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||Jess Martin.|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey.|
|Editorial - Proving Our Case||1|
|At the December General Meeting||3|
|Youth Trapped in Cave||“Oolite”||6|
|Felling of Timber - Upper Hunter Valley||10|
|The Mad Mile||11|
|Federation Notes - December||Allen A. Strom||15|
|Era Blacked Out||15|
|Scenic Motor Tours||5|
|Siedlecky's Taxi & Tourist Service||9|
|Leica Photo Service||11|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||13|
During the last few months the Club has been able to call attention to breaches of the law by timber cutters in two widely separated areas. The first was the extensive milling in the Putty Valley and on Wollemi Creek, where indiscriminate cutting along stream banks had caused serious erosion. In this case the offence was against the Water Act, which forbids felling of trees within one chain of most of the waterways of the State, and a recent letter from the Minister for Conservation acknowledged that our information was correct and our complaint warranted.
The other instance was the encroachment on the Mark Morton Reserve by timber cutters operating from the Bendela Road in Kangaroo Valley. This was a timely discovery, since it coincided with our efforts to prevent disposal of the area as a Flora Reserve, to be put to the axe at the discretion of the Forestry Department, and demonstrated the eagerness of the millers to gain access to the Reserve. Here again the Department admitted our accuracy, stating that the trespass amounted to a few chains only, and the work had been halted as soon as it was known the cutters had moved into Mark Morton Reserve.
There are several consequences of these representations. It must be plain to officers of the Departments concerned that our members do get around: that we notice these things: and that our data is correct. They may not actually enjoy or appreciate having to investigate our complaints, but when we can prove that we are justified they must be impressed to the extent of taking our representations quite seriously. We can scarcely be dismissed as cranks, whingers or irresponsibles. And when we suggest that certain lands should be reserved, they can scarcely write us off as arm-chair conservationists.
This is one kind of conservation activity in which every active walker can and should participate - but there are a few guiding principles or rules. First and foremost, the information should not be jealously stored up to be sprung on the next General Meeting, which can hardly be expected to make a snap decision. The intelligence should reach the Conservation Secretary or other Club officer as early as possible, so that enquiries and research can be made before a meeting decides on action, and it should not be overlooked that the President and Conservation Secretary have a standing authority to act in these matters without waiting for the consent of a General Meeting.
The information which should reach the Conservation Secretary should be precise. We can all read maps, and should be able to pinpoint exactly where the trespass is occurring. The nature of the trouble should be made quite clear - cutting of timber on a river bank, wild flower stealing in a protected area, erection of buildings or cutting of timber in reserves - and it should be determined whether operations are continuing or have concluded. If possible the identity of the malefactor should be obtained - indeed, in many cases, the report is of no value without this.
It may be argued that we do not know the boundaries of reserves and parklands: of course we don't - all the more reason why such data should reach the Conservation Secretary before a meeting has to make a decision. Those of us who have been walking for a few years have some shrewd notion of the limits of the major reserves.
Lately, then, we have helped to stay two illicit timber cutting operations. Through the alertness and co-operation of members we can do a great deal to diminish this particular form of anti-social activity.
Beryl and Fred Leake, whose marriage took place on December 8th.
Jean and Gil Webb - a daughter, Janice Robin - born December 18th.
To insure your camera and yourself!!!
Your Camera, Exposure Meter, Tripod, Filters, films - may be insured under the Special Bashwalkers' “All Risks” Policy - against loss or accidental damage whilst anywhere in the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand - on sea, land or in the air!
The Bushwalkers' Personal Accident Policy will cover you on both Official and Non-Official Walks - provided there are three in the party of course - and whilst travelling in vehicles to and from the trip, by providing lump sums for the more serious accidents - and weekly benefits and medical expenses for the less serious. Skiing accidents may be covered for a small additional premium, with increased medical expenses.
For full particulars see Club Member Brian Harvey, 12 Mahratta Avenue, Wahroonga. Phone JW1462.
