Table of Contents
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown Street, Sydney. Box No, 4476 2 G.P.O., Sydney. Phone: JW 1462.
270 JUNE 1957 Price 9d
|Frank Rigby, 70 Beach Road, Darling Point. MU 4411
|Sales & Subs
|At our May Meeting - Alex Colley
|“We are Lost Little Sheep” - Sheep Dip
|Siedlecky's Taxi 8c Tourist Service (Advt. )
|Your Walking Guide
|What's the Social Programme Say?
|Progress Report on S.B.W. Ski Hut - Arthur Gilroy
|Hattswell's Taxi 8: Tourist Service (Advt.)
|“The Roughest Country in the State” - Grace Aird
|White Ant Borings
|The Sanitarium Health Food. Shop (Advt. )
|Seven Weeks in New Zealand - Part 4 - Dot Butler 13
|Federation Report May, 1957 - Tine Mathews
|The Fed. Reune and Epilogue - Taro
|April Walks Report - Brian Anderson
|Leica Photo Service (Advt.)
|The New Song Book
|Ski-ing Days are Here Again (Paddy's Advt.)
No folks, no need to get all tensed up, you can relax this time. After last month's Editorial (which apparently provoked some marathon discussions) we're laying low for a bit and just want to pass on a thing or two about the Magazine. In fact, this screed is not even an Editorial's poor relation, but just an excuse, probably, to put the Editor's stamp somewhere on the Sydney Bushwalker.
On page 6 you will find a new feature prepared by our pre-eminent Walks Secretary, Brian Anderson (The Admiral to you). “Your Walking Guide” from now on will be a “regular” and will cover the period from the week-end immediately after the Monthly General Meeting to the weekend immediately before the next General Meeting, This arrangement should ensure that the Mag. is in most members' hands at least a few days before the first walk of the period is due to start.
The notes on each trip are necessarily brief, but should at least enable some idea of the nature of the walk to be gained. If it does no more than this, then it will have served its purpose. We're hoping, of course, that it will help to promote our walking activity by creating an interest in the country described. The information on fares, footwear etc, should also prove handy. But Leaders, don't let this stop you advertising your trip in greater detail if you wish to do so. (Note how the Editor has cunningly shelved any responsibility for the accuracy of the “good oil”. If you come back scratched, tattered and exhausted from a trip billed as a “pleasant, leisurely stroll”, you'll know where to vent your wrath!)
We've expanded slightly to 24 pages this issue and hope to be able to stick to it - the Business Manager figures we might still just manage to stay solvent at that size. But one feature, I'm afraid, remains conspicuous by its absence - a cartoon or two. Where are the Club's cartoonists? With so many “Characters” and “Artists” of sundry types among our members, we must be missing out on an awful lot of fun.
One more morsel for your appetite - we're working on an idea that could boost the prestige of your magazine. But it's all too hush-hush as yet and you'll have to stay curious - more about our secret weapon later on, we hope.
Finally, our thanks to all concerned for the many splendid contributions rolling in - keep up the good work.
At Our May Meeting
At the start of the meeting the President extended welcomes to Kevin Ardill, back from Lord Howe Island; to Jim Cuthbertson from Brisbane Bushwalkers, here on another visit; and to Noel Smith, a new member. An apology was received from Tom Moppett.
Two delegates, Ron Knightley and Malcolm McGregor, were elected to attend a conservation meeting on June 1st. The President also announced that, as Tine Matthews, elected in absentia as a Federation delegate, could not take on the job, another delegate would be elected at our next meeting.
Once again our Walks Sec. Brian Anderson, lightened our hearts with a mirth - making yet very comprehensive Walks Report for April. If he keeps up this style we can be assured of at least one good laugh at future meetings.
