Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney. Box No.4476, G.P.O. Sydney.
No. 258. May, 1956. Price 9d.
|Editor||Dot Butler, Boundary Road, Wahroonga (JW2208).|
|Business Manager||Jack Gentle.|
|Sales and Subs||Jess Martin.|
|Typed by||Dot Butler.|
In This Issue:
|At Our April Monthly Meeting||A.G.C.||1|
|Down in the Dumps||“Mulga”||3|
|To Be or Not To Be||Brian G. Harvey||6|
|Letter to Members||Kath Gibbs||8|
|Federation Notes - April||Brian G. Harvey||9|
|Easter Jottings||The Roundsman||10|
|Roll on River||Alex Colley||11|
|“Men of the Trees”||from “Taro”||14|
|Government and the Geese||from Mouldy||15|
|It was all Snow's fault, or Bludging with Brown||A11||16|
|The Joys of Aqua-Lunging||Dot Butler||17|
|Caloola Club - May Trip to Warrumbungles & Nandewars||18a|
|New Zealand Influence||John Bookluck||19|
|The Putt Farewell Party||Dot Butler||20|
|Siedlecky's Taxi and Tourist Service||3|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||5|
|Hattswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||7|
|Leica Photo Service||9|
|Are you Snow-bound this Winter? (Paddy's Advt.)||24|
At Our April Meeting.
The President, Brian Harvey, was in the chair and there were over 40 members present at our last meeting.
No controversial issues were raised until it was revealed in the Treasurer's Report that donations of £2/2/- each had been made to the Australian Folklore Society and the Bushwackers' Band. Frank Ashdown questioned the authority of the Committee to give away the Club funds. If this were permitted there was nothing to prevent the Committee from making a donation of £10/10/-, or, for that matter, from giving away all the Club's funds. The Treasurer, Jim Brown, said that this payment was on the same footing as the payment for a dance bands in which matter the Committee's authority had never been questioned. The President quoted Section 9, clause (d) of the constitution, which reads: “The Committee shall arrange all activities, keep a record of same, keep members informed and generally manage the affairs of the Club as provided for in the Constitution”, in support of the Committee's action. Jack Wren then moved that the meeting endorse the Committee's action. This was interpreted by Malcolm McGregor as a motion of no confidence in the Committee, since the power to make the donation was already vested in the Committee and there was no need for such a motion unless there was lack of confidence. The motion was, nevertheless, carried. Later Malcolm gave notice of a motion he would move at the next meeting to rescind Jack Wren's motion.
While the dust was settling a new member, Bernie Hall, was welcomed by the President.
The meeting agreed to the postponement of the play reading by Malcolm McGregor and Grace Jolley from Wednesday 25th April (Anzac Day) to a suitable date later.
After this brief interlude the meeting reverted to financial topics. This time it was the caving enthusiasts who wanted to spend the Club's funds and the non-cavers who defended them. The discussion was started by Dave Brown moving that the Club spend £5 on the materials needed for the construction of a duralumin ladder. The lack of a ladder, he said, had caused a great deal of inconvenience on cave trips, and if the materials were bought the labour would be provided free, thus saving expense. The motion was seconded by Peter Stitt and supported by Brian Anderson, who pointed out that little had been spent on walking equipment though plenty had been spent in a social way. In reply to a question he said that trips to Colong, Jenolan, Bungonia and other parts went frequently and he estimated that easily 25% of active Club members went along. Frank Ashdown said that we were not Bushwalkers Unlimited; we were a walking club, and spelio trips cut out walking trips on the programme. Those interested in caves could join the Spelio Club. Malcolm McGregor said that although caveing might not be the same as bushwalking, many caves could only be entered by persons capable of bushwalking. It was an activity which might not affect attendance on walks, since many walks were not attended anyway. Private trips could be arranged that would not affect the programme. He moved an amendment that those interested in caving should supply 25% of the cost of the ladder. Jack Gentle opposed the amendment. Bob Duncan said that labour would be the main cost if a ladder were bought. If the spelios constructed a ladder and contributed 25% of the materials cost, who would own it. Would a new member have a share in it? Alan Wilson said he was “dead against giving that mob at the back there £5 to spend.” If they represented 25% of the active walkers than it would only cost them 5/- each to provide their own ladder. Peter Stitt estimated that nearly 60 of the members who were active walkers would attend at least one caveing trip. The trips were frequently better attended than walks. On being put to the meeting both the amendment and the motion were lost by a very small margin.
At the conclusion of the meeting the President wished “bon voyage” to David Ingram, due to leave on April 17th for a seven months trip to England, and the same wish here is extended to the Putts who leave at the end of the month, Colin for a business trip abroad, and Jane and the babies home to New Zealand till his return.
Important Transport Notice.
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.
Down In The Dumps.
(Which might almost qualify for the title: “Who'd be a Baulker Part III.”)
The last minute news that the Woods (ex Canberra) couldn't join our Easter Shoalhaven Gorge trip didn't reach Geof in time, so we waited at Tallong station in a fine morning drizzle until 9.30 when all hope of their coming had faded, then moved off leisurely towards Badgery's.
The plan was either to follow the gorge to the Kangaroo junction then out to Kangaroo Valley, or to cross the Tolwong tableland to the Ettrema gorge if the river was high enough to be dangerous for frequent crossing. I thought it might be possible to subtly change the programme to a loaf on Lake Louise, but the miserable weather and promise of more to come hinted that other self-inflicted torments might take our minds off the obvious, and after all, one of us needed exercise to fit him for the Putt fifty-five miler, so - to the Gorge.
The fifteen miles from Badgery's to the Kangaroo junction are normally one mile per hour variety, a continued scramble over rocks and boulders, and in and out of tangled vegetation, broken now and then by shingle and steep sandy strips which have suffered much in recent floods.