December's General Meeting, with about 45 members present, was quite an animated show, with a variety of matters for attention, and many items of interest. We first welcomed two new hands, David Moorhouse and Bob Abernethy, and romped through the minutes and correspondence, from which we learned that the timber cutting on Wollemi Creek had been investigated by the Conservation Department and found to contravene the Water Act. We adopted the Conservation Report which proposed we ask what action was being taken against the offenders: also a recommendation that the Minister for Lands be asked the reasons for refusing to amend the National Park/Garawarra Park boundary. The President called attention to Brian Harvey's notice of retirement from the dual post of Magazine Business Manager and Duplicator Operator, so that prospective trainees may be found before March.
Len Scotland enquired about the routine for crossing off unfinancial members, and the President outlined the triple advice system, stating that about 61 had originally been removed from the books this year, but reinstatements had considerably reduced this since. The Treasurer's report showed that we had £41 in the operating funds at November 30th. Social Secretary Ross Laird recorded that the Christmas Party had been a financial success.
During reading of the Federation Report Bill Cosgrove called attention to an opposition meeting at the rear, and the President demanded order under pain of removal. Bill Cosgrove then queried an item in the Report concerning cleaning up of reserves: the Parks and Playgrounds Delegate said such a plan had been discussed, and was being referred to various Councils: walkers may care to co-operate. Len Scotland said motorists were mostly to blame - the wealthier you became, the more litter you caused apparently. Bob Abernethy remarked that in South Australia some councils had obtained convictions against people causing this kind of nuisance, and Gil Webb said any cleaning up of parks would be followed by more litter, unless proper dumps were established, and notices exhibited to direct attention to them. Said the President: “In answer to your Webb, Mr. Statement, this is done at Hornsby…” and then the Secretary intercepted him.
Conservation Reports covered a variety of topics - a threat of a road into Era (suggested we keep in touch with the shack owners, who were as unhappy as we were at this plot), and that we make a new bid for a decision on dedication of Mark Morton Reserve. There was an interim report on the Bush Fire Fighting Sub-committee's decisions, briefly, that we endeavour to enlist volunteers to fight fires in National Park at week-ends and on evenings during the week, the whole plan to be leagued with the Sutherland Bush Fire Brigade. (Len Scotland observed that the people who started fires were the abnormals, sub-normals and drunks. “I fear that covers everybody”, commented the President.)
There were further conservation reports on timber cutting at Linden and along King's Tableland, and the development of Kedumba Pass to a rough road: also of the deputation to the Minister for Lands in connection with the Greater Blue Mountains National Park on November 18th. Surveyors seemed to be in short supply, but the Minister would consider the points raised. At the present time attention was focussed on the Central Section of the scheme, involving the Blue Mountain towns and their environs.
We were into General Business, with Dormie urging our Federation Delegates to goad the “University Ramblers” into pressing the Speliological Group to carry candles at all times. Amid cheers the motion was seconded, and after a brief, animated discussion of candles, carbide lamps, unfaithful newspaper reports, and the deficiencies of electric lanterns, the motion was lost.
Len Fall mentioned the proposal to plant a memorial drive of trees between Canberra and Sydney, sponsored by General Berryman, and suggested we support the plan and possibly meet the cost of a tree (about £10). Kath Brown moved an amendment that we should definitely have our tree in the grove, and, after Tom Moppett had enlarged on the story, explaining that the scheme was not simply a line of trees or a grove, but envisaged retaining certain forested places adjacent to the road, amendment and motion were carried.
Now came a rather muddled debate which started lucidly enough when Frank Ashdown mentioned excellent films available from American Information sources, provided a projector could be obtained for 16 m.m. films. Len Scotland asked did we want a 16 m.m. projector. Up to the Club, said the President, he wouldn't touch it himself.
Ross Laird said he was aware films were available from the American Council and would investigate for future Social evenings. Len Scotland moved the purchase of a projector for £50. “What 50?” said someone, and after some hubbub the whole thing lapsed.
The President stated he proposed to place on the minutes a note of the work done by a party of members at Era the previous weekend, when a bush fire was put out at the cost of considerable time and effort. Assent was readily given, though some one seemed upset at the quantity of drinking water used - cries answered that it was only the cows' drinking water.
Brian Anderson appealed for support for the winter walks programme which would be commenced shortly - support and some enterprise in working out novel trips or producing routes which had been programmed for some time.