In general business John Bookluck moved that we adopt the army system of time recording on our walks programme, thus removing any doubts as to when the walk started and proving ourselves to be in the forefront of the walking movement. Brian Anderson seconded the motion and said he was horrified that people should find any difficulty in recognising how the system worked. Airline Companies all used it. He knew of two occasions when there had been confusion as to whether the time was a.m, or p.m, on the programme. John Quigley said that we were a civil club and most of our members had not had service experience, The railways didn't use the system, and it would be easier
if we used the same system as that of other organisations. Jim Brown thought that the Admiral might show times as the number of bells, but, if he didn't, the army system would make for clarity. He had seen several mistakes made, Jess Martin said that there should be no mistake if members checked with the leader, as they should. Frank Barlow said it was a common sense system used by airways, shipping companies etc. It had been used long before the army adopted it and obviated the possibility of mistake. It was simply not true that women couldn't count to 24. Frank Ashdown said that everyone knew that on Fridays walks started p.m., on Saturdays during the day and on Sundays a.m. Even if the programme said a.m. when it should be p.m. everyone knew what was what. It was then moved that the motion be put, which it was, despite an interjection of “you cad!”, and was lost.
(We pleaded with a Certain Member to write up the Easter trip to Bendethra Caves. The C.M's reaction was cunningly defensive - “You know damn well I can't write ordinary orthodox stuff so don't blame me when you see the result - it's either got to be an ear shattering shambles or nothing.” Well, the C.M. accepted the challenge and we waited with baited breath - and we were not disappointed. As you will see, his parting gesture gives every promise of a story surpassing the daring “Goodies and Baddies” serials we lapped up at Saturday matinees when we were knee high to a grasshopper. See how long it takes you to guess the author's identity - Ed.)
"We Are Lost Little Sheep"
Morris Minor : Ern. Munns, Margaret Innes, Frank Young
Renault : Frank Rigby, Joan Walker, Brian Anderson
Holden :Neil Schafer, Christa Zeidler, Don Reid, Bev. Price
Austin A40 : George Grey Heather Joyce (Leader), Neville Picton
“Hey: Frank, are you awake?” cried the Admiral.
“Of course I am”, replied Frank, rather hurt to think he was being accused of sleeping at the wheel.
“Well, why the devil is the car wandering all over the road?”
“Ah no”, moaned Frank, “We've a flat tyre. It's your b— heavy pack in the back that's caused this”, added Frank to justify the mishap.
“Fiddlesticks,” roared the Admirals “It's your gutless wonder of a car”.
“All, well let's get out and fix it,” said Frank, “The other cars should be along very shortly. Come on Joan, wake up and hop out, we have a flat tyre.”
Joan,who had been asleep, staggered out of the back seat and stood her eyes fixed, gazing at Frank and Brian in that characteristic dream, common to all walkers who have just been woken out of a deep sleep. A few moments had elapsed when on the moonlit, undulating horizon appeared the lights of Neil's Holden and Ern's Morris. As the Morris pulled up the bearded countenance of Ern Munns appeared leering and sneering. “Something wrong with your cars Mister?” It was just as well the tyre levers were out of Digby's reach. The group of would be mechanics now gathered around offering miscellaneous advice when Neville, Heather and her dog Rudolph drove up. It was then we all received a shock, to find out that Rudolph wasn't Rudolph at all. It was George Grey in his “bear” skin.
As repairs were nearly completed, Heather informed her cold followers that the camp site would be under the bridge that crosses the Shoalhaven River. Within a micro-second the motorised mob sped off in to the darkness, leaving George to crank up his car. Poor George, he had run out of rubber bands again.
Good Friday was now two hours old as the tired bodies settled into their sleeping bags. The ground was sandy and wet, but who cares when you only have four hours to sleep. At 02.14 Hrs. the sky was completely clear. The stars in their full glory looked down upon the thirteen peaceful, dreaming walkers. But suddenly out of the heavens a piercing white light raced towards the innocent sleepers. Within Seconds all hell was let loose - Boom - Boom - Doom ra - tat - tat -tat-Bang.
Under such an onslaught the screaming tortured bodies tossed, twisted and turned - then silence. For five minutes there was not a sound until the beard-muffled voice of Neil Schafer murmured “If any more cars go over that flipping bridge - we'll get no sleep at all.”