As opposite banks are always easier, Grace and Tine insisted on crossing about a mile downstream in a fairly deep but slowly flowing pool, (well, they said it was slow) and when Joan too took to the water there was nothing for us two fine specimens to do but plunge in and hope. “Waterproof inner bags adjusted? Right, in we go,” But somehow the pack was floating up at the back of my neck. “Maybe if I do up the belly band it will help.” Back to the bank. “Yes, that's better.” Off again with a casual breaststroke. “Heck, this is hard work. That's funny, I'm not moving - except downstream. Oh well, I'm bound to hit a snag and stop sooner or later.” Then a girlish treble floated across the water, “Are you all right, dear?” “No - glug, glug - I'm not! Help! Help!” So in she came with a branch in hand, and I grabbed it as I drifted past and swung in a semi-circle to touch bottom and lurch to safety on the shingle. Phew!
Then came Geof, and he wasn't doing much better. He was fighting magnificently against the torrent, swimming like an excited frog, but helplessly drifting. His anguish was pitiful to behold. “Put your feet down!” cried Grace, and when he did we saw that the water was right up to his knees. “Goodness, pull him out quickly.” We two looked at each other mute and shaken, and the look plainly said that we were sticking to this bank until the junction. And in truth we did (against some opposition) and we found a spot, wide and shingle strewn, where we could wade across to the comparative security of the Kangaroo River. But more of that later.
There's a fine camp spot at Transport Creek, a few hundred yards upstream from the Tallowall Creek junction on the south bank of the river, and at 3 o'clock (how's that, you white ants?) we managed to convince ourselves that there couldn't possibly be another spot this side of the Kangaroo that would hold a tent in one plane. As it happened we found one or two good spots to the mile, mostly on high well-grassed sandy banks.
Saturday was Gorge day - eight hours to cover ten long miles through the aforementioned maze, broken by the thrill (?) of taking to the water to skirt a formidable outcrop which would probably be waded round in normal times. “Can you see around the rock, Grace? How close are the rapids?” No, Grace couldn't see because she wasn't too keen to launch into mid-stream in case she found the rapids nearer than expected. So we joined Geof's fifty feet of rope and my thirty feet of sashcord, tied one end to Grace and told her to get going. Then, all of a sudden, there was no more rope. “Hey, Grace, are you all right?” The only answer was a very muffled squark from around the corner. We looked at each other. “What did she say?” “Dunno, try again.” The reply was still masked by roaring water. “Oh, let the rope go, she'll be O.K.!” And fortunately she was.
A few miles on Sunday morning, a concentrated male stand against crossing to greener pastures, and the south bank developed river flats and sheep pads. And, wonder of wonders, the sun shone for a few hours on the muddy water and the sandstone cliffs above and we thought how wonderful it was to be alive - until we started up the northern bank of the Kangaroo. (The Shoalhaven, wide and wadeable, has some spacious grassy flats here, a delightful place for a loaf.)
The banks were steep and muddy. “Let's go on to those grassy slopes further in.” Then followed a succession of muffled oaths as the nettles won the day and we gladly took to the mud again. At Bundanoon Creek most of the party wisely swam to the other bank and only one stubborn landlubber cursed and swore and slipped and slithered whilst the wiser trotted on a pleasant pad. The only good camp spot at the Kangaroo-Yarrunga junction was high on the north side, just off the path which leads to the 12-mile road to Kangaroo Valley. AS we cooked, dark clouds covered the erstwhile clear sky and as the last course was taken off the fire, down came the rain. We lay in our tents and slapped the mosquitoes we could see at each flash of lightning, and then we just slapped because you couldn't miss. Neither could the mossies, in that number. Exhaustion finally gave us a few hours slumber, and the mosquitoes buzzed contentedly on.
Morn dawned dull; the river was now even muddier and several feet higher. An awful yellow muddy mess. The road bash came as a relief until the miles mounted and the muscles creaked. Geof took off, and soon Grace and Joan were further and further away at each corner as the flyweights drooped from their lack of condition. Gradually the valley opened and farms became more frequent until - “Hey, what's this? Pitt St.?” - around the corner came a tramcar, only it wasn't coming, it was stripped and stationary, and there were half a dozen of these wrecks near a sawmill. Once workers' quarters, perhaps. And then a gentle slope down to the Moss Vale road, a vision splendid of the mail coach, fresh bread from the store and a delightful lunch spot surrounded by motorists, and adjacent to the camping ground rubbish heap. In fact, “Down in the dumps.”
The Sanitarium Health Food Shop.
Offers quality dried fruits, nuts and biscuits. Delicious fruit sweets. Wholesome, light ry-king crisp bread.
Amazing, low economy prices.
Come to out store at 13 Hunter Street, and see our wonderful range of health-giving foods - for walking and home use.
To Be Or Not To Be.
- Brian G. Harvey
It will be noted from the Federation Report elsewhere in this issue, that the question of proposed abandonment of the Annual Federation Reunion is to be decided at the June Federation Council meeting.
The motion by the Coast & Mountain Walkers “That the Reunion be no longer held” was deferred so that Clubs may have the opportunity of considering the matter and instructing their delegates.
The Coast & Mountain delegate felt no good purpose was served by a continuance as the gathering was poorly attended, having regard to the total membership of the Federated Clubs. The recurrent recriminations, unpleasant and futile, at subsequent Council meetings on the question of the banning of alcoholic liquor and/or the policing of noisy and irresponsible celebrants, and the sharply divided opinion as to what was regarded as “a good time” was becoming a perpetual bone of contention without any enduring satisfaction being reached.
There are, however, many points to be considered. One is that some of the smaller clubs do not appear to have their own annual camp or reunion, and so make the Federation Reunion an occasion for celebration. As clubs cannot be compelled to have a private reunion, this fills a want and brings all the club together. Again, many of the smaller clubs do not possess the inherent ability to hold the interest of the members who become married and whose walking activities are curtailed. As a result, a large percentage of the assembly at the Reunion is composed of young walkers without the more sober influence of the “old hands”, so a display of lively spirits may be expected. By our suggesting ways and means of holding the smaller and more recently-formed clubs together, they will have more balance and at the same time a greater membership. The abandonment of the Reunion would be a serious blow to such clubs.
