A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
|Editor||Jim Brown, 103 Gipps St., Drummoyne|
|Production and Business Manager||Brian Harvey (JW1462)|
|Sales and Subs.||Gladys Roberts|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Editorial - Making Haste Slowly||1|
|Editorial - On Premature Alarms||2|
|At the July General Meeting||3|
|Walks Programme Alteration||4|
|Search on the Cox||by Tom Wardhaugh||5|
|News from Allan Hardie||9|
|Murray Valley Trip - Aug. 24th to Sept. 4th||11|
|Mark Morton Primitive Area||by Marie B. Byles||12|
|The Photographic Exhibition||13|
|In the Steps of the Explorers (Part 2)||by Kevin Ardill||14|
|“Hikers Lost In Bush”||by “X”||18|
|Federation Notes||by Allen A. Strom||21|
|Scenic Motor Tours||3|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop||5|
|Siedleekyls Taxi & Tourist Service||15|
|Paddymade Tent Attacked by a Bear in the Rockies||22|
In the game of conservation it is occasionally possible to make a bold gesture - the stroke which saved Blue Gum Forest from the axe in 1931, for instance - but as a rule the conservationists, who are probably half a century ahead of the majority of citizens in appreciating the need for saving our bushlands, have to nibble at the matter.
Conservation is seldom a broad highway, along which one may stride. Usually it is a tortuous creek, with great rocks, thorny scrub, deep cold pools, and rushing cascades, and one makes slow travelling upstream, boulder-hopping, sometimes pausing to think and retreating and trying it another way.
This is how it is with our efforts to spur some action on the question of Bush Fire Control. Some months ago we placed our opinions before various political, agricultural and industrial bodies, pointing out how bush fires, by destroying the protecting vegetation, paved the way for floods and soil erosion. All this apart from the damage to property, precious timber, and scenic attractions. Some very flattering replies were received from these people and probably most of them would agree quite sincerely that our views are correct, and that we have not overstated the gravity of the position. Indeed one might be forgiven for expecting to see some dramatic action taken.
Of course it isn't. People may honestly agree with you, but it doesn't follow that your advice is taken. The authorities we have contacted realise that adequate fire control in reserves, parks and Crown land would demand a vast outlay in purchase of equipment and the provision of manpower during danger periods, and they simply cannot see the local Councils (which organise bush fire control in their own areas) concerning themselves with just plain bush. The emphasis is on property first, second and third, and the bush is nobody's baby - except the Nation's.
So we must accept that point of view for the present, and the recommendations of the Club's sub-committee, which have now been relayed to the Premier, the Prime Minister and the Bush Fires Committee are relatively conservative and call for no drastic changes. These recommendations are such that they apply equally to the outer suburban areas and virgin bush, and if they are adopted, will open the way for more intensive campaigning to save our bush lands. It is likely to be a protracted, plugging programme, but there is no short-cut, and what we are seeking to do is the right thing. All we can do is last the distance and never allow ourselves to admit it is a lost cause.
It has been suggested that the July editorial, when it referred to a “premature alarm”, implied some criticism of Victorian Search and Rescue. This was certainly not intended. S & R is not inclined to generate alarm - very much the reverse - and once the Melbourne organisation had been summoned they could do nothing else but respond to the call, which they did promptly and in large numbers.
We still hold that the search was premature, however. The missing party had been due to return on a Sunday, and on Monday parents notified the police. S & R was called on that night, the first parties setting out on Tuesday morning. By Wednesday night, the searchers and ancillary “troops” numbered more than 150. On Thursday the lost party was discovered, still walking, and within two miles of a road.
Apparently the Victorian S & R made an excellent showing, and are now in high favour with the authorities. Their action was beyond reproach, but when we consider that the missing party consisted of six mature people, with adequate gear, it does appear that the alarm was given 48 hours too soon.
Fifty of us were well met for the July meeting, and President Malcolm McGregor had scarcely called the meeting to order, and introduced the two new members, Elsie Bruggy and Alan Wilson, when a resurgence of the late unlamented Noises Off Club threatened the calm of the evening. At first it might have been taken for an over-enthusiastic welcome to our newest members, but it was soon clear that a gallows was being erected on the floor above. We couldn't even take action in accordance with the By-Laws.