After a leisurely breakfast, a milk shake at Braidwood and a talk to a horse, the party finally left their cars and set off for Bendethra. Heather's plan of attack for the first day's walking was easy - climb up onto the Main Divide and then find a suitable ridge down to the Deua River, the only hitch being that only two maps covered the area. One was the N.R.M.A. road sheet, the other being the map of New South Wales on Central Station. Of course the former, being more portable, was used.
At one o'clock (1300 hrs) the white ants became active. Slowly and rythmically they chanted their war cry - Lunch!, Lunch ! Lunch ! Poor Heather was completely outnumbered. Although it was a dry lunch the mob were quite happy. In fact as long as they were sitting down they were always happy.
From our lunch spot on the Main Divide the Deua River could be seen ambling among the ridges on the near horizon. Two clearings also on the river were easily seen but the question that worried the leader was - which was Bendethra Homestead? Which ridge ran off the Divide to the Deua? Where would we meet the Deua River? Would we recognise Bendethra Homestead? Would we find Con Creek? Will we find the caves? Will the Editor print another ridiculous episode of this?
Don't forget to buy next month's issue and find out what happened to the “Clots on Con Creek”.
Letter to the Editor
3 Park Avenue, Roseville,
15th April, 1957.
When going on a walk, particularly a weekend walk, I always like to know who will be going. Even when I want to go, and, am unable to do so, I am a still always eager to know who is going, or after it has gone, who went. This applies to most walks. I am really interested to know, and yet it is often hard to find, out after the event. You hear that Don Matthews had 15 on his walk, Geoff Wagg, 8 a week later and the same weekend David Ingram had 20. Who are all these walkers? If space permitted, would there be any objection to publishing in the Magazine lists of the people who go on our Programme Walks? I feel certain that I would not be the only one who would read them over with sincere interest. Perhaps, through the magazine, we could have the views of other members.
Yours sincerely, Henry Ford.
Your Walking Guide
June 14-15-16-17 Upper Kowmung Area. Ridges to Kowmung River medium to rough walking - this part of Kowmung R. and programmed creeks rough 1 hour 1 mile type of walking country. Some method of waterproofing gear is desirable if swimming through Morong Deep. Due to cold weather leader will probably try and avoid swimming Deep. Excellent rugged river scenery - explorations of creeks should prove extremely interesting. Rubber sole shoes a great help on river, See Leader re fares.
June 14-15-16-17 Pidgeon House - Castle Area. Medium graded track to foot of Pidgeon House - Steep pull to rock face of only a few hundred feet - Climb through rock face easy by means of chimney - 360 view of area below. From Pidgeon House to Castle - medium track along ridge to Clyde and up creek to camp site. Actual climb will take most part of one day. Unusual rock type tunnel makes access to top fairly easy. View from top - “mighty, bonno,” etc. Frameless type pack handy when climbing Castle. See Leader re fares.
June 22-23 Yeola Area. As distance is to be covered in 3 days, pace will be steady. Walking mostly along bush type tracks. No serious hill climbing, except for small area near Yeola. Good coastal views - area very interesting if first visit - Test Walk. Return fare 26/-.
June 22-23. Grand Canyon. Tourist type track all the way. Medium pull up, out of Grand Canyon. Excellent sandstone cliff views. Many picturesque waterfalls and creeks. Ideal walk for prospectives or those out of condition. Return fare 24/9.
June 22-23 'Burgh Track area. Easy track walking - good coastal beach views. Slight medium pull out of Burning Palms Beach. Tea in bush will make a pleasant ending to the day in the Royal National Park. Return fare.
June 28-29-30 Narrow Neck - Megalong Area, Main requirement of this walk is to be in reasonable condition. All things considered a well balanced walk including ridge, track, river and creek walking with some rock climbing in Galong Ck. and on Carlons Head ending with pleasant walking through Megalong to Red Ledge. Rubber sole shoes a help in Galong Ck. Return fare 22/2d.
