, 1952.
  • The party - all members, past and present, friends, relatives, and what-have-you.
  • The price - 17s. 6d. per head.

Keep in touch with the Social Secretary and her minions.

The Unofficial Official Easter Trip.

By “Eenaweena” and John Bookluck.

(We are fortunate in having two versions of this trip: using the accepted Scotland Yard and F.B.I. method of comparing statements, we can only say, either there has been collision or both parties are blameless. We publish below, interleaved, the two reports, - Editor.)

Eenaweena reports:

It was the official Easter trip, and a very wet Easter too, but despite all this five hardy walkers met at Central Station on Thursday night. There were Pat, Jean, John, Peter and Fred. We were only allowed to get on the train after much argument with the guard who pointed out that “the train only goes as far as Bundanoon”. Fortunately we were able to convince him that it was all right, and he kindly gave his permission. We arrived at Moss Vale on schedule, but enquiries regarding a car to Meryla Pass revealed that it was impossible to go out there due to washaways on the road. “Maps out” and a conference followed.

It was decided to go to Fitzroy Falls from where a track was shown to lead down into Kangaroo Valley past an old sawmill. To fortify ourselves for the trip we visited a local cafe for refreshments before setting out. The car had to go via Bowral, again due to washaways. We arrived at Fitzroy Falls after much skidding about in the mud, and quickly retired to the shelter shed to dodge the rain and mist. The party spent a restful night sleeping on and under tables, occasionally disturbed by a passing car, mumbling people in the shed next door and stray drips off the roof.

John Bookluck reports:

With Peter Stitt out of contact with the modern world, the weather threatening, and the chance of cancellation of the trip, five cheery souls turned up - cheery only because they had not expected to meet.

At Moss Vale Mother Nature greeted us with tearladen eyes. It was here that the first amendment was made to the schedule. For Meryla Pass we read Fitzroy Falls. That evening we bushwalkers-turned-picnickers spent sheltering under the tables of the shelter shed.

Eenaweena continues:

Dawn came and our neighbours departed in their little car. It was still misty and raining and wonderfully warm in the sleeping bags, so we stayed in bed until 9 o'clock when a steady stream of cars past the shed decided us to “rise and shine”. We looked at the falls, and at the weather, which showed no signs of clearing, managed to get a fire going and proceeded to have a leisurely breakfast. What with this and packing up it was 12 noon before we moved off. By that time the weather had cleared and it had turned out a beautiful day. We trudged along the road for about two miles and turned off down a track leading to the old sawmill. Lunched at the mill site about 3 o'clock and Peter and John spent quite some time admiring old bits of machinery and trying to drive a tractor which still had a brake, clutch and steering wheel, but alas, no engine or tyres.

John Bookluck states:

Owing to vagrancy laws and noisy picnickers, we were forced to arise at 11 a.m. By 12 we became ardent road bashers, while some found mechanised travelling was easier on the legs. Pat became worried by lunch time (3 p.m.). Already she had read one-third of the book, and by ingenious calculations worked out it would be necessary to do at least 3 miles per day to prevent her from finishing it before the trip was over. Lunch hour was extended because P.S. had sniffed out the remains of an old sawmill.

Eenaweena says:

We then followed an old cart track along through a saddle and it finally brought us out on to a beautiful clearing on the side of Mt. Carialoo. It was such a lovely spot that it was decided to camp here for the night and climb the mountain in the morning. This evening will long be remembered by John and Peter for Pat managed to cook a stew which “everything” had in it. They will gladly give her a reference if any reader is interested in her cooking.

John Bookluck concurs (in part):

Conscious of his leadership, Peter Stitt called us together and made the second amendment to the route. It was obvious to him and us that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Thereby we saved 20 miles of walking. So, within 40 minutes we came to a glorious green pasture. Being weary, we dropped our packs, and devoted our remaining time to smoking and photography. Ah, life was good.

That evening Fred and Jean saw another good bushwalker cook reduced to the level of Peter Stitt, John Bookluck and Clem Hallstrom. For under the soft blue evening sky, P.S. and J.B. introduced Pat S. to the secret of stew-making. What went into the stew that night remains a deep mystery. F.L. claims that his missing spoon was dissolved in it.

Eenaweena relates:

Next day we had a not-too-early breakfast and promptly set out to climb the mountain. Found some aborigine spear-sharpening grooves on top and saw beautiful views of Fitzroy and two other falls. Then we shot across to the other side where we looked right across Kangaroo Valley and the ranges beyond. We met a snake on the way - 6 feet of it - and the photographers went wild, while Peter tried to prod the snake into some action.