In my opinion, any move to discontinue the Reunion would be a regrettable retrograde step, as any function which gets people out into the bush is a good thing for the walking movement. Some folk in our club don't like going to Federation functions for some reason known only to themselves. There is no doubt each club endeavours to camp within its own group, and as a consequence little social intercourse takes place. This is entirely due to the failure of successive camp-committees in even thinking of attempting to evolve a scheme whereby walkers from different clubs may get to know one another. Therefore positive, not negative action, is needed. If it has failed in the past, there is no necessity for a repetition in the future. This club is experienced enough to be able to make some suggestions to improve the position.
There is no doubt many of our members have been burnt-off from attending again owing to unseemly behaviour of a minority from other clubs. To put in an appearance, and act in a sober but pleasant manner, should be a good example, even if we do lose a little sleep.
Our Club Object No.2 is to form an institution of mutual aid in regard to the appreciation of the great outdoors. This aid can just as easily be applied outside the Club to others, and in fact the object does not limit it to our own members. We would therefore be failing in our duty to vote for the abandonment of the Federation Reunion.
Hattswell's Taxi and Tourist Service.
For all your transport problems contact Hattswell's Taxi and Tourist Service. Ring, write, wire or call any hour, day or night.
Telephone: Blackheath 129 or 249. Booking Office - 4 doors from Gardner's Inn Hote1 (look for the neon sign.)
Speedy 5 or 8 passenger cars available. Large or small parties catered for.
- Kanangra Walls - 30/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
- Perry's Lookdown - 3/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
- Jenolan State Forest - 20/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
- Carlon's Farm - 10/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
We will be pleased to quote other trips or special parties on application.
Upper Cedar Creek Walk - May 11-12-13.
This walk is planned to cover some new and interesting country between Korowall Buttress and Cedar Creek, while avoiding the difficult portions of the Buttress. It is below tiger standard, but rather difficult for rabbits, as upper Cedar Creek is pretty rough. White ants will be tolerated provided they make the first night's camp, about 3-4 miles along the track to Ruined Castle. They can sit there for two days contemplating the exertions of the official party and join it again on the way back. This is a walk which caters for all tastes, and the leader hopes it will be well attended.
- Alex Colley.
(Extract from a letter from Kath Gibbs who is now stationed at Mudgee District Hospital. Kath would be delighted to hear from her S.B.W. friends.)
“You are in for some pleasant sights if you come through this district in daylight. “Mudgee” apparently means “rest” and 'tis a very fitting name for the area is almost completely surrounded by hills which are really beautiful, especially at sun up or sun down.
So far I haven't been very far out of the town, but the few times I have ventured forth I've covered about 5 to 7 miles per hour. Now don't start thinking “Ah, she's in training for the marathon,” for as a walker I'm very quickly degenerating - if that's possible - from the meagre heights to which I rose. These spectacular milages have been covered on horseback. “Bess”, my steed, is really an admirable type for I'm not a good rider and she obeys me implicitly. I've really had a wonderful time each time I've been out.
One day we went into the hills to inspect the reservoir. Really, the views to be had from the hills would be worth it even if I walked up, but needless to say I enjoy it all the more when sitting comfortably in the saddle being carried up. I was surprised at the speed at which a horse can climb up a ridge - and Bess is very sure-footed too. In spite of Boss's sure-footedness, however, I decided to walk her down as it was rather steep - purely out of consideration for the horse, of course.
At the top of one of the “peaks” about 5 or 6 miles out of town there is the remains of an aboriginal burial ground, but I haven't been up to have a look yet, I only wish I could transpose the country around here a little closer to Sydney, then I'd be delighted to lead a walk or two.
If I don't see any of the Warrumbungle party come through at Easter don't be surprised if I pop into the Club one night, for I intend to come down soon for my days off,
B'ye now. Regards to all. Kathy.”
The Federation has received a letter from an interested 13-year old girl who writes, inter alia:- “Are there many boys in the bushwalking clubs? Do they go on many hikes? I like both.” And to the Hon. Secretary:- “If I am too young, may I be your pen-friend until I am old enough?” She saw particulars in “Woman”, also reads Dorothy Dix. Anybody interested? Also wanted to know if we often got lost - “it would be such fun” !!!
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.
Federation Notes - April.
- Brian G. Harvey
In the absence in Melbourne of the President, Mr. Allen Strom occupied the chair.
Search and Rescue Section:
The Search and Rescue Practice week-end in the Wheeney Creek area was attended by 13 walkers from various clubs. The exercise was primarily an exercise in radio communication in conjunction with the Amateur Radio Club. The organizers were disappointed at the poor roll-up.
This function is to be held in the Rainbow Room at Hotel Australia on Saturday, October 6th.
Federation Annual Magazine:
The resignation of the Editor, Mr. Booth, was received, and Mr. Ken Stewart, of the Rover Ramblers Club, was elected in his place. Stories and articles are being sought.
Mr. Henson's resignation was received, and Mr. Driver of the Rover Ramblers was elected in his stead.
Federated Clubs are requested to instruct their delegates whether this annual event should be no longer held. A decision will be made at the June Council Meeting, on a motion by the Coast & Mountain Walkers for the abandonment of the Reunion.
Air Travel Discount:
Ansett Airways are offering a discount of 10% to members of parties of 10 or more travelling by the same aircraft.
- The Roundsman.
Despite atrocious wet weather for months before Easter, a lot of members opened their “hard walking” season in various areas.
The Official Party - Kanangra - Cloudmaker - Tiwilla - Kowmung - Katoomba, again struck heavy mist on the Gangerang and a sharp rise in the rivers. They finished up traversing the old Cedar Rd. and came out at Bimlow instead of Katoomba. The Hundred-Man Cave again gave them a dry camp for the second Easter trip over the same route. Alan Wilson seems to be dogged by the mist on Gangerang.
Walkers everywhere reported hordes of blood-thirsty leeches. Edna Garrad's party on the “Dogs” had to fight off organised blood-transfusions on Debert's Mountain!! Nan and Paddy Burke experimented with a repellent - more of that later when results are beyond doubt.
Geof Wagg's small and select party on the Shoalhaven found the river up, but had no trouble. They went down from Tallong and ended up at Kangaroo Valley township, having come up the Kangaroo from the junction.