At 9.5, with the President's benediction and wish for a Happy Christmas, we ended the last General Meeting of 1953.
The Walks Secretary has joined that colony of queer people whose names appear in applications, for membership as having-been-walked-with. We'd already seen Roy Buggy, Dothery Haslack and John Bootlace. Now we have BRAIN Anderson!
If you are going places, contact Scenic Motor Tours, Railway Steps, Katoomba.
Daily tours by parlor coach to the world famous Jenolan Caves and all Blue Mountain sights.
Transport by coaches for parties of bushwalkers to Kanangra Walls, Ginkin or other suitable points by arrangement.
For all information, write to P.O. Box 60, Katoomba. Telephone 60, Katoomba.
The 6.37 train brought to Mount Victoria on Friday 27th November species of a type relatively rare in such a progressive country. Several whispers of “Erskine Gap Monster” and “I'll sign the pledge” were overheard from the Pioneer populace of the station Bar. The solution lay in an item in the S.B.W. Walks Programme which read simply: “Jenolan Caves Exploration”. The party, consisting of our intrepid leader Beverly (this one's a dead-end) Price, Brian “Admiral” Anderson, Frank “Bonno” Barn, David “Choom” Moorhouse, was met with loud gesticulations of delight from David “Snow” Brown, who, it is rumoured, was instrumental in causing a financial crisis on the Blue Mountains as the result of a card game, which he insists he was dragged into, on the 6.23 train, and Ken “Bostik” Angel, who hitched up from the Nowra area.
The caves were reached with only the usual amount of disturbance, and camp was made on McKeown's Creek.
Any anthropologist coming upon our camp site just after breakfast next morning could perhaps be excused for jumping in a mad frenzy, accompanied by delirious shouts of “The Missing Link”. The fact of the matter was that we were ready to begin our expedition and so, Up the creek went our intrepid party of Troglodytes, clad in regulation “trog” suits, complete with head lamps, carbide lamps, 200-ft. of rope and 30-ft. of wire ladder with duralumin rungs (What - No candles? - Ed.). Our safety helmets were somewhat makeshift, being army berets filled with rubber rucksack shoulder pads inside. These proved most effective.
Our intrepid leader, in true intrepid leader's style, managed to lead us about 2 miles off course, finally locating the Mammoth Cave entrance 25 yards from our campsite. Oh well! Carbide lamps were lit, head lamps switched on the excitement mounted, our intrepid leader entered the hole, the party was tense, our leader emerged at a somewhat faster rate, muttering something about a wombat keeping its hole 'cause we didn't want to go in anyway. “Choom” saved the day and, moving 10 yards to the left, we clustered about the entrance of the Mammoth. It was decided that the last man (“Snow” Brown) would leave a paper trail at all turning points, so that Mr. Winsor had the honour of helping us to safely retrace our steps (his being the most satisfactory material and is readily available, being found on all true Bushwalkers).
Ignoring the obvious routes to the caverns below, our intrepid party headed for the smallest squeeze hole in sight. The first two went through all right, but then came the “Admiral”. You've guessed it! At the moment his feet were off the ground on one side and hands not quite touching on the other, he got stuck. A council of war followed to a background of doubtful compliments from the doomed one. Our always intrepid leader saved the day. Thanks to her great presence of mind, the gap between her lamp and the Admiral's rear portion of anatomy was seen to decrease rapidly – the rest of the party followed through without further ado.
After much head-banging, crawling, wriggling, wading, climbing and dog-paddling our efforts were brought to a halt by an underground river. Many were the groans of disappointment as we had not as yet seen any formations worthy of much comment. Just as we were about to turn back a small squeeze hole was noticed about 20 feet above. Ken managed to climb through this and the rest followed by way of the wire ladder. We appeared to be in a sort of cavern. Then the carbide lamps arrived. Immediately the air was filled with, “Arrr - mighty!” “Bonno!” “Terrif!” “Get a load of that!” - etc. We were at last in the Oolite Cave. This cavern is about 100-ft. long, 40-ft. wide and is 87-ft. high (found by a balloon tied to a string and filled with hydrogen).