Secretary Gladys Martin battled through minutes and correspondence, it being moved “That we receive the correspondence we didn't hear”. Being close to the front we managed to hear that the Northumberland County Council had wanted the oil refinery, in fact, had a first class spot for it at Salamander Bay (too late): also from the Scouting Movement, in reply to Jack Gentle's representations, that although scouts may not be saints, we should not blame them for all the destruction of saplings. In fact, there was fairly conclusive evidence that the cutting of timber at Bungaroo had been the work of other campers. However, the conservation case would be published again in the current scouting bulletin.
When Allen Strom's more powerful voice took over (to read the Federation report) the hammering subsided, defeated. It was quiet during the reading of the financial statement, and the President's announcement that constitutional amendments for the September meeting should be delivered to the August Committee for report. Bill Cosgrove asked about several huts built between Marley and Little Marley, and it appeared that they were on small parcels of land surrounded by National Park, but not of it. The matter had been aired in Federation and there was nothing to be done at present.
Then, there being no further business, the meeting closed at 8.20 p.m. And there this report should end, except for the fact that the meeting promptly rose, Phoenix-like, from its ashes. It happened so. Gwen Frost questioned a note in the Federation report on camping on private land on the Cox. Allen Strom explained that the landowner certainly could refuse campers. Dot Butler offered and sold a pair of sneakers, notwithstanding additional ventilation supplied by Ira. The President observed that a clean-out of the archives had produced one cardigan, one scarf, and one pair of gloves. Any owners?
Taking advantage of the surreptitiously re-opened meeting, Gil Webb referred to Wal Roots' offer at an earlier meeting of throwing open his grounds for a bush party, and suggested it may be possible to hold a barbecue as the Christmas Party. Jack Wren carried it further by moving that we do just that. Tom Moppett asked if the blackberries had been cleared, and David Roots said yes. The carpenter above put out his cigarette and resumed building the coffin, and Kath Brown had to shout her suggestion that we refer the whole thing to the Social Secretary first. Wouldn't it be better to have a bush party somewhere you could camp? The President said you could camp at Wahroonga and David Roots agreed - there were six acres of the home block, and miles of bush beyond.
Frank Young now moved an adjournment of the motion so that the Social Secretary could be brought into the picture. Jack Wren thought the existing Social team had full hands with the 25th Birthday celebrations, and a special committee should be set up. Gil Webb supported the postponement of discussion, and Kath Brown mentioned an idea to have a fancy dress party for the Christmas show in the Club Room - why not a bush party as well? The amendment and amended motion were carried.
Whereupon for the second and last time, the meeting closed at 8.35, the Noises Off Club drove the last nail, and there was peace for the rest of the evening.
The official walk programmed for September 5-6-7, Leader Ken Meadows, has been transferred to a later date - October 10-11-12. This is due to the leader being booked for his annual holidays during early September.
by Tom Wardhaugh (Secretary, Search and Rescue Section).
The party, consisting of John Newton and five youngsters, was reported overdue on an 8-day trip starting from Katoomba and proceeding via Nelly's Glen, Megalong, Cox's River to Kedumba, thence King's Tableland to Wentworth Falls. A parent rang Paddy Pallin on Monday, and Paddy advised them to do nothing until Tuesday, as the party was then only one day overdue.
On Tuesday Paddy was again contacted by parents, and he then 'phoned the S & R Secretary. An alert was given to Club contact men, who were asked to report in the afternoon with the number of men available. By 3 o'clock we had nine men, and a meeting of contact men was called for five that night. The Police were informed and Inspector Newton of Parramatta rang to say that another of the boys parents had been in touch with them. It was arranged to send the search party up by Police car that night, and all men were to meet at Strathfield at 8 p.m. Contact men were again notified and they passed this information on to all members. Each man was asked to carry walking kit for four days, together with food of high sugar content variety. Rope was arranged for one party in case Cox's River was in flood.
The meeting at 5 p.m. formulated a plan to cover the complete route of the overdue party. This was as follows:-
|Party A||Nelly's Glen - Megalong - Six Foot Track - Cox's River - Blue Dog - Medlow Gap|
|Party B||Narrow Neck - Black Dog - Cox's River - Blue Dog - Medlow Gap|
|Party C||King's Tableland - Cox's River - Policeman Range - Black Dog - Medlow Gap|
All parties were to report to Medlow Gap an Thursday night. Should a group locate the missing party, their actions were left open to meet the circumstances and, if the three parties did not join up, the parties at Medlow Gap were to remain until Friday and return to Katoomba that afternoon. Before leaving it was agreed that Paddy would not send any further parties out until he had been contacted by the advance party.