June 29-30 Barren Grounds Area. Easy to medium trip - coastal views - little scratchy on Saddleback. Bush track most of the way. Return fare 29/5.
June 30 Tunks Creek Area. Mainly medium creek walking with some road walking, Ideal Sunday walk of eleven miles. Return fare 4/2.
July 5-6-7. Blue Labyrinth Area. Medium weekend walk covering mainly ridge track walking and portion of Erskine Ck. Erskine Ck. a little bushy. This trip gives a good impression of Blue Labyrinth, especially if it's wet. Return fare 12/3,
July 6 -7
July 7 Stanwell Tops to Campbelltown. Steep pull up to Stanwell Top. Easy bush and track walking to O'Hares Ck. - then 2-3 miles scratchy creek walking until track is picked up again. Road walk from Woolwash to Campbelltown. Good views of Stanwell Park Area. Test Walk. Return fare 10/2.
Cowan Area, Well graded track to Rhodes boatshed. A bit scratchy between trig stations. Wonderful views of Broken Bay area. Good medium type test walk, Return fare 6/9.
What's The Social Programme Say ?
All through the year it has gone on. We've tolerated 'em, we've waited for 'em, we've posed for 'em, we've humoured 'em, we've cursed 'em and we've disowned 'em, but about this time of the year we begin to admire 'em. Who's “'em”, anyway? Who else, indeed, but the photographers?
Now comes their big opportunity to justify their odd ways and answer their critics with arguments in black and white, So, PHOTOGRAPHERS, don't miss out whatever you do, your chance only comes once a year. Bury yourselves in those dank darkrooms and conjure up your masterpieces —-
And, SPECTATORS, roll up and see the show. Judging by the talent displayed in previous years, you too will want to evolve into that unique member of the Animal Kingdom, Genus - Bushwalker, Species - photographic.
THE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION IS TO BE HELD IN THE CLUBROOM ON JUNE 26TH. VISITORS VERY WELCOME.
Remember the “bit of a do” down at the A.B.C. Auditorium on 22nd May. Well, you can hear the result if you tune in to the “Any Questions” programme over 2FC at 7.45 p.m. on Wednesday, 12th June. We believe there'll be a radio in at the Clubroom for those coming along to the General Meeting on that night.
Our congratulations to Roy and Mary Braithwaite - they have a brand new son - another bushwalker in the making we hope.
In 1891 Kanangra Walls were known as the Kownung Walls (notice the two n's) and were alive with native bears and wild dogs. Has anyone ever seen the aboriginal carvings under a rock shelter at the base of the precipitous Kanangra Walls edging the south-eastern arm of the Kownung? Have you?
Progress Report on the S.B.W. Ski Hut
The Sub-Committee Chairman entered into further correspondence with the Kosciusko Park Trust Manager with the view to S.B.W. representatives again visiting the Park with the object of selecting a new hut site. Accordingly four members of the sub-committee visited the Perisher area on the week end of May 18th l9th armed with location pegs, steel tape, dumpy level and maps, to make another attempt at site selection. Our previous claim arranged by Frank Duncan with the Park Trust Manager was jumped by other hut builders.
A new site was provisionally selected, and will be subject to Trust approval, on the north eastern slope of the Back Perisher, about feet elevation up a steep slope above the valley floor, and on the edge of a gently sloping grassy plateau generously sprinkled with snow gums. The trees are in good condition indicating shelter from blizzards,
The site is about 15 minutes (timed) walk from the main road at the old Rock Creek Hut and only about 100 yards from a new summer season access road which the Trust has promised to form and surface during next summer. The slope from this road to the site is gentle enough to permit summer truck access, initially with building materials and later we hope fuel and food, right to the door.
There are about 8 other huts, all of good standard, spaced irregularly at about 100 yard intervals in the vicinity, but the landscape is such (and the Trust insists) that no hut shall be visible from any other. Our selection of course, conforms to this arrangement. Thus our site would allow us to join a small village so disposed as to offer good privacy, yet provide a share in services and safety which the assembly assures.
The Clubs consultants in Architecture and Building construction Messrs Rainer and Scot were present, and the lengthy debates, made possible by long hours of travel and confined space of a car, seemed to indicate that the resources which our preliminary financial survey revealed would at least provide during next summer, assuming also reasonable club labour, an unlined hut shell with roof and floor, of area 600 square feet. This is the minimum area to conform to Trust requirements.
Such a structure with bare necessities in the way of interior fitments, could allow, finances permitting, interior work to be extended into the winter period, so that a proportion of play could nicely temper the work.
STOP PRESS: It has since come to hand that Mr. Ainsworth, the Park Trust Manager, has approved of the site selected by our Ski Hut Sub-Committee.
"The Roughest Country in the State"
(Title by courtesy of Sydney Press)
The trip of April 26-27-28th started badly for Digby, our leader, and Arthur Peters when they realised they were outnumbered 2:5, the other half of the fraction being Joan Walker, Joan Cordell, Pat Cole, Marion White and me. The balance of power, Jim Hooper and the Admiral, hadn't yet returned from the search on the Grose River.
We left Sydney beneath a starry sky and after a train and car ride, bedded down for the night at Wheeny Creek beneath an even crisper, starrier sky which augured well for the morn to come. We were not disappointed as sleepy eyes opened to rest upon the sunlit ridges which swept into shadowy valleys and up again to the flat blue sky. There was laughter in the air and happiness ran through the camp until Joan W. discovered the loss of her slumber sack. Immediately suspecting the Black Duke of foul play she seized Digby and toughed him up a bit. No sleeping bag was forthcoming, so she, turned her suspicions to an innocent member. I ran for cover but was brought down by a good tackle, so agreed to show Joan where Arthur had hidden the article. We returned to camp and there discovered that my bag had vanished. This was eventually located behind a smirking gumtree.
Just then it was noticed that Joan W's pack had taken to the trees and hung suspended from a bending twig.
“My camera:” cries Joan.
So Arthur, in a chivalrous mood, retrieves the vagabond, and we are off.
Crossing the dew-topped lawns of the picnic ground we leave our assorted footprints and make our way up Wheeny Creek where the river moves lazily between sand-beds and the tree-lined banks provide a foreground for the sandstone cliffs high above.
This scenery is wonderful to view so we persuade our leader to sit for a moment and admire its beauty in the golden sunshine while the rest of us surreptitiously place leaves and twigs in a heap. Soon the billy is boiling and we're enjoying a rare pleasure - WHINING TEA! Behind us we hear burrowing noises and turn to see sand flying in every direction and Arthur disappearing into a hole in the roots of a tree where he suspects a wombat is hiding. However, the wombat is not home so Arthur joins us for a cuppa.
Presently we “up packs” and wade on until we are up among the boulders and deep pools where the creek, with an urgent note, gurgles swiftly down the tiny waterfalls. Then Digby announces : “I think this is the ridge we climb to Mountain Lagoon” and seven pairs of eyes scale it to the skyline high above.
“But a couple of hours for lunch first” says the leader, relieving the bad news.
The cool deep stream makes a swim irresistible on such a warm Autumn day, so we bare ourselves to its icy embrace and emerge, our skin tingling, to absorb the sunbeams against the warm rough rock. Even such bliss does not delay the hunger pangs of a walker and soon the party is busy at its main occupation - eating - while the dew-soaked tents dry on the rocks. All too soon it is time to be off and we turn our backs on Wheeny Creek as the climb begins. The rain forest grows thickly at the base of the ridge and as the party pushes its way through talking lessens and we each converse with our own thoughts. Towards the top the undergrowth disappears and gives way to a steep scree slope where we almost “knocked off” a couple of bods. To our leader's surprise we all arrived safely at the summit where the view over the Colo country and the plains of Richmond gave good excuse for a pause.