John Bookluck has it:

On Saturday morning we decided to climb Mount Carialoo for the sake of bushwalking, since this was no pansy trip, and after all it was only 200 feet to the top of the plateau. On Carialoo we had trouble convincing P. Stitt that we did not want filletted snake for tea - an idea with which he was toying. The snake being large and well-patterned with colour, it called for camera action, photos being taken at 20 feet, 15 feet, 10 feet and 4.5 feet. John B. kicked himself for not having a portrait lens with him.

Eenaweena comments:

Descended the mountain, meeting some wild goats on the way, and left the clearing about 12.30. Hacked our way through dense undergrowth, crossed a little creek and climbed on to a grassy ridge at the side of Carialoo. A storm was blowing up, so we decided to descend into the valley before lunch. But what a descent! Nothing but dense undergrowth, lawyer vines, a 90 degrees slope nearly all the way, and some of the party had to negotiate part of the hill by hanging to monkey vines. Pat managed to fall on the way down, but wasn't hurt, and Fred stepped into a hole and disappeared so that only head and feet showed. However, after all our trials we arrived at the bottom and had a delayed lunch on the verandah of an old farm house. It was, of course, raining again. The de-leeching process took place on this verandah and much human blood dripped on to the floorboards. One member of the party even plucked a leech from off her seat.

John Bookluck contributes:

We left the campsite half an hour earlier than the previous day, bashing our way through “saw-yu” vines and nettles until we came to a shelf. After pacing up and down the shelf P.S. led us over and down a well-greased monkey vine. When and how J.S. came over the shelf remains a mystery. It was good fun.

By 3 p.m. we lunched and counted our spills. P.S. did one only somersault, landing on face. J.S. fed leeches and made a b….y mess of the lunch site. F.L. one only somersault, landing on face, receiving three only scratches. P.S. (??? which P.S.?? - Ed.) bore down a landslide under gravity receiving one only beaut blue bruise. As for J.B. - fate probably has something in store for him.

Eenaweena relates:

We then followed a road into Kangaroo Valley, and it was not long after we hit the Bendeela Road that a truck came along and stopped to give us a lift into Kangaroo Valley township.

We decided to spend the night camped in the local camping area and as the truck had taken us right into town, we started trudging along the road back to Hampden Bridge. We had not proceeded far when an old utility stopped and the driver asked where we were going. When told “to the camping area” he told us to hop on the back, sharing the tray with a dog. Half way down the road Peter informed us that the utility had no brakes as he had noticed the fellow executing a “quick double-shuffle” every time he wanted to stop, but this didn't worry us in the least. We arrived in the camping area and our new found friend got out too, saying “Just make yourselves at home. I'll be around later to collect”. It was the caretaker!

John_Bookluck agrees ruefully:

While walking along the road wondering whether we had done 3 or 4 miles a truck driver needing company proved most obliging, so saving us another 8 miles. We met another obliging character on the way to Kangaroo Valley Tourist Camp. He was really obliging, and insisted an taking us to the ground, enquired about our tenting accommodation and told us he would be around later to collect our camping fee.

And Eenaweena adds:

That night we managed to have a beautiful dinner in between showers aid retired to bed fairly early. And then it started pouring, buckets full all night, but thanks to expert pitching of tents we were not washed out - much to the amazement of all the caravan dwellers around the place. It was still raining in the morning, so we had breakfast in bed and got up about 10 o'clock when the rain had become a drizzle.

After this much discussion followed as to whether we should go on to Yeola and continue the trip, or go to either Moss Vale or Nowra and return to Sydney the same day and meet again on Monday and go to the Show. It was decided to pursue the latter course, and it was still misting as we packed up and trudged along the road towards Nowra. After some time a flat top truck pulled up and the driver kindly offered to take us to the top of Cambewarra Mountain, or rather, where the road branches l miles below the top. We hopped on and off we went sitting on a tarpaulin containing more puddles than I ever thought it possible for such a small area to contain.

We stood in the rain on top of Cambewarra and munched Vita Weets for lunch. We apparently looked so pitiful a sight that a local man, passing in his utility, offered to take us to the main road, and from there a short walk of a mile and a half brought us to Bomaderry Station. We hopped on to a train and were off to Sydney, arriving back about 5.30 p.m.

The next day, the weather being fine, we met again and attended the Show, and there walked many more miles in the one day than we had in the previous three.