The search unit met as arranged at Strathfield Station, and were joined by Inspector Newton who had news that the overdue crew had been seen at the foot of Black Dog on Friday. He arranged that we speak with the informant, Peter Cunningham (not a member of an affiliated club) who had realised his knowledge was important after seeing newspaper reports of the missing party. His information was that the party had camped at the foot of Black Dog on Friday night and had intended to follow through with their plan.
This changed our plans, and, on arriving at Katoomba, we were given what information the Police had, and from this stage the operation of the actual search was left in our hands. Because of the rain and fog it was decided no good purpose would be gained from setting out that night, so we spent that night in Katoomba Court House. We rang McMahon's farm to see if the party had been sighted in that area, but they had no knowledge of them. The Cox's River was not up to any degree, so our fears in that regard were cast aside.
We were then contacted by the R.A.A.F., Penrith, who informed us that a 'plane would conduct a search of the area, weather permitting. They were given map references of the most likely area and means of identification arranged. This was, as far as the Search parties were concerned, that they should stand still in a triangle, with a marker in the middle, the marker to be a clearly distinguishable object, e.g., a yellow plastic ground sheet.
The parties were then arranged in three groups of three members each, and were given areas to cover. We now had a limited area or, should I say, a more limited area, because it was five days since the missing people had been sighted.
|Party A||T. Wardhaugh, N. Allen (Kameruka Club) and R. Kippax (Rucksack Club) to cover the Policeman Range area from Black Dog and proceed to McMahon's via the Cox|
|Party B||J. Hooper (S.B.W.), K. Armstrong (Rucksack Club) and F. Young (S.B.W.) Kedumba to Cox's River, then upstream as far as Cedar Creek then back, covering the north side of the Cox to McMahon's|
|Party C||E. Dehn (Y.M.C.A. Ramblers), J. Thornthwaite (S.B.W.) and K. Meadows (S.B.W.) - King's Tableland to McMahon's, then up the south side of the Cox till they contacted Party A, and return to McMahon's|
All parties were to meet at McMahon's on Thursday night.
To interrupt the actual search detail, it may be of interest to note that we had been worried by some Press reporters. One paper man wanted a photographer to accompany Party A. Little sleep was had that night, and all members were up at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, to be greeted by flashbulbs, rain and fog. All parties left about 5 a.m.
The rest of the trip is, of course, divided up into the various logs of each party, so shall give only the lucky party's report. It should be noted, however, that Peter Stitt of S.B.W. joined Party B at Harris Humpy on Wednesday and that he and Keith Armstrong met the first group at Moody's on Thursday morning. Party C also arrived at the same spot before the boys and teacher were taken further downstream.
|0500 hrs.||Left Katoomba along Narrow Necks. Still dark, with fog and rain.|
|0600 - 0730 hrs.||Breakfast, Corral Swamp.|
|1000 hrs.||Debert's Nob. Raining, with fog still about. Low visibility. Party wet through.|
|1150 - 1315 hrs.||Lunch and drying time at foot of Black Dog. Sun now out. Footprints sighted, by size could be lost party.|
|1345 hrs.||Lost party picked up below Red Dog, just before track leaves river to climb lower spurs of Policeman Range. Group rather weak due to lack of food, but responded well to soup, fruit and custard, cocoa and chocolate. Norman Allen left at 1400.hrs. for McMahon's to take news and to bring remainder of party, if he could locate any, to Moody's.|
|1415 hrs.||'Plane sighted and identification verified. (Rus. still wants to know why they had to drop the note in the River - purely a dry-boot walker.)|
|1530 hrs.||After patching up blisters, etc., proceeded slowly over Policeman Range to Moody's.|
|1800 hrs.||Arrived Moody's.|
|1045 hrs.||Left Moody's, joined by K. Armstrong, P. Stitt and members of “C” party.|
|1200 hrs. (approx.)||Met police in three jeeps at second crossing above McMahon's. We passed the boys into their care. They were met by parents at McMahon's and, of course, the Press got to work again. J. Hooper and F. Young had covered the top track from Harris Humpy to McMahon's and were there on our arrival.|
All parties were transported to Sydney by Police transport. The opinions gleaned from this search were:
The Butlers have too many possessions and wish to dispose of the following at give-away prices:- “Silent Knight” gas refrigerator £30; cream wicker dropside cot; baby's basinette; twin pusher; 3-ft. metal bed; 3-ft wooden bed; lounge suite; ball-bearing lawn mower; strong walking sandals, size 6 and size 8; leather soled sandshoes size 6; set aluminium pots; cast aluminium kettle and frying pan. Anyone interested see Dot. No reasonable offer refused. FX6179.