Our intrepid leader, fearing to annoy the Gods which must surely dwell there, offered them a sacrifice by placing her camera on the floor and jumping on it with sacrificial hobnail boots - one less to waste time taking photos. We decided to have dinner in the cavern. It must be one of the most beautiful places I have ever eaten in. Surrounded by oolites, shawls, stalactites and -mites, some. 400-ft. below the surface, the calcite crystals glistening and rippling around us from the reflected light of our lamps. After lunch, flashbulbs, magnesium flares, photos, etc., our intrepid party retreated to the squeeze hole and abseiled to the river below. Our “Snow” Brown decided it was time we departed and to help make our minds up, he proceeded to clean out his carbide lamp. A hasty retreat ensued, picking up the paper trail as we went “in case of emergency”.
The Admiral, (of squeeze hole fame), noting the dejected atmosphere of the returning party, did quite a good job of livening things up by becoming once more stuck. This time firmly. How lucky for Jenolan that we had a female in the party. As it was several stalactites were observed to dissolve, presumably from the Admiral's answers to our helpful suggestions. We hereby formally apologise to other members of the Club for missing such a perfect opportunity, but wish them to note that, being in the centre of the party, he HAD to be released to permit the end ones to escape. Half an hour and several lbs. less later he emerged with a loud pop which was thought by some to be the kick in the teeth which Frank was promised in return for one particularly helpful suggestion.
The trip out proved uneventful except for several rocks being bounced on our intrepid leader's skull from about 20-ft. up (200-ft. in newspaper units) and we reached the entrance near sundown after 8 1/2 hours underground.
Back in camp we were joined by Jim (“I haven't got your spoon”) Holloway of the Sydney Rock Climbers, who had hitched up that afternoon - Mr. Holloway entertained the party with some delightful renditions of something or other on the recorder.
Next morning the party split, Jim and Frank going back down the Mammoth with some of the University Spelios (by a different route) and exploring the central level. A short cut was made, so we are informed by Frank, by a daring 40-ft. climb (it is not known whether these are actual or newspaper feet).
The rest of the party departed for the Aladdin's Cave, down McKeown's Creek. Several hours were spent underground in this cave, which sports many beautiful flows, terraces, helectites, shawls, wings, columns, oolites, limestone encrusted bones, stalactites and -mites and many deviations were made from the main caverns. A large number of photos was taken and many formations gazed upon by the light of magnesium flares. You will be hearing more about this cave in the New Year and will see many slides of this and others at members' slide nights.
Unfortunately the Admiral was able to negotiate this cavern in a more dignified manner (at least as dignified as it is possible for an Admiral to be when in a boiler suit, on his back, wriggling uphill feet first) but from reports from Ken (our advance scout) who entered, on a preliminary survey, the first section of the Glass Cave, we are looking forward to quite a comedy from a certain person on our next expedition.
On the more serious side, I would like to note with grave concern the findings of Mr. F.A. Barr, B.O., on the absence of flowers of the Bonno species within the series.
I would like to encourage walks leaders (we still have some) to be more patient with those incurably affected by the Kodachrome disease. I base my plea on the fact of a certain S.U.S.S. member taking 14 hours for 3 photos.
The campsite at McKeown's Flat, while no doubt giving atmosphere and drama, etc., is not a very good advertisement for a certain Speliological Society. Surely members can find a spot out of sight to dump the spent carbide, or at least put it on one pile.
We wouldn't be surprised to see a Speliological Section of S.B.W. formed before long because, as far as we are concerned, this grovelling is definitely the most!
In the small hours of Saturday December 5th a black Citroen was seen proceeding along Kent street - in the wrong direction. One might have suspected the driver of being on the Jag - except that it was the Citroen.
Schafer, who believes in the theme “If you drive, don't drink: if you drink, don't drive” - brought his newly acquired car to the Christmas Party - and lapped up the lemon squash all evening. We hear that he went to another shivoo a fortnight later: this time he brought the car - and a sleeping bag.
No, we can't tell you where the type of pistol used by the President at the Christmas Party can be obtained. But there's no reason why you shouldn't fill any water pistol with whisky and squirt it down your throat if you want to.
Bushwalkers requiring transport from Blackheath, any hour, ring, write or call…
Siedlecky's Taxi and Tourist Service.