A short walk brought us to the other edge of the plateau where we could see our campsite for the night - Mountain Lagoon - as a silvery Q blue spot in the bright green of the surrounding paddocks. A down-hill scramble and we were at the edge of the lagoon where Digby and Arthur waded out to find us some water with less “body” and more water in it. They came back to tell us that it was much the same out in the centre and that it might be a good idea to follow Mountain Lagoon Creek down a short distance and camp there. The two of them, followed by Joan W. set off to reconnoitre the creek and came back some time later with the news that the creek was dry at the outlet, so we decided to make camp where were at the edge of the lagoon. Joan and Arthur gathered water buckets and set off to find some suitable water. What they brought back was not very suitable, but what more could you expect when they claimed to have been up to their necks in our drinking water, and didn't look much cleaner for it.
Soon a big campfire was burning and looking up to the orange-streaked sky you could imagine our fire was reflected there. Teas were sacrificed in the blaze and as the flames died down, contented walkers were busy eating. After dessert and coffee, Arthur entertained us with excerpts from his New Zealand song book while Joan W. wandered off with a book of the southern heavens from the Club Library (3d. per week) under her arm to locate our position by the stars.
As we wriggled into our bags Joan C. mentioned she was feeling ill, and while Joan drank salt and water I wondered whether we would all suffer the same fate if swamp water was the villain.
Next morning Joan was much better, but the weather had taken a turn for the worse and a light drizzle was falling. We ate breakfast as quickly as possible and turned our heads for home down Mountain Lagoon Creek. The rain dampened everyone's spirits, but our two prospective girls, Pat and Marion, seemed to take it and the accompanying leeches in their stride.
Although the creek falls fairly quickly down to Wheeny Gap, we spent all morning slipping, sliding and cursing as we followed the rocky creek-bed. At last the rain eased off, and about one o'clock we came upon a bend in the creek where red cliffs rise sheer from the creek on one side and a leaping waterfall provides a perfect setting for lunch. Here Marion, who had been walking in slacks, decided to make them pedal pushers. A knife was produced and Marion's slacks were given that carefree outdoor look.
With tummies filled and packs emptied we did the last part of Mountain Lagoon Creek in a few minutes and arrived at the junction of this creek and Wheeny Creek where a large pool reflected the heavy grey clouds. After gazing at the rocky ridge above, Digby consulted his map and decided that we should walk 1 mile up Wheeny Creek to a less precipitous one. Once again hop, hop, hop from rock to rock until our ridge appeared and we thankfully left the stream. It was quite a pull for Pat and Marion who were on their first weekend trip, but when asked if they would continue walking their reply was a very firm “yes”, and I hope we will see them often as they are very fine company.
The climb behind us, we followed a bush road until it joined the tarred Bell Road where car headlights could be seen flashing by. Here the girls decided to change and disappeared into the scrub with clean clothes. When I re-appeared Digby remarked - “All that time and you look no different”.
The others were treated more kindly and Arthur couldn't recognise Pat as the same girl. Digby had also beautified himself by placing on his golden locks a knitted cap.
In the glow of the sunset we walked to Kurrajong Heights, just in time to catch the bus, and after stowing our packs, relaxed to the hum of the engine speeding us back to the changeless city.
White Ant Borings
A new and menacing character, even more formidable than the Lord Mayor of Yerranderie, has appeared on the bushwalking scene. He has been christened the “Major-General of Bimlow” and apparently with good reason.
This Water Board Wallah adamantly refused to allow John Manning's 100 mile trippers to proceed up the Cox Valley a few weeks ago. Of course our stalwart walkers would not be daunted by such officiousness and outsmarted the Major-General by creeping past his hut in a dense fog in the wee small hours.
The Library Books Auction on May 8th had all the excitement of and more uncertainty than a Yearling Sales. Most bidders bought “a pig in a poke” and seemed to like it that way - there must have been something very persuasive about Auctioneer Heather Joyce's fast line of sales talk. Highest successful bid noted was about six silver deeners and lowest one