A combined walk with the Newcastle Technical College Bushwalking Club will be held an the 30-31st August to Somersby Falls out from Gosford. All walkers interested please contact Ross Laird for further particulars. A good weekend's walk is assured for all those who attend.
We have received from Allan Hardie a letter written during the crossing of the Indian Ocean, and posted in India. Notwithstanding that it was an Air Letter Form and bore a stamp which we interpret as 6 annas, it was variously marked with postal heiroglyphics which we can't read - except the last sentence “forwarded by sea mail”. Hence the delay. The letter reads:
“C/- S.S. “Neptunia”, Indian Ocean, near Cocos Island.
Sunday, 27th April, 1952.
Please publish this letter in the “Sydney Bushwalker” for the benefit of those Club members who, like David Ingram and Bill Cosgrove, are interested in my peregrinations.
The “Neptunia” is both a floating palace and a League of Nations ship. I have with me in my cabin an Englishman in the Colonial Service with a real Oxford accent, an old Italian from the sugar cane country of Queensland, Luighi, and a sun-tanned German with a guttural accent, for all the world resembling a U-boat commander. At the dining table I have for my companions a Spaniard from the Philippines, a Russian and a Dutchman.
The Russian has compared our Australian Trans-Continental Railway with the trans-continental railway in Siberia, to the detriment of the former, of course.
All notices in the ship are given in four languages, Italian, English, French and German. All the staff on board are Italians, most of them speaking a smattering of English. In accordance with the continental custom, breakfast (Colozione) is only a light meal, and I had great trouble in convincing the steward that I was used to eating a hearty breakfast. By an ingenious use of the Italian words “Io mango tutti” (I eat everything) I have been able to secure my steak and egg for breakfast.
Midday meal (Pronzo), however, compensates by becoming a veritable Belshazzar's Feast, with one course following another in an endless array, and tea at 7 p.m. (called “Cena” in Italian) is another meal in the same category.
One thing hits me forcibly on the ship, and that is the subtle way Italians have of extracting extra lire out of the unwary traveller. I changed my Australian money into Italian only to find out too late that I should have received 1,400 instead of 1,200 lire to the Australian pound. Every third night they have housie-housie (Tomboli) the profits from which go, not to some recognised charity, but to the ship.
I had a glass of beer in one saloon and paid fifty lire (10d.) for it, but on going to the bar on the higher floor I paid 75 lire for a glass of beer about the same size (i.e. I paid 1/3d. in Australian currency). On asking why there was a difference in the price I was told that the beer sold on the lower deck was Italian, whereas that sold on the higher floor was Australian. So, for appreciating Australian products one is penalised to the extent of 50%. I heard someone very appropriately remark the other night that it was a wonder slot-machines had not been installed on the toilet conveniences.
Still, I am sailing in a luxury liner.
Yours, Allan Hardie.”
The Calcoola Club is organising a truck trip from Sydney to Bathurst, Orange, the Canoblas, Parkes, Lake Cargelligo, Griffith, Hay, Balranald, Euston, the Victorian Wimmera and return via Murray Valley, Albury, Gundagai and Canberra. Travel is by the Club's truck, with tenting, cooking and eating utensils provided. Share of cost (including food) estimated at £14 per person. Deposit of £5 required by August 15th. Contact Allen Strom ('Phones WB2520, WB2528-9) for further details.
Leigh Hart, leaving the Club to return to New Zealand, has sent a letter which relates that some of his happiest times in New South Wales have been in the bush with our members. He invites any member who wishes to keep in touch with him, or who proposes to visit N.Z. to write him - L.I. Hart, C/- Mrs. Hart, 15 Guthrie Street, Lower Hutt, Wellington, N.Z.
by Marie B. Byles.
(In forwarding the above, Marie Byles has added a comment that there is a fresh bid on the part of timber cutters to gain access to the Mark Morton Reserve. For at least five years the Club has been associated with efforts to preserve the Mark Morton area from woodmillers - and it appears that our vigilance will be needed for years to come. - Editor.)
Perhaps the array of photographs in the Club Room on the night of June 27th was not as large as in some recent years, but the quality of the enlargements was of the high standard which has become the accepted thing. More than twenty exhibitors, including two visitors and one prospective member, had produced a sizeable display, and while some of the prints could be remembered from other exhibitions, the great bulk of the show was fresh.