We hear a party of 21 from the Catholic Bushwalkers became very ill on the “Dogs” after having drunk the Cox River water unboiled. With the vast amount of “fresh” in the river this is somewhat surprising, but a pointer to the necessity to boil the Cox water.
Blue Gum saw a few who desired an easy way for Easter. However their rest was disturbed by clouds of mosquitos which worried them a great deal. A large area of the Forest floor is covered with sand, indicating the great height to which the water rose in the record rains. Many trees have fallen, and our diversion anti-bank erosion dam has been disturbed. What, another Working Bee?
The prospect of a long car journey to the Warrumbungles did not deter Dot Butler and her party of 15. Highlights of the trip were the climbing of Belougerie under intrepid weather conditions, and failure on Crater Bluff due to rain at just the wrong moment. Pat Sullivan's name was found in the can in the cairn on top of Belougerie. Another trip there is proposed for next Easter, perhaps by 'plane.
Roll On River.
- Alex Colley
My earliest recollections of the Cox go back to the horse and buggy days. We kept our horse and buggy in the back yard of our house at Lithgow, and a picnic on the Cox was a pleasant day's outing. Though then too young to retain any clear memory of our picnics, I have a fair idea that they were much more exciting for children, and more relaxing for adults, than their modern equivalent - a 200 mile “spin” in the car. But I can distinctly remember looking into the distant blue mountains and longing to explore them.
We left Lithgow when I was ten, but five years later I was back on the Cox, with two friends, on my first camping trip. Equipped with blanket-roll swags, an 8 lb. tent, repeating rifles, and five hundred rounds each of ammunition, we spent a week at the foot of the Six Foot Track, during which time the rabbit and fox population was harried, if little reduced. I am pleased to report, however, that the native fauna was unscathed. Two of us liked the native animals and birds, though we had never heard of conservation, while the third, though unfettered by sentiment, had poor eyesight and unsteady aim.
Since then hardly a year has passed that I haven't walked on the Cox at least once, and usually several times. I have seen it in flood, when the turgid waters have cut short our trips, and in drought, when the animals move down from the arid mountains for the last pickings of grass from the dry banks. Twice within this time it has stopped flowing. Once even the Kowmung was a series of dark luke-warm pools. But always the rains have come, the banks regained their verdure, and the clear water flowed again over the golden sand and the red and grey granite rocks.
In our early trips the gorge below Megalong seemed wild and remote. When we reached the river and were enclosed by the barren, gravelly hillsides we felt that we were far from civilization. Although there were farms a few miles away, and train whistles could be heard on still nights, it didn't break the spell cast by the constant rushing sound of the river and the swish of wind in the casuarinas.
In all the trips I have since done in the Cox valley, it is seldom that I have not seen a little bit of “new country”, or at least a new aspect. Last spring I did two trips which were as memorable as any of the earlier ones. The first, organised by Frank Leyden, had the sole aim of camping on top of Mt. Morilla to watch the sunrise. It went according to plan, and I was fortunate to camp in a small cave a few feet from the edge of a cliff overlooking the valley. In the west I could see Mount Walker, which had been a kind of boyhood Everest in my Lithgow days - the goal of many expeditions, none of which attained the summit ridge. Below us was the great valley carved out by the river. To the east was the Burragorang country, and beyond it the Cumberland plain. At night the glow of the city lights was reflected from the clouds to the east, but in the daytime there was little to indicate the encroachment of the city. In the morning I had merely to roll over in my sleeping bag to see the sun rise from below a bank of clouds. Soon, to the disappointment of the colour photographers, it disappeared beneath the clouds, but it had given us a magnificent light and shade outline of the ridges radiating down from the “Dogs” to the Cox in two great steps.
On my next trip, also organised by Frank, we could not avoid the evidence of the city's encroachment in its ever-widening quest for water. Signs of the Water Board's occupation could be seen in the headlights as we drove up the valley. The road was potholed by heavy trucks and other machines, and we drove through long stretches of fallen timber, cut in preparation for the rising water when the dam is completed. Here and there were “No Camping” notices. By 10.30 we were opposite McMahons. We had left behind some pretty bad road and a rough river crossing, so judged we were well above the normal range of tourists; and probably above the notices. (Two days later we did see one - on our way back.)
In the morning my first impression was of the emptiness of the valley. Gone were the farm people and the farm animals, though the valley was not quite deserted, as the distant sound of a heavy tractor or truck performing its task of destruction testified. Most of the hills had been cleared up to a level line above high water level. Opposite was a small hill with trees on top - evidently to become an island in the two-mile wide expanse of water. There was an eerie beauty about the condemned valley in its last days. For the first time since its occupation, some 120 years ago, there were no domestic animals or even rabbits to keep down the grass, and it clothed the open country in a rippling sward. As we moved up the valley there was no sound but that of the birds. Though the sun was hot there were no flies - probably because the animals had gone. The beginning of the Cedar Road had been bulldozed, but I was pleased to find that the bulldozer had stopped at the high water line level leaving the old track unchanged above it.