John Bookluck winds up:

Rain, rain, rain. Does it ever do otherwise on long weekends? How it plagued us walkers! We had had it. There was only one place for us, Sydney. Good old Sydney. Home, Sweet, Home! So it was unanimously agreed to spend Monday at the Show, where we walked the remaining 20 miles of the scheduled trip.

Accommodation Wanted.

An interesting note in a recent copy of the “Tararua Tramper” tells us that the Wellington Walking Club is planning to leave its old quarters. The building in which they have their present club room is scheduled for demolition within the next few years, and they plan to build themselves a permanent Club House at an estimated cost of £3,000. They derive some consolation from the fact that they have paid £2,550 in rent since 1926, and believe once they have overcome the problem of raising the funds, the Club's recurring costs will be much reduced.

From various sources we learn that there was once a project for the various Sydney walking clubs to amalgamate for the purchase of a permanent home, and one can see certain definite advantages (not to mention many possibilities of disagreement between the clubs participating).

In any case, these days of sky-high property prices would be bad ones to make such an investment, and, even at present rental, our total outlay for the whole of the Club's life would amount to about £1,600.

This is NOT a suggestion, just a few random thoughts inspired by the action of the Tararua Trampers.

June 27th: June 27th: June 27th: June 27th: June 27th.

The Annual Photographic Exhibition.

You've got to be in it to win it!

Field Weekend


How To Go Nuts In Three Easy Lessons.

By “Wombat”.

(Note: Any reference to actual persons is purely accidental).

Early in your walking career you receive a notice informing you there is to be a field weekend in the near future and hinting darkly that your presence at same would be much appreciated. You ponder this bit of innocent seeming information, and wonder what you're in for now. Reading further, you find there is only a four mile walk involved. You are now convinced that there is a catch in it somewhere.

Arriving at the scene of mysteries on Saturday afternoon, you can detect nothing unusual, but nevertheless, you keep a weather eye open. The evening is taken up by a lecture which seems mainly concerned with the evil of such things as cooking on other people's fires and making a row in the middle of the night. Lulled into a false sense of security by this harmless epilogue, you go to bed and sleep soundly.

After breakfast (cooked on your neighbour's fire, as yours unaccountably won't burn) you assemble for a first aid lecture. The lecturer arrives on the scene armed with an imposing array of bandages and what have you; and, catching the eye of some unhappy fellow hauls him out to act as patient. Follows a general treatise on first aid principles, the lecturer waxing eloquent while the patient stands on one leg and looks tired. You view with some alarm the club's policy of 'where possible walk the patient out'. You have a mental vision of yourself walking up the goat track with concussion, a couple of broken legs and other minor injuries, and decide to be more careful about jumping on to loose rocks.

The first demonstration is snakebite, (treatment of). The lecturer applies a tourniquet which is guaranteed to permanently affect circulation and takes a firm grip on the patient and a knife. The class sits up and looks interested: the patient looks worried: the lecturer completes the demonstration in theory. Interest subsides.

Next comes a fractured arm. The lecturer picks up some strips of bark for splints, relieves the patient of his shirt to use for a sling - and turns out a contraption that would give a V.A. nightmares. Next diagnosed is a broken leg. The lecturer grabs some more bark, and, the patient's clothing now reduced to the bare essentials, takes off his own shirt and goes to work. By this time the patient resembles a dead abo wrapped in bark and awaiting burial.

The lecture progresses to resuscitation, half the class having a go at resuscitating the patient, who, by this time, is in a fair way to becoming a casualty in fact as well as fiction.

The sun is warm and the grass is pleasantly soft. In the distance you hear the lecturer explaining the treatment of blisters. You note the lavish use of Elastoplast, and wonder sleepily if the club supplies it free. About an hour later you awake to find the lecture over and everyone preparing lunch.

After lunch you are told off to join one of about six leaders for a map-reading expedition. You don't know any of them, but pick the most harmless looking one and hope for the best. Several other dumb bunnies have the sane idea, and off you go.

Having chosen the steepest ridge leading out of camp and dragged the party, perspiring to the top, the leader gets down to business with a short discourse on orientating the map. Pointing to a gap on the horizon he asks you if you think it could be Erskine Creek. Still recovering from the effects of the climb you couldn't care less if it was Bass Strait gone astray, but, just to humour him, you squint along a bit of stick and agree that it probably is. It probably isn't anyway. It seems to be your bad day. Handing you the map the leader points out a distant goal, and forthwith orders you to lead the party thither. After a couple of false starts owing to having the map upside down, you finally get started with the party following. They remind you of sheep at Flemington going to the slaughter. You wonder why the heck they look so trusting.