President Malcolm McGregor announced the placings, and observed that for several years past we had introduced a judge from outside the Club. These gentlemen had invariably complained at the difficulty of making a selection, and after a panel of five Club members had reviewed the exhibition on this occasion, he could well sympathise with their complaint. There had been great difficulty in making a choice between the first four, but the final decision had been:
Honourable mention was also made of a Cave Scene by Beverley Price, Peggy Bransdon's light-and-shade study of an old Church wall and door, “Cloudmaker” by Sally Mackay, another Peggy Bransdon print of a snow-field in the Alps in summer. Roley Cotter was represented by an attractive river scene, and Phil Hall by the richly atmospheric “cart travelling along a tree-fringed road”.
Amongst those we liked personally was a study in darkness, mud and sombre trees by Malcolm McGregor, some high-class “candids” by Peggy Bransdon and Ken Meadows, the palms in Brian Harvey's Pacific Island photographs (you could almost hear the wind rustling them!), Betty Hall's Banksia Tree at Era, Malcolm McGregor's Black Boy (the grass tree variety) and some studies of aborigines by Ira Butler. Arthur Gilroy's “Damper Making” had an obvious appeal.
The evening's official business closed with applause for the sorely-tried judges and for Roley Cotter, who had organised the display. The exhibitors rushed off to collect their items, and some of the audience to catch up on the features they had missed whilst talking.
by Kevin Ardill.
(The story of the re-enactment of the first crossing of the Blue Mountains, related by “Gregory Blaxland”.)
As we left Springwood next morning the local school teachers made a “surprise attack”. Dressed as bushrangers, they loosed a volley of shots which scared the daylights out of the horses, and we went through to Faulconbridge very smartly. It was amazing the way these small towns organised, how friendly and sincere the welcome, the enthusiasm of the school kiddies. We ate the best of their food, drank all their bottled beer (not the kids') and still they cheered us along the way.
The youngsters at Faulconbridge led us to the park, singing their own song of welcome and there we had refreshments. Met Mr. Joe Jackson, the district member, who showed us over Henry Parkes' old home, and then attended a quiet ceremony at his grave. The kids farewelled us with a shower of flowers, but I suspect some would have been just as happy with a handful of bricks instead of rose petals. We were an hour late when we left, and didn't care. We hated to go, but we promised to visit Frank Pickett at his home when passing. I think Eric Dehn made the promise the previous day, but the horses were thirsty and I can't bear to see an animal in distress. It's impossible to speed a horse with his nose in a bucket, so we were forced to sip a little, while we waited.
“Life is mostly froth and bubble”… Ho, hum!… and the envoy from Woodford is disturbed to find the explorers stationary. The people were gathering at Woodford, and it was miles away. Panic! To horse! to horse! and away we went. We did the 7 1/2 miles in 1 hour 55 minutes and arrived in Woodford about an hour earlier than the envoy anticipated with the result that the people who had returned to their homes were hurriedly recalled when a watcher saw us arriving.
The historic Academy was our shelter for the night. Originally it was Buss' Inn, an old stage coach stop-over, the landlord having the traditional red waistcoat and ruddy cheeks. Having our share of ruddy cheek also, we made ourselves at home, and loafed for the afternoon. A short ceremony at the Park, where we planted some trees, was the only official duty for the day, but we promised to attend the Welfare Boys' Home in the evening for a short visit. At dusk we were “captured” at the Academy by a band of “abos” who looked very much like the local Cubs under the charcoal disguises. One bright lad cracked me on the shin with a nulla nulla and left an impression which lasted several days.
We escaped after a feast of witchetty grubs (confections), crayfish and snake (long sausages). After dinner in the old Inn we visited the Welfare Home where the 30 boys shook hands with seven explorers. Work it out yourself how many hands were shaken, but we had the experience of the view from the lookout with the boys singing to us in the clear moonlit night. Then again to bed.
Fine weather favoured us next morning. Chasing four mokes around a dewy paddock restored our appetites and so we did justice to a large breakfast, planted a tree in front of the Academy, and with the well-wishes of a mall group, we set out for Lawson. En route the townspeople of Hazelbrook claimed us and during the reception we were introduced to the oldest resident, who insisted on kissing the explorers. While appreciating the gesture - and her courage - I do think the Committee might have picked the prettiest girl for the task.
Morning tea was well up to standard, home cooked food, and we masticated for about an hour in the company of the cheerful crowd before leaving for Lawson. Opposite the Kihilla guest house we joined up with the procession and “had our photos took”. The amateur photographers along the trip gave us many laughs. Most of them underestimated our rate of progress, and trotted backwards along the highway trying to get us in focus. Others stood still and, as the shutter clicked, swung the camera in an arc to include the whole party. The best effort was by the lad who trotted backward with box camera to eye and snapped us smartly - quite unaware that his camera was back to front - honest!