Our destination this time was Mount Cookem, which we reached in mid-afternoon. This mountain, at the Junction of the Cox and Kowmung, is a little down river from Morilla, and only about half the height. But it projects into the middle of the valley, and the combined effect of the mountains towering above and the gorge steeply to the river below, give perhaps an even better impression of the scale of the gorge. Being the only non-photographer I was, of course, the foreground for the other three - all colour enthusiasts. The photographs took some time, a fact of which I was glad as it gave me time to enjoy the scenery while balanced on various vantage points. As the cameras clicked my thoughts strayed. Being opposed to most forms of “progress”, in particular those which interfere with my walking, it was natural that they should revert to the past. For how long had the valley looked just as it did now, with the same folds in the mountains, the same rivers, creeks and cliffs, the same bush - if not the identical trees? Even in the language of geology the Kowmung and the Cox are described as ancient streams. At least one geologist, Frank Craft, believes that the Kowmung, the Cox and the Wollondilly once flowed north, over what is now the Main Divide, to the Turon, a tributary of the Macquarie. But for longer than anyone knows, or can imagine, the streams have been cutting down into the rising land to the east, carving out the upper Cox gorge and the Burragorang valley and making the comparatively straight and recent gash which is the Warragamba Gorge. Compared with geological time, man's evolution from the ape has been very recent - a mere few hundred thousand years compared with some hundreds of millions. By the time man's precursors had lost their tails and were able to stand erect, and perhaps even look upon this valley, it was much as it is now. Then as now the rainfall on the Southern Blue Mountains drained into the river and flowed down to the sea at Broken Bay. In comparison with these countless ages the arrival of the white man, and the changes he was bringing to the valley occupied but an instant of time. So short, in fact, that I could imagine it. The valley had been known and settled for only the span of two ordinary lifetimes, and for more than a quarter of this time I had known it. Since it was discovered, probably by Blaxland Lawson and Wentworth, a small area had been cleared. Some of the upper tributaries had been dammed and the water passed back to the streams. Soon a new tributary would be added when the waters of the Fish River were reticulated to the mountain towns, to be used there and released into the Cox. These same waters, mingling with the purer tributaries, would flow down to the weir at Warragamba, whence a portion of them would reach the sea by a new route. When the dam in finished they will seldom reach the sea by their ancient channel. Instead they will flow through a series of many branched pipes to a couple of million taps and cisterns, thence to be collected together again into large pipes and flow into the sea at North Head, Bondi and Maroubra. But the rains will fall and the river flow on to the sea.
That night we camped at the junction of the Cox and Kowmung. Both rivers were flowing strong and clear. What the citizens of Sydney were going to do with all that sparkling water seemed just a shame.
Next day we followed the Cox down to McMahon's again. The bank and even the rough hillsides were covered with long green grass, while the warm November sun sent its shafts through the water to the rocks and gravel of the river bed. As the valley opened up below Kill's Defile the setting sun shone on the reds yellows and blues of the sandstone cliffs. Despite the even line of clearing on the lower slopes of the mountains, the upper portions were untouched. My thoughts strayed again, this time forwards. How long would the artificial lake last? How long would the river flow to Manly, Bondi and Maroubra instead of to Broken Bay? We prophets who know our business never set a date, but if I can't say when it will end, I don't need my crystal ball to see how. The dam cannot trap the water without being a settling pond for the silt. The time it will take to fill with silt will depend to some extent on how well vegetative cover is maintained on the catchment. Nobody has worked out how long siltation will take, but the time has been calculated for many American dams, on the basis of deposition to date. There, 250 years or more is considered a fairly substantial life for a dam.
Many, however, are already completely silted, including 12 of those built to supply New York. Coming nearer home, a dam at Harden with a wall 42 feet high was completely silted in 17 years. When this happens to the Warragamba dam, a new dam or dams will be built further up stream - provided Sydney is still there; the way things are shaping there is a fair chance it won't be. Maybe the physicists will start an atomic fire they can't put out, or perhaps the atmosphere will be poisoned by radio activity or just plain old-fashioned smoke and fumes. Perhaps we will run out of the chemicals essential to our war against the insects and microbes and they will win. Or we may go the way of other cities that have exhausted the country of its stored fertility and readily available timber, ores and fuel. One way or another the time will come when the dam wall is no longer maintained. Water has an inevitable way of passing obstacles. Perhaps a faint seepage will gradually enlarge, or there will be a rock fall. The water will find its way round the wall. Slowly it will cut its way through the silt and drain the newly formed flats. The bush, which may prove more durable than us, will spread over them. The rains will fall on the mountains, the river, by that time having, perhaps, cut a foot or two deeper into the mountains, will flow on to Broken Bay, and, except for an old wall part way across the Warragamba Gorge, there will be no trace of the Water Board's lake.
Men Of The Trees.
(A treasure mined from Taro's wealth)
A notice displayed in parks and gardens in Portugal.
“Ye who pass by and would raise your hand against me, harken ere you harm me.
I am the heat of your hearth on cold winter nights, the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun, and my fruits are refreshing draughts quenching your thirst as you journey on. I am the beam that holds your house, the board of your table, the bed on which you lie, and the timber that builds your boat. I am the handle of your hoe, the door of your homestead, the wood of your cradle and the shell of your coffin.
I am the bread of kindness and the flower of beauty. Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer: harm me not. ”
The following has been posted to the Sydney Bushwalker by “Mouldy” Harrison, who thinks some of our readers may be interested to know what happens on the other side of the world.
Government And The Geese.
It is a strange chain of cause and effect which links the discovery of the atom with the life of the Brent Goose.
When Lord Rutherford found the atom in 1906 the Brent Goose was living quietly at Dengie Flats, Essex, his principal winter haunt in Europe.
The years rolled on. The atom was split. Meetings of the great were held in Washington and London to determine the use of nuclear power. After the war the British Government decided to lay down a programme of nuclear research. Then, in a major decision of policy, they decided that the Central Electricity Authority should embark on a programme of nuclear power stations. A White Paper was issued. The vast machine of government began to move. Sites were sought for nuclear power stations. One of the first sites found was at Bradwell in Essex. The Central Electricity Authority approached the Essex County Council for planning permission and their co-operation in building the station. The county council's planning committee let it be known that they were considering the proposal.
The Essex Bird Watching and Preservation Society objected. The site at Bradwell was only 1 1/2 miles from an area which, because of its wealth of bird life and popularity with bird-watchers, had been suggested as a nature reserve. Besides, the area included Dengie Flats where the Brent Goose has his winter home. The mighty machine of government faltered. The objection of the Essex Bird Watching and Preservation Society had to be looked into. The Brent Goose was declining in numbers and, stated the Society, “The proposed station would further aggravate the position.” The Brent Goose indeed has a hard time of it. He already has to contend with a cannon-firing and bombing range in the middle of his winter home. Now he will have the noiseless, smokeless wonder of nuclear power next door.
The county council said, “We have carefully considered the matter in the light of the information supplied by the Authority and the objections received. With regard to the objections by the Essex Bird Watching and Preservation Society, although it is likely that the construction of the station may react unfavourably on the bird life in the neighbourhood we feel that, in view of the absence of smoke and noise usually associated with the conventional type of power station, once the building has been erected the effects might not be so serious as to justify our objecting on this ground.”