116 Station Street, Blackheath.
24 hour service.
Bushwalkers arriving at Blackheath late at night without transport booking can ring for car from Railway Station or call at above address - it's never too late!
'Phone Blackheath 81 or 146. Look for cars 3210 or TV270 or book at Mark Salon Radio Shop - opposite Station.
Who was it fell in the Nattai? Who shivered the permanent way near Glenbrock Station? Who rattled the windows of the RSL Club on December 4th? Never mind, Sheila, so long as you can balance once a month.
Betty Swain sailed to join the New Zealand detachment on November 6th, and at the beginning of December had joined forces with Keith Renwick and Peter Stitt, and all were headed south to link up with Pat Sullivan at Christchurch.
Peter and Keith have been doing quite a deal of caveing, including a visit to the Karamu Caves, near Hamilton, where Keith shook the natives by taking the first colour photographs of the Caves (it was reported in local papers). They must have put up quite a convincing front, for they were introduced to other cavers as “professional spelios” from Australia.
Annual Subscribers to the Magazine are advised that their Annual Subscriptions for 1953/4 expired with this Magazine. Those desiring to renew should remit early. Annual Subscription: Copy held in Club-room - 5/-d…. posted home 8/-d. It's cheaper to subscribe!
(From an article “Keepit Dam Terrain Survey” - Journal of the Soil Conservation Service of N.S.W.)
During the 1820's it has been recorded that the lower slopes of the Upper Hunter were savannash woodland, while the upper regions were forested. Here, as in other young countries, the timber was the prime consideration of the settler. At first it was confined to the lower slopes and the removal of timber did not contribute to accelerated erosion. Unfortunately they began to remove the valuable cover from the hillsides.
A newspaper article dated 1875 refers to the Murrurundi area: “The timber was formerly heavy, but the more valuable has been felled, the present forest exhibiting the inevitable monotony of the colonial woods…. Upon the country being cleared of timber the Pages River increased in size and mischievous effects, enlarging its channel and carrying away much valuable property”.
Ringbarking was tried in the Australian Agricultural Company's property at Port Stephens in 1839 and again 1860 by Hungerford in the Upper Hunter. It seems that it probably began on a large scale about the 1880's, “Beltrees” estate clearing large areas in this manner. A statement made of the Upper Hunter area in 1914 said that Timber at the head of creeks is gradually being killed at great expense“. Not only was it a great expense to the landholder, but in later years it was a great expense to the Nation, for these areas are now the sources of landslides and floods.
W.A. de Beuzeville, forest ecologist, states in the report of the Hunter River Flood Mitigation Committee “From the information put on record by the first settlers and explorers it is evident that no dense forests of eucalypts existed at the time. The country was for the most part wooded with a vast eucalyptian parkland, having a grassy sward”.
One of the cause of the parkland type, according to de Deuzeville was the aborigine's habit of lighting fires for he “required good feeding grounds for his game… and he loathed scrub and undergrowth for he was naked and could not penetrate it”.
However, his fires were mild compared with those that followed the coming of the white settler. Surveyor Mitchell mentions severe fires in the Upper Hunter in 1831. After a hot day (95º) his party camped near “Muscle Brook” but were harassed by grass fires.
The constant firing gradually became confined to the hills where over the years more useful species of grasses were killed out. In certain areas and at certain times of the year it is probable that infrequent light firing does no harm. However, year after year fires lit for burning off have got out of hand to run riot in forests, especially in the Wollombi and Barrington Tops area, until today humus leaf litter and much of our wild life have been destroyed. An illustration of wild life is the fact that charcoal from fires blocked the gills of trout and killed thousands of them in the Barrington Tops area last year (the bad fire summer of 1951/2).
You press the button, we'll do the rest!
Finegrain Developing. Sparkling Prints. Perfect Enlargements. Your Rollfilms or Leica films deserve the best service.
Leica Photo Service.
31 Macquarie Place, Sydney, N.S.W.
Some time ago we saw an article in “Punch from the pen of A.P. Herbert. He was very grieved at the disparity between the so-called “statute” mile (which, so far as I recall from far off school days, consists of 5,280-ft. or 1,760 yards - not to mention eight furlongs, eighty chains or a quite absurd number of rods, poles or perches) and the nautical mile, representing one minute of latitude, and varying slightly in different latitudes, but usually about 2,060 yards.
A.P. Herbert also explains the derivation of the word “mile” as a contracted form of “mille passus” or “thousand paces” of the Roman Army. Lest we conclude that the Roman legionnaires were superlative walkers, it should be explained that the Roman “passus” was two steps, so the thousand paces was really 2,000 steps. Work it out for yourself, and you'll find that on fairly good surfaces, a mile is darned near 2,000 steps.
I was quite interested in all this, but felt A.P.H. really hadn't plumbed the whole matter, merely scratched at the surface, so to speak. While I'm not going to pretend that this essay will have the finish or the perfection of the original, I do intend to examine the topic thoroughly, from a walker's point of view.
We aren't concerned with nautical distance - well, not as a rule - but we do have to contend with several varieties of mile. There is the statute mile, the one represented on the scale at the foot of maps, and by the representative fraction as well on the top left of military maps. There is also the “bushwalker” mile, the “local inhabitant” mile, the “Tasmanian” mile - and others.
Taking first things first, look at “bushwalker” miles as shown on walks programmes and trip reports. It is a quite elastic measure, and like the diurnal variation of the compass, appears to vary from season to season, leader to leader, Walks Secretary to Walks Secretary. The old familiar, the walk from Wentworth Falls over Mt. Solitary to Katoomba, fluctuates between 15 and 22 miles. Other trips are equally erratic. We do not accept it that distances have shrunk noticeably during recent wet seasons: indeed, with added undergrowth some of 'em seem a deuced sight longer. Once we would have defined a “bushwalker” mile as about 1,400 - 1,500 yards, but several entries on recent walks programmes have shaken this concept, and we can only say it is a personal and intimate thing, which baffles any attempt to give it precise length, but commonly between 1,400 and 2,200 yards.
If it be true that “bushwalker” miles are variable, then the on1y fair way to describe “local inhabitant” miles is “fluid”. They absolutely defy any bid to classify or limit them. Despite years of research, we cannot obtain a finer figure than from 400 to 5,000 yards. Occasionally it even coincides with the statute mile. The problem is complicated as it hinges on temperamental as well as more tangible factors. If the local resident doesn't want you to go that way, the mileage will be something appalling, the path hemmed about by impending cliffs, while vines and poisonous growths and savage cattle will invest the way.
If the local travels it by car or on horseback, and has no particular objection to your journeying by that route, he will very probably deal airily in air-line distances, minus 40- per cent to compensate for the bracing climate at the top of the 4,000-ft. pass, minus ten-percent for the distance lost through downgrades. Or, of course, the local may never have been that way, but daren't admit his ignorance to the precocious cityfied type: he argues, if you get through you won't be back to tell him how far out he was: if you don't get through you won't know either, so what the hell… think of a number…
“Tasmanian” miles have a reputation for being long. Mainlanders complain bitterly that the 12 miles from Waldheim to Windermere is a very liberal twelve. Actually, we're inclined to believe that the miles through the Reserve are simply statute miles gone soft. Given enough liquid, any mile will feel long: given enough tussocky button grass, every league will seem a burden.
We have considerable faith in the measured miles of Lamington - they feel like dinki-di miles.
“Shire Council” miles, as indicated on sign posts, introduce delicious variables. We have seen two posts, separated by ten minutes' walking, which quoted the same town as being six and ten miles distant (the ten-mile peg was the nearer to the town).
By the way, we've heard it argued that up-hill miles should not be scaled off a map, because they're so much longer. Don't you believe it! Better still, prove this for yourself. Draw a horizontal line six inches long, and at one end erect a vertical two inches long, then connect the top of the vertical to the far end of the horizontal. Your last line represents a gradient of one-in-three (a pretty steep hill by any walker's reckoning). Now measure off this hypoteneuse - unless you're so bright you can do it by Pythagoras' Theorem. In my sketch it worked out at about six and three-eighths inches, so the added length was three-eighths of an inch - about six percent. It seems as though a “mile” on a rising grade of one in three will really be about 1,870 yards long.