The procession, plus explorers, arrived about noon and there was a large crowd present. For the first time we met Messrs. Guy Blaxland, Andrew Lawson and William Wentworth, M.H.R., who were representing their respective families. We were to see these gentlemen later on a number of occasions, and it speaks well for their fortitude that they turned up time and time again at receptions to greet seven pretenders, a little dirtier and hairier at each successive meeting. Four of us were staying at the hotel and through a misunderstanding we missed the lunch prepared for us. Everyone was very apologetic, but we were pleased to give our digestive systems a rest.
A display by the combined school children entertained us, and after signing about a million autographs, returned to our hotel. Intermittent rain appeared likely to spoil the night entertainment, but after dinner the sky cleared. A variety programme plus fireworks provided the amusement for a large crowd and we left mid-way through the show to go to a party at Kihilla Guest House. The party was good, but Joe and Eric must have been a little weary because they left at midnight. Unfortunately, the hotel people, Mr. and Mrs. Bridges, were at the party and the pub was shut. When we made our way home about 3 a.m. I was the only one who didn't expect to see Joe and Eric crouched shivering on the doorstep. I crawled into my cot at 4 a.m., with the rain pouring outside.
Sunday was a complete rest. I inspected the water pipe at the rear of the hotel that Joe and Eric had climbed to effect entry to their second floor bedroom the previous night. The rain persisted nearly all day and washed out plans for bowls and golf as guests of the Lawson sporting clubs. Several of the boys braved the elements and played golf.
Our horses were in a large paddock near the hotel, and we had some minor trouble on Monday morning when catching them. One horse jumped the gate, but Joe was quick and next moment had the feed bag cord around its neck. With the moke pawing the air, Joe grimly hanging on and calling for help, there was as nice a spine tingler as you could wish for. Charlie rushed with the halter and all was saved. My opinion of Joe went up 100% and my love of horses diminished by a similar amount as we headed back for breakfast.
Just prior to leaving Lawson, Ray walked a little close to the rear of his horse and the animal promptly kicked him. Some first aid on Ray's thigh, which bore the imprint of a hoof, and then Mr. Bridges arrived with a brandy. Ray must have been pretty dazed because he declined it, but the way my nerves were I needed it the most, so it wasn't wasted.
The rain had stopped, and in no time we were in Bullaburra. We planted trees in front of the Progress Hall and then adjourned inside to a large log fire and mountains of food.
Lou Ranson, 2KA announcer “gave us the air” when we arrived at the station. I suppose the description and interviews took about 20 minutes and were climaxed by the arrival of a hostile abo. A dusky-skinned character named Percy had been done up with white paint into a very life-like native. While we were being interviewed, Percy crouched at the rear of the radio station. The day was very cold. Perce was clothed only in underpants, gum leaves and white paint, so some one took pity on his shivering form. They gave him a bottle of rum to sip. The sips were either long or frequent, and when his cue came to front the explorers, the bottle was empty.
Perce was armed with spear, boomerang, stuffed snake skin and a recently deceased rabbit. The one-man Corroboree really went to town, finally assaulting Eric with the rabbit and spraying us all with blood. We found afterwards that the chap who gave him the rum had also advised him to clout an explorer with the bunny. The deed well done, Perce collapsed on to the bumper bar of a car.
The procession into the town was the longest ever. The official part was half a mile long, but following cars and lorries were compelled to fall in and by the time we reached the town, the involuntary part stretched about a mile. We were welcomed by the usual large crowd, whisked around to the bowling club for afternoon tea, and then we camped. We were roughing it at the Grand View Hotel (heating in every room) and the official dinner was held there. It was one of those dinners you dream about on a two weeks trip with dried veg. etc. Choice of turkey, duck or cockerel and more if you wanted it. Short speeches, long toasts, and the evening procession forming outside. We were in our glamour togs and so we hurried to change, but the local policeman thought it would be a good idea to parade in our best. We fell in behind the band, the three explorers abreast, the four servants dutifully a couple of paces behind.
We went up the street, we care back, we bowed to the right and we bowed to the left, and hardly got a clap. The procession then headed for the barbecue paddock behind the publ. The light dawned. “Let's get out of this!” and we flew back to our rooms and climbed into our walking rig-outs. There were hundreds on the floodlit paddock, the arrival of the explorers was announced, and we were given a huge reception. Some one enquired if we saw the procession, and suspicion turned into certainty. Apart from one policeman, nobody knew the explorers were in the bally show!