Perhaps the objectors were afraid the station might blow up, in which case it is highly likely that Dengie Flats would be obliterated. The county council, sitting at Chelmsford, could afford to take a calm and considered view.
The Brent Goose will no doubt continue to winter in England where, even if he has no vote, he enjoys representation.
It Was All Snow's Fault - Or Bludging With Brown
- By the whole party.
This was a typical S.B.W. trip; it didn't go - well, anyway, not as per programme.
Originally we were to go to Colong Caves and Snow Brown was leader, but Snow was lurking at Penrith refreshment rooms so the party made a snap decision at Central to take the leader to Jenolan. The beauty of this scheme was that we had heard that the Catholic Bushwalkers were also going to Jenolan that week-end, presumably with permission to cave, and here was our opportunity for some first-class bludging - perhaps we could even borrow their duralumin ladder.
The Admiral escorted the three girls of the party into a dog-box with a gent in one corner and a do-dah-what in the other. (Sorry to have to mention this structure, but both it and the gent are important to our story.) The Admiral outlined the plot to utilize the C.B.C. by careful infiltration of their camp and unobtrusively adding ourselves to their party whilst caving. “Whacko,” said we, “that sound's beaut!” A smirk slid over the silent gent's face.
From then on the conversation became more general. And then a second plot emerged - Heather hid one pack in the do-dah-what so when Snow joined us he would think that the Admiral hadn't turned up, thus leaving Snow unchaperoned with the three girls. Unfortunately the Admiral himself didn't have time to hide.
Snow joined us at Penrith counted packs and bods, and assumed the gent in the corner was a tourist, which indeed he looked with clean shoes and creased pants. We told you it was all Snow's fault.
We elaborated the Admiral's plan of the advantages of friendly relationship with the C.B.C., and then started on the juicier items of club gossip, Marathons - oops, long walks - Kowmung trips and Love-a-ducks and ducklings. The other occupant of our compartment actually smiled at our mention of such queer names as the Dalai Lama, Donna, The Admiral, The Sheriff and Snow.
Disaster struck at Blackheath! As our silent friend prepared to leave us we saw the medallion badge on his pack, and now he claimed one of the caving helmets in the luggage rack. He was a member of the C.B.C. caving trip. Now we understood the reason for his silent amusement. A thousand horrors. What had we said. A little applied psychology was needed to save the day and the Admiral was the man to do it by claiming friendship with the leaders of their trip. So he proceeded to shoot a line of bull: “Did some of your mob go by train? I thought you were all travelling by car with Elaine Skinner, Basil Jackson and my friend Jim Weston. Do you know Jim Weston?”
Our silent gent gave us a long, deep, thoughtful look before he replied, “I am Jim Weston.” For once S.B.W. had nothing to say - not even the Admiral.
As the train moved slowly out of Blackheath we collapsed on the floor helpless with laughter. For the rest of the trip to Mt. Victoria we racked our brains, with heartfelt groans, to recall what we had said. Our next problem was what we were going to say when we met the C.B.C. party.
Fortunately we reached the campsite first and grabbed the best possies and tent poles and pinched the woodpile. We were in bed when they arrived, so it was 10 o'clock next morning before the two parties met. Even then relations were still friendly, the reason being that Jim hadn't arrived.
However, on our return from caving it was obvious that the cat was out of the bag and that Weston had spilt the beans. So we approached in fear and trembling when we saw their knowing grins - should we be brave or should we sneak past? Then we decided on the brazen approach, “Does anyone here know our friend Jim Weston?”
Evidently they all did, and so do we now. Just ask any of our party do they know Jim Weston and they'll say, “Do we know Jim Weston? Just ask us. Do we know our old friend Weston? Gosh, we're old pals - we've even got a colour s1ide to prove it. Why Jim has even been caving with us at Jenolan.”
The Joys Of Aqua-Lunging.
(As seen through the eyes of a novice)
- Dot Butler.
What a wonderful summer Walks Programme it has been, this one just expired; practically everything on it except walking! In addition to an Annual Reunion, a Swimming Carnival, Instructional week-ends and Family week-ends we have had a launch trip, a couple of bludge week-ends at Blue Gum, floating down the Cox on inflated inner tubes, caveing, gold-panning, rock-climbing…. and aqua-lunging.
It was, of course, the engineers who started it. Pete and Garth got hold of an aqau-lung from some underwater spearfishing source and copied it. Now we have about half-a-dozen.
Come with me all you pure novices, and be initiated into the select circle of aqua-lungers.
The party assembles at the sacrificial site, probably half a dozen victims and anything up to 20 onlookers so that if your courage deserts you and you feel like pulling out you're not game.
The High Priest selects his first victim and proceeds to array the body in its essential paraphernalia. Imagine it to be Kath Gibbs as we saw her on that sparkling summer day at Era, looking dainty and feminine in a pure white costume with not a contour out of place in all the fine shining ensemble.
Around her slender waist is passed a webbing belt heavily studded with lead bosses to weigh 8 lbs. The intricacies of the safety catch are explained to her so that she will know how to release and drop the belt and shoot to the surface if (when) she gets into difficulties. Her dainty feet are fitted into huge ungainly rubber flippers about 2 ft. long. “Leave your sandshoes on and they'll stay on better.”
On to her back is loaded a 30 lb. contraption of compressed air cylinders, taps, straps, and breathing tubes. Across her chest is hooked another couple of straps attached to a circular silver object - the reducer valve? - which rests on her timid bosom and rises and falls with each fluttering breath she draws. (As if this were not enough! Bear up body, there is worse to come!)
Over her wild, wild eyes are placed tight-fitting, glass-fronted rubber goggles. “Spit in them first and sluice them in the water - it keeps the glass clear.” Spit… woosh… on! Oh, how unhygenic and affronting to the scruples of triple-certificated Sister Gibbs. Pull it down over her nose. “Keep your mouth shut. Now, can you breathe through your nose?”…. A terrified shake of the head…. “No? Good! She's watertight.” (Could life hold any greater terror? Could it! Say, listen sister, you haven't even been launched yet!)
She is grasped firmly by each arm and led towards the surf, flapping and stumbling and giving at the knees. (Will nobody rescue me from this nightmare?) The waves are now up to her waist; there is no hope of release; she must go under.