You must beware the character who is the confirmed “inch-a-miler”. He has grown so attuned to reckoning an inch on the map as a mile on the ground, he is incapable of coping with any other scale. If he starts working on the Kosciusko Snow Lease maps, he'll have you slugging out “miles” of about 2,500 yards. How easy it is to do, too! During this past year I was working on a map scaled at 1 inch to 100 chains for about a week before I discovered an inch wasn't a mile.
Perhaps the best way to get a true picture of the length of a mile is to walk it along a railway line, where you have quarter, half and three-quarter mile pegs. The mile peg, of course, shows the distance from Sydney: the quarter is marked by a straight wood or concrete post, about five feet high, with a slanting cut off one top corner. At the half mile is a similar post with a pointed top, at the three-quarters one with a square out top. Pick a piece of line with cuttings, so you will have to stumble over sleepers and ballast, and see how long a mile or two takes. In future, your miles will probably be nearer the truth, if not nearer heart's desire.
On that hot day trip there is no more refreshing drink than our tinned pineapple juice.
And for Australia Day weekend foodlist:
Special - new season's dates - just unpacked! Apple rings. Golden sultanas. Dried figs. Brazil kernels. Plain & salted cashews. Apricot rolls - for that snack on the track!! Raw peanuts. Crystallised pawpaw. All brands of quickly-made breakfast foods. Wholemeal bread.
The Sanitarium Health Food Shop.
13 Hunter Street, Sydney.
Some seventeen or eighteen members were present for the farewell bush party for John White on the weekend of 12/13 December. Early in the New Year John moves off to Tomalla at the north end of the Barrington Tops plateau, where he joins the “Back to the Land” movement. We feel it in the bones that John is one of those born to be bushwalkers, and that he will be in touch with us from time to time and may be able to provide useful gen for those planning trips in the Barrington country, which we ought to know better.
And now, having said the serious part of this, we can report some of the screwy things that happened at Era that weekend. For instance…
A certain small party lost his teeth whilst surfing. It is NOT true that he bit a shark accidentally.
The Treasurer was out of sugar. Quite literally. The rest of the food party snarled slightly, and then it was resolved that David Brown who was still to appear was the sugar-daddy… (more later)…
An unheard of episode. A party of S.B.W. didn't know their way from Maynard's track to Era. With one exception they hadn't been to Era previously, and finally made their way down through the jungle. What a change from a few years ago, when many S.B.W. didn't know their way to any place except Era!
And David Brown didn't have the sugar either. The food party no longer accepts the Bard's “surfeit of the sweetest things, the deepest loathing to the stomach brings”.
Breakfast time on Sunday, with brilliant hot sunlight and the beginnings of a nor-easter breathing. Smoke over at Stockyard. The hill between South Era and Stockyard going up in fire. The S.B.W. running feverishly over to Stockyard grabbing up beaters and water buckets. Two hours later the S.B.W were doing the Casabianca act on the burning deck whence all others had fled to the pleasures of the surf. No one has recorded how many buckets of water from the muddy pool in the swamp were lugged up the hill by a sweating chain of walkers, but at the end the dangerous flank of the fire was quite quenched. A small outbreak occurred later on the seaward edge, and this was beaten out in turn. The cause - a cooking fire lit within two feet of dry grass and bracken at the base of a tree. We feel sure that the campers (not S.B.W.) won't make that mistake again.
[ Map ]
The Woy Woy-Gosford District is developing rapidly… industry has already become well-established. Ease of access has brought the City closer. Once the flat lands about Woy Woy were a garden of wildflowers and a haunt for native animals. Now this land is closely settled and the hills must be the haven for our plants and animals. In addition, the many high points give magnificent lookouts over the Brisbane Waters and Broken Bay, with all the splendour of natural scenic charm.
Progress must come to Woy Woy and the surrounding areas… but let us progress with a view to all the needs of the people, now and in the future. The recreational value and the enjoyment of natural wildernesses is a well established factor in our modern way of life. Few would deny the strong urge that we all possess… the urge to be out in the bushlands, be it picnicking, camping, hiking, bushwalking or pursuing the study of natural science.
In our proposal, no serious loss will be suffered by any individual. Thousands of acres are Crown Lands entirely free of licence or lease. We need the active co-operation of Local Authority and all citizens, be they from the Woy Woy District or elsewhere, for this reserve would serve all who care to visit the magnificent Warrah Sanctuary and keep the sandstone ridges on either sides of Patonga and Mullet Creeks, tree-covered for all time. The main Woy Woy Road from the Pacific Highway is renowned for the avenues of trees and heathlands… on either sides, deep valleys still retain their natural growths. From Staples' Lookout, the folding hillsides drop down on to the broad Brisbane Waters. None of this must be marred by buildings that shut out the views. With adequately planned development, access can be arranged so that no loss will be incurred.
No time should be wasted for fear that some steps will be taken to alienate parts and so unbalance the security of the whole area. We suggest that you, having found some of the secrets of enjoyment that this area holds, might in a selfless manner, undertake to introduce others or to win action from those in authority.
Will you join us in this most essential work? Enquiries welcome.
Issued by The Caloola Club, 31 Byron Street, Croydon. UA2983.
By Allan A. Strom.
Tom Wardhaugh has resigned from the position of Secretary and his place has been taken by Keith Armstrong (of The Rucksack Club) JF 3746 (Private) and BX5438 (Business). The first meeting of the Section in 1954 will be held in the Rooms of the Big Sister Movement, Sixth Floor, Scott's Chambers, Hosking Place, on February, 4th, at 6 p.m.
Jim Hooper will be the official contact man for the Section. XM6001 (Private) and BX5438 (Business).
Position has become vacant following upon the resignation of Tom Wardhaugh. Delegates would like to hear from any person interested in the position.
(Dept. of the Interior) will be supplied with details for a news bulletin on sport in Australia.
The Federation will benefit to the extent of £74. 9. 3 following upon finalisation of matters concerning the 1953 Ball. An Organiser for the 1954 Ball is wanted urgently! Please contact Paul Barnes at UB1351.
The Parks and Playgrounds Movement is attempting to prevent large scale damage to beaches by mining for rutile, etc. The Wyong Shire Council has been contacted re taking of gravel from Frazer Park.
Further visits and correspondence have been undertaken for the Kariong Peninsula Reserve.
Reported that the Cumberland County Council desires support to save 500 acres of the 1,000 acres of reserve on the Kurnell Peninsula for scientific and recreational purposes.
Protests have been sent to Editor of “PIX” and Bushfire Committee concerning a coloured print showing a group of picnickers breaking the law on lighting fires in a Bushfire Danger Period.
The effort to have Bungonia Gorge dedicated as a National Monument has been carried forward by correspondence with the Metropolitan Portland Cement Company.
in the National Park are proceeding and have been well received by the Park Trust. The Patrols have successfully averted several fires and have been able to spread effective propaganda. Any person interested in assisting, Ring Paul Barnes, UB1351.
keep The Bouddi Natural Park primitive and yet accessible? Dial Dingeldei for details… UA 2983.
The complexion of Era was changed greatly over the Christmas weekend. Local reports have it that on the previous Sunday lightning struck a tree on the tops near Maynard's Track: during the ensuing Black Monday (107.5 deg. in Sydney): fires burned from the Garie road through to vicinity of Maynard's on the seaward side of the track, and right down to the edge of the grass at South Era valley. Over the Christmas weekend further fires came over Thelma Head from vicinity of Little Garie, and were still burning on Sunday 27th. In brief, Era is virtually an oasis in a blackened and ruined landscape. To date Burning Palms has escaped the worst of the fires. Water supply at both beaches is very low.
Well here we are faced with another clean slate on which to write minute by minute the story of our lives. How will it read in twelve months' time when the year has run full cycle once more?
Shall we be a little nearer realisation of our cherished hopes? Shall we be able to tick off from our lists a few more places seen and trips achieved? The Bushwalker soon learns to plan for the mountains ahead yet keep his eyes on what's afoot and extract enjoyment from the passing scene.
Good luck, happy walking and good camping in the coming year.
For your enjoyment the Military have produced another “half map” 1” = 1 mile “Bimbera East”. This practically completes detailed mapping of the Capital Territory.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney. M2678.