(It may have taken the original explorers only 17 days to cross the Blue Mountains. Because of space, it's going to take three months to tell the tale of their successors. However, we guarantee to find the way over the mountains by the September Issue.)
The two newly engaged couples:
Gladys Martin and Len Fall, whose engagement was made public on Sunday 20th.
Helen Brooks and Bill Horton, both at present abroad. We understand they are returning to Australia during the next few months.
Continued from the July Issue….
Meanwhile, what of the others? First, the intrepid three battling it out over Narrow Neck.
Leaving the newspaper hounds in full cry, Tom, Russ and Norm raced through the blanketing fog until at Corral Swamp they stayed the rumblings of their stomachs. Temporarily refreshed it was not long before they descended Clear Hill, place of many happy walking memories.
Round and down they sped, down Black Dog like Olympian Gods descending from high Olympus to the mortals below. On reaching the Cox they, like the Immortals, dined on sweet ambrosia - chicken and noodle soup. Think of it reader - chicken and noodle soup while the party which I graced had not even a cup of water. More, for “just round the next bend” were the objects of our quest: five famished boys. They had to be content with pea and ham soup!
Dusting the crumbs from their hairy legs the heroes continued their quest. The Gods smiled. A shaft of sunlight lured Norm Allen over a low rise and he smiled. Before him sat the starving boys awaiting their deliverer. Poor kids, hungry as they were, worse was in store for them - they had yet to meet Norm Allen.
Hastily wiping the last dribble of noodle from his chin he strode forward to greet John Newton with his young charges. To cries of “have you got something to eat” he downed pack and doled out chocolate. When the other two came up Tom suggested that Norm leave some food and go through to McMahons' farm, meet Eric Dehn's party and bring us back to where the lost boys were.
It was about 2 o'clock and the fog had cleared about half an hour as Norm's legs again started their uniform rhythm. Just after crossing Policeman's Range and near Moody's abandoned farm, the R.A.A.F. search 'plane hove in sight and commenced to circle over Norm who unsuccessfully tried to stand in triangular formation with himself. Just at this moment the observer spotted the now found “missing” party so the 'plane abandoned Norm to his long bash to McMahon's.
Circling over the boys the 'plane dropped a message stick which fluttered down into the Cox. A second was dropped but it, too, met a watery reception. The notes were retrieved and the instructions obeyed, the boys standing in line with Tom, Russ and John Newton (substituting for Norm Allen) at the three corners of an imaginary triangle. Winging off, the 'plane relayed its message to awaiting world - found.
Norm continued belting it out for civilisation while the boys were fed, taken over Policeman's Range and bedded down in preparation for the walk out on the Thursday.
To return to party No.2. Jim Hooper, Frank Young and Keith Armstrong like Eric Dehn's party along King's Tableland, were also rans. However they had a story to tell and Frank Young is the one to tell it.
(Of necessity, Frank Young's story repeats certain of the incidents related by Mr. “X” in last month's issue - or in the “authorised version” by leader Tom Wardhaugh, published this month. What follows, then, are some snippets from his report - Ed.)
“When we set off from the Sanatorium the weather had moderated to a light drizzle with thick mist. At the turn off of the Goat Track our party split up, Keith going down the Goat Track, Jim and I down the main pass, but when we met at Maxwell's farm for breakfast, there was nothing to report.
After breakfast we continued on down to the Cox, where a quick lunch was eaten. The weather had cleared and when we started up the river the sun was shining. Nothing happened until the ford near Cedar Creek, a R.A.A.F. Dakota appeared without a “how-do-you-do”. Dropping “everything” we formed our pre-arranged signal by standing in a triangle (We're not sure what Frank means by dropping everything, but from information received, the searchers were preparing for a deep ford: their attire was more suitable than modest. In fact Mr. “X” reports that one was sheltering behind his wrist watch as the 'plane passed. Just you try to form a dignified triangle like that, now!)
“We saw the Dakota circling upstream, but unfortunately didn't know it had seen rescuers and rescued. Back at the camp at the hut that night we were star tied by loud crashings in the bush, and Peter Stitt, on leave from Richmond R.A.A.F. station, joined us.
“We talked over our plans that night, eating squashed pears which Peter had brought, and decided to split into two parties, Peter and Keith to search the Cox on the way down, and Jim and myself to take the high road under King's Tableland cliffs down to McMahon's.