“Bring her out of the water,” says Peter suddenly, “It's too rough.” (Ah, nice, kind Peter. He doesn't intend to drown me after all. How thoughtful of him to notice my fear and let me off.) “Bring her out,” says Pete. “We won't take her in there - she might lost some of the gear.”
So she is led out of the surf and along to the rock-pool which couldn't be much better, and duly submerged. But at least she didn't lose any of their precious gear.
She emerged nearly petrified with fright, and was mercifully left alone to recover her shattered nerve and get herself back into focus while the experts surged off in search of more intrepid locations at South South….(of which, more next issue.)
The Latest In Wedding Announcements:
Peggy Bransden and Roly Cotter married on April 24th.
Elizabeth Lorraine (Betty to you) Swain to Peter Armstrong on Wed., 9th May.
Congratulations to all concerned.
The Caloola Club (Founded 1945)
A Visit to The Warrumbungle and Nandewar Mountains during May (approximately 12 days).
From May 18th to 30th.
Cost will be ten pounds covering transport and supply of food.
The Club will supply most of the cooking, eating and camping equipment but not cutlery, bedding nor personal gear. Enquiry will indicate what is available.
Members of Party will be expected to serve on rosters for the preparation of food, cooking, clearing and other camp chores.
The route will be across the Blue Mountains commencing Friday May 18th, at 6.30 p.m. from the Clubroom, 31 Byron Street, Croydon. The first camp will be at the River Lett, Hartley Valley and the next in the Warrumbungle Mtns themselves. The day's run will be through Mudgee and the towns of the north western slopes. Time will be spent in the Warrumbungles visiting the many interesting peaks and volcanic features… all part of a new National Park of 14,000 acres. After leaving the Warrumbungles the party will go through the Pilliga Scrub… the best stand of Ironbark and Cypress Pine in N.S.W. … to Narrabri. Near this town are the Nandewar Mtns, another interesting area of volcanic flows and butts. Some time will spent here, noting in particular, Mt Kaputar which is 5,000 feet high being capped with a little snowline flora. The return trip will be through Tamworth and the Hunter Valley.
Bookings should be made without delay. A registration fee of 2/6d is required from all non-members of the Club.
Please pay a deposit of £3/-/- by Monday, May 114th.
Bookings: Mrs E.M. Dingeldei, 42 Byron Street, Croydon, UA2983. Enquiries at above or with A.A. Strom at WB 2528.
[ Map of Budewangs and Nandewars ]
New Zealand Influence.
- John Bookluck
Our New Zealand friends have shown us many desirable qualities and goods. For example, the Parka. Here is a combined windjacket and groundsheet of both economy and simplicity it design.
It is styled along H-line pattern and finishes 2“ to 3” above the knee, thus offering complete walking freedom. Lady Bushwalkers you need not worry about waist, bust, hip or any other lines, thus you're as desirable as the next.
Bushwalkers, would you change into slacks in public? - certainly a convenience often desired - then you need a parka. This unique property of the parka was recently revealed to me on an official trip. Whilst staring blankly into space my gaze was transfixed by a pair of shorts at the feet of a New Zealand lass who stepped out of them and proceeded to step into slacks without the slightest concern or embarrassment.
Thus the parka is another form of apparel which helps to keep bushwalkers in the neuter gender.
[ Diagram of parka ]
Rear view of parka.
Front - Same as rear.
Side - Same as front.
Extract from "the Melbourne Walking & Touring Club" Walks Programme.
Walkers! Psychoanalize yourself with the simple test. Score 10,000 points for each yes.
Do you like the Dandenongs in the Autumn? Yes. No.
Do you like strolling along ferny bush tracks?
Do you like lunching beside bubbling cascades?
If you score less than 30,000 points you're:
A. Painting the roof of your house.
B. A native of New South Wales.
C. Wife won't let you go.
The Putt Farewell Party.
- Dot Butler
A Farewell Party to Colin and Jane was held at the Madden's place on the Tuesday night before Anzac Day, the idea being that the participants would have all next day to recover, which showed great foresight on the part of the organisers and their deep knowledge of bushwalkers' behaviour at parties - and after.
The first arrivals at 7 p.m. found Stan under the shower and Jenny half dressed and icing cakes. It didn't take much grey matter to realise that our arrival was a bit premature, but we made amends by helping prepare the fruit punch. Jean and Grace and Judy and Dot with painstaking care cut the fruit into elegant tiny cubes and put it in glass dishes to await the ice which was coming per motorbike with Pete Stitt. When Snow arrived, “Ah, fruit punch!” says Snow, “You put it through the vitamiser.” So the vitamiser was revved up to full speed ahead and all the coloured cubic jewels were put in and reduced to a horrible “have-you-had-it-yet-or-are-you-going-to” consistency with froth on the top, and dumped into Jenny's nappy pail, which fortunately she had scoured out beforehand, there to await the arrival of Stitt with the other essential ingredients.
Meanwhile Geof and Alan and Ross and George and the rest of the boys were outside helping Stan get the barbecue coals glowing. Jenny watched with some heartburning as the scraps of timber were thrown on the fire and consumed by the flames - all waste bits and pieces left over when they built their home, and each piece bearing a memory of the past. “We're just burning money when we burn this,” said Stan, throwing on a heap of tail ends of flooring boards.
Most people get lost when they go to the Maddens'. After spiralling round the whole of Eastwood you eventually find the place by going up a road whose lower extremity is called Wishart St., but which changes its name at the waist line to Norma Avenue. This name it keeps for the upper extremity, and on its left hand shoulder you find the Madden's place sitting, garnished with gum trees and kangaroo paws, only you can't see the latter in the dark.
We were all waiting on Hooper. He had said he was going to be early and bring a tape recorder and get a recording of the whole show from beginning to end. We had visions of him corkscrewing round the dark streets wondering why the moon was never in the same place twice, and Stan was just thinking of organising a Search & Rescue when Hooper himself arrived with tape-recorder at the ready. We had barely time to get it set up in the garage and those present heard the voice of James Hooper Esquire of Station 2 SBW introducing the show, when with a loud blaring of its horn the Puttmobile arrived. The sound of its motor was dubbed in by the simple subterfuge of starting up the Madden Holden which was already in situ in the garage. There were loud recorded cheers from the primed up multitude as the Putts roared down the drive and were duly welcomed within pick-up radius of the microphone.