With your eyes on distant horizons trying to keep some semblance of a straight course you proceed to fall into numerous holes, trip over logs and strike every patch of Mountain Holly and Prickly Moses on the ridge. The party seems to resent this, and accuses you of doing it on purpose. You consider losing them on purpose, but reflect that you probably will anyway, and abandon the idea.

After about an hour you suddenly find yourself on the edge of a sheer precipice. Funny, you think, the map must be wrong! The leader takes this opportunity to inform you that you have been off course for the last half-hour: “Since that big black tree about a mile back”. Silently you curse the cow and retrace your steps followed by the rest of the party, by this time resigned to anything.

The leader doesn't know it, but it is at this point that you join the ranks of the 'never-use-a-map-travel-by-deadreckoning' brigade. In desperation, you take a wild guess at the direction, clench your teeth and plunge into the scrub. By some miracle it works. For the return trip the leader hands over the map to another mug and you retire thankfully to the rear to nurse badly scratched legs and plan just what you'll do to the person who talked you into joining the bushwalkers.

You begin to see the reason for the oft heard saying: 'You don't have to be mad… !!

Approaching Marriages.

Evans - Dean: On Friday 13th June (fancy that - Friday, 13th!) at Strathfield, Shirley and Kevin. The happy pair to depart pronto to Melbourne. (Which gives rise to the next advt.)

Positions Vacant.

One Sales arid Subscriptions expert for Magazine.

A Letter To The Editor.

“Dear Sir,


The purpose of this correspondence is to suggest what bushwalkers might aim to achieve in bushfire control. But first it is necessary to correct what still appears to be a common belief - that bushfires can be prevented. If anybody believes that all the burners-off, smokers and billy boilers can be made to desist, or exercise due care, he has more naive faith in human nature than has any authority on fire control. Education of the public till reduce outbreaks, but, so long as fire remains the servant of men, never all of them.

Fire control throughout the State, except in State forests, is organised by local government. For manpower it relies on the local bush fire brigades. The work is voluntary, and it is difficult to conceive how it could be otherwise then the number of men required, the intermittency of their work, and the wide dispersal of fires is considered. In some shires the organisation is most efficient. Enlightened self interest has often led to close co-operation in the protection of farming and grazing lands and buildings. But in most of the reserves and crown lands fires are nobody's business - at least until they start to threaten “property”. It is by directing attention to the neglect of these areas and striving to achieve fire protection in them that I believe bushwalkers can make the most effective effort.

Here are three things we could strive for:

  1. The replacement of the solid phalanx of politicians, who form the majority of most large park trusts, by conservationists. I suggest that if the politicians were as interested in conservation as they are in the cottages and lodges provided for them in the reserves, they could long ago have obtained funds for the setting up of fire control organisations. Just one bushwalker on these trusts might get a lot done.
  2. The employment of army trainees in firefighting. They would require equipment and instruction in some of the elements of the work, and could be kept at he ready during “blow-up” periods - actually only a few days a year. Nine-tenths of any army's training is in moving men and equipment quickly to threatened areas. The army already has most of the equipment needed - trucks (including four wheel drive vehicles) bull-dozers, etc. Some special equipment would be needed in addition - knapsack sprays, for instance. A large body of properly equipped men who can get on the spot quickly is the main requirement of fire control. The army has on many occasions lent a hand and I believe that a large proportion of both officers and men would be glad to render such service.
  3. Strive to have just one area, preferably with scenic attractions and easily accessible, protected from fire for long enough for the native animals to regenerate. National Park would be ideal for such a purpose. The present road system would enable fire fighters to get fairly close to a fire quickly, while a number of rough tracks could be used. Furthermore it is within a few miles of large military camps, and, if point (2) were accepted, help would be forthcoming quickly. I believe that if the bush were protected in this area for a few years the native animals would soon increase and could be seen by the public. Such a practical demonstration might be the best argument for control in other areas.

I do not suggest that any of these three things could be done easily, or quickly, or that efforts to achieve them would necessarily be successful. But in getting things done the first essential is to know what we want. The second is to lose no opportunity of telling everybody what we want. These are the lines we have followed in other conservation projects and more than once our small persistent voice has gained us strong support and won out in the and.

Alex Colley.”

Mr. X. - Man of Mystery.

It appears we have in our midst one man who does good by stealth, seeking not publicity, shunning the brief fame of newspaper notices. When the S.B.W. contingent joined the search for the missing party on Cox's River, they managed to get themselves thoroughly photographed - that is, Hooper did, and Frank Young, and John Thornthwaite - and later Peter Stitt. But not self-effacing Mr. X. However, we believe we have coaxed him into giving us his story of the search for the July magazine.

Federation Notes - May Meeting.

By Allen A. Strom.

Scenic Railway (Katoomba) Hiking Contest:

The Manager of the Scenic Railway has offered a prize of £100 for a Hiking Contest if the Federation would organise the Contest. It was decided that the Federation should have nothing to do with any contest and to recommend that no affiliated Club should participate.

Era Lands.

It was agreed that the money subscribed by the Federation to the original Era Fund should be left with the S.B.W. in terms of the motion agreed to at the Extraordinary General Meeting held in April. It was further agreed to compliment the S.B.W. on the handling of Portion 7 and to let the S.B.W. know that the Federation would be interested in assisting any new proposition that the Club may arrive at.

The S.B.W.

Will now be included on the List of Clubs advertised by the Federation.

The Bushfire Committee:

Has indicated that it believes the only manner in which bushwalkers can assist in fighting fires is by joining local bushfire fighting units organised by Local Councils.

Flood Rescue:

The Police Department says it can use canoeists in Flood Rescue but without responsibility to the Department. A copy of the letter from the Police Department is being sent to the Canoe Club.

Federation Reunion:

The Rucksack Club wrote Federation complaining that all members of the Federation Executive were absent from the Re-union. Only one apology was received.

Bluegum Extensions:

The Trustees have again approached the owner of the block neighbouring the Forest with a view to purchasing the subject block.

Ettrema Gorge:

Mr. Wal Roots suggested the Conservation Bureau consider the desirability of having reservations made in the Ettrema Gorge.

Search and Rescue:

There was a short report of the events leading to the discovery of the lost party during the period May 14 and 15th. A full report and finding of the Search and Rescue will be presented at the next meeting.

Social Committee For Ball:

The following persons were elected to the Committee with power to add: (Those absent elected subject to their approval.) Miss Beryl McLean (Bush Club), Miss Molly Gallard (S.B.W.), Mr. Max Nathan (Canoe Club), Mr. Bob Green (St. George B.W.), Mr.Frank Barger (Cruising Canoe Club), Mr. Gil Webb (S.B.W.), Miss Rita Greening (Rucksack).

Search and Rescue Pamphlet:

It is proposed to prepare a small booklet on preparation for a walking trip, what to do to prevent being mislaid and what to do when mislaid to make searches easier. £20 was made available for this work.

On Getting Lost.

Well folks we have had an exciting week. We Bushwalkers like to avoid publicity and emulate the Arabs who fold their tents in the night and quietly steal away, but now and then some unfortunate or careless party gets delayed in the bush and the fun begins. The searchlights of publicity are suddenly turned our way and we are given buckets full of gratuitous advice on how to get found when lost and how to avoid being a burden on the tax-payers. A well dressed bushwalker will soon have to add to the load carried in his “Paddymade” a Verey Pistol, Hunting Horn (John Peel Brand), Transceiving Radio set, bungers, rockets and Tom-Toms plus, of course, his Certificate of Competence issued by the D.C.R.W. (Department for the Control of Recreational Walkers) and Trip Permit.

There is something almost psychopathic in the way in which these matters are treated. The public reaction should interest Anthropologists. The parties which are lost are invariably pictured as in the roughest possible terrain and the difficulties which they face emphasised to the point where only Superman and his cohorts could rescue them. I think in this there is some unconscious throw-back to the “Wild-wood” of ancient lore, wherein lurked wild beasts and were-wolves, witches and ogres (not to mention Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs).

In point of fact to the reasonably careful, prudent person there are very few dangers lurking in the bushlands within 100 miles of Sydney as is demonstrated by the rarety of serious accidents or mishaps.

Nevertheless there are dangers which carelessness, lack of forethought or sheer incompetence can quickly bring to the fore. These incidents therefore should be a salutory warning to all of us that we should be properly equipped and competent to deal with those emergencies which can arise when on extended trips.

Paddy has no stocks of Verey Pistols yet but he can supply a good range of compasses and of course there are stacks of maps and a good range of torches at Paddy's shop.

Paddy Pallin, Camp Gear for Walkers.

201 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. M2678.

195206.txt · Last modified: 2016/06/09 13:09 by tyreless

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