“It was when Jim and I arrived at McMahon's we learned that the missing party had been found the previous day, and that jeeps had gone upstream to bring them out. Mrs. McMahon offered us lunch, so we accepted and had just finished then the jeeps returned with boys, policeman, walkers, dogs and all.” (Mr. “X” takes up his story.)
Thursday morning. The newshounds, swelled far beyond the numbers who plagued us at Katoomba, wanted to get Mr. McMahon's story and get back to the river crossing where the Police intended to deliver the missing to their anxious parents. To do this the Cox, up about eighteen inches, had to be forded with the water above the knees. One of the local lads showed the resource common to all young males and did a thriving trade ferrying them across in an old metal punt at 10/- per crossing per head, two at a time.
Our old friends Rumboogie and the Red Nosed Reindeer didn't believe in spending their money on water, so Rumboogie attempted to walk across. Owing, no doubt, to the unaccustomed fluid, he stepped in a pothole up to his waist. Mean-While, the Red Nosed Reindeer and another penurious newshound earned a just retribution when they attempted to cross in the punt by themselves. Gurgle, gurgle - and they were sitting in water to their waist. I wonder if the boy pulled the plug out?
I can't resist the temptation to talk about myself again. Last month saw us going up the Cox to assist in bringing the boys out. little remains to be told.
We reached the boys and their rescuers as they were leaving Moody's. The youngsters insisted on carrying their own packs and we only helped them at the crossings, of which we had several before reaching the Police party. Three Police jeeps loaded with food met us some miles from McMahan's and after we all demolished mountainous quantities of lunch the jeeps, piled high with bodies, deposited us with the parents - and the press.
In conclusion, I would like to extend the thanks of the S & R parties to the Police and put on record the reasonably accurate reporting of “The Sydney Morning Herald”. The “Herald” staff were at all times helpful and courteous.
By Allen A. Strom.
The following Officers were elected :-
|Senior Vice-President||Allen Strom|
|Junior Vice-President||Tom Wardhaugh|
|Honorary Secretary||Stan Cottier|
|Assistant Secretary||Beryl McLean|
|Minutes Secretary||(Miss) D. Hetherington|
|Honorary Treasurer||Tom Kenny-Royal|
Paul Barnes has been nominated for one of the ten places on the executive that will carry on the future work of the Forum. Elections will take place shortly.
For Bushfire Rangers. The President will investigate this matter for the forthcoming bushfire danger period.
At Blue Gum Forest. Mr. Hordern has indicated that he is not interested in selling.
Is including the address of the Secretary of the Federation on its publications.
Mrs. Kath Brown will act as typist for this Section. Typed information will be displayed at Paddy's.
The Section is seeking information about affiliation with the central rescue body of the Police.
Will be held on Friday, September 12th, at the University Union Hall, Tickets 16/-.
There were about twenty volunteers for this section. Norman Allen was appointed Acting Convener. The first meeting of the section is on August 7th at 6.30 p.m. in the rooms of the Big Sister Movement, Hosking Place, Sydney.
One of our members, browsing through official walks programmes, estimated that members spend at least £600 per year in fares paid to the N.S.W. Government Railways in travelling to Club walks.
Said the lady, viewing Peter Page's cabin with the thought of having a really primitive holiday. “Oh, a wardrobe! That makes it perfect!”
University Union Hall
On Friday, 12th September
Tickets 16/-, from your Social Secretary.
Paddy got a letter from a foot-loose much travelled young man the other day enquiring re cost of a new tent. The old one (a “Paddymade”, of course) had been ripped to ribbons by a bear in the Rocky Mountains. Just why the bear attacked the tent he did not say. We can only presume the owner had the presence of mind to be absent in body at the time. It only goes to show how Paddymade gear gets about.
Paddy has two news items this month.
Plastic groundsheets. Paddy is now selling plastic film cape groundsheets in two sizes 6' x 3' and 7' x 4'. They are made from a heavy grade film and welded. These groundsheets can be repaired if ripped or holed. For those wanting a reliable lightweight compact cape groundsheet at a low price, here's the very thing.
|Prices||6' x 3'||£1. 0. 3||(weight 12 ozs.)|
|7' x 4'||£l. 5. 6||(weight 20 ozs.)|
Powdered mashed potato. Here is another prayer answered, mashed potato instantly! Just add boiling water to powdered potato and presto! - mashed potato. It's got to be seen to be believed. 9d. per 2 oz. packet.
Paddy Pallin, Camp Gear For Walkers.
201 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. 'Phone M2678.