Next down the path comes a moth-eaten Renault (to think that was new once!) and out step Snow and Garth who have to be lured in front of the microphone to say their piece and answer pertinent questions on the subject of gin.
what's this roaring velocipede backfiring to a standstill in front of the garage? What else could it be but the Stitt motor-bike. Little Johnnie Nopants, aged 1 3/4, turned his wide guileless eyes towards his mother; “It thmelths,” he said. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings cometh wisdom - or truth, or what-have-you. Still, we could have told you the same ourselves, Pete showed a great reluctance to facing the microphone; “I deny everything,” he said. (It must be dreadful to have a guilty conscience, says Geof.)
By this time some 20 odd guests had arrived (odd is the right words), so they adjourned to the house for a fashion parade and a notoriously fashion-conscious femme was given the job of compereing the show.
Then outside to throw balls at each other and scuffle round on the rolling greensward - there is no other name for the immaculate Madden lawns. Seeing that Stan chases a motor mower 20 miles each day round the local lawns, he must keep his own in fine condition as an advertisement. “No wonder Stan is such a good walker,” says Colin. “With all that exercise he must be fighting fit.” “I am,” says Stan, “But Gee, so's the mower!”
Meanwhile no one was neglecting the two pails of fruit punch with icebergs floating in them nine-tenths submerged. Mugs were handy to bail it out and glasses were kept filled, and fun and laughter filled the night.
A red glow of coals now awaited the cooks, so a flattened-out fire screen was erected on four waiting pipe supports and the chops and steak and sausages were laid thereon and cooked by the time Jenny arrived with plates of bread and butter.
Then as we at on our groundsheets in front of the fire eating, the tape-recorded was switched on and various vocal items were recorded starting at the lowest end of the scale with Colin's rendering of “Jean Batiste Esquire”, through Ross and Yvonne's part singing and Garth's sad song of despair “Lift me up Tenderly”, and soaring up to the glorious heights (?) of Geof and Heather's duet from the Golden Screw. (If you don't think this description is apt you can blame the recorder; somehow it didn't sound quite the same when we played it back, but you're all going to be given an opportunity of hearing it one Wednesday night.)
About midnight when everyone was just warming up nicely, what with punch and fire and medicine ball and common or garden scruffing, Jane and Yvonne were overcome by a wicked impulse and turned the garden hose on us. Hell's teeth! The screams of blue murder and imprecations hurled at the heads of our guest of honour and her confederate! - and you'd think butter wouldn't melt in their mouths. It didn't take long to overpower the insurgents. The boys took the hose away and hid it in the woodpile and we all settled down to a second or third supper of chocolate cake and tea while we forgave them.
Then the Putts and their passengers had to leave for home as there was still a lot of Putt packing to be done before Jane's departure the next day. We rallied out the front and all stood on the wall in a row like shags in the fair fine night and watched them set out, Colin and Jane sitting up like royalty on the high front seat with little Margaret between them parping gaily on the horn and baby Gerard asleep in his netted pram lashed fast in the back between the Wilsons and the Renwicks who were seated in comfort on the new inner spring mattresses presented as a parting gift for the Puttmobile (at least we'll travel soft on future trips in the infernal machine) - and we thought what a fine wholesome young family are the Putts and isn't it good they'll be coming back again next August to dwell once more among us.
What filled in the rest of the night only Bushwalkers know, but by the time the light seemed to be taking on a different glow and a few little twittering birds were making odd flutterings in the scribbly gums and pawpaw trees we took a look at a watch and found it was, surprisingly, 4 a.m. So we laid out our mattresses and eiderdowns and cushions round the fire, then lay in our sleeping bags on our backs for a while looking up at the heavens. A full moon lit up a skyful of white clouds which made a tessellated pattern like breaking ice floes over its whole expanse, and down channels of blue space between the floes stars floated, impelled by some great skyey current ever towards the west.
One by one we drifted Off to sleep, all thirteen of us welded into one happy whole, with our companions' breath warm on the back of our necks.
And in the silence, like some last late bird came the plaintive voice of Snow protesting that he didn't see why people had to go to sleep on such a glorious night and why wouldn't someone stay awake to talk to him.
Extra odds and ends.
Just to show how Sunday walks are increasing in popularity, on Brian Harvey's recent Sunday walk from Mt. Kuring-gai there were 17 members, 1 visitor and 2 children, and they all enjoyed themselves thoroughly.
A couple of extra Easter trips to report:
Ernie French, Frank Leyden and Bill Cosgrove set out to explore new country in the Nandewar ranges. They travelled by train both ways, and unfortunately struck all the bad weather that the Warrumbunglers were able to slough off on the second day.
Paddy, with a party of 8, had a very pleasant Easter in the Castle Rock region. There are nine million six hundred and severity two thousand three hundred and eighty six leeches in the area, and they met them all. Paddy enjoyed the trip so much he has promised to write it up for the Bushwalker Magazine for next month - or the month after - or the month after that - well, anyhow, if he gets time he will. We'll be waiting on the postman, Paddy.
Social Notice - do you know where the Krarkoram is?
Neither did I till I looked it up in an atlas. It is a range of mountains between Sinkiang and Kashmire. Would you like to see the place? Don't wait till you win the lottery. Come along to the Club Room on Wednesday, 16th May, 1956 and see it for yourself.
Colour slides by Garth's friend, Saaed.
An omission from Federation Report:
The Federation will send a representative to the NNew Settlers' League to assist New Australians to understand the bushwalkers' attitude to the bushlands.
Are you snowbound this winter? Or are you bound for the snow?
Paddy has the works!
Ash skiis for the lower income group and fibre-glass skiis for the mechanised-transport wallahs.
Stocks and bindings and mitts and gloves and everything.
Come and inspect or ring for price list to be sent.
Phone: MB 2685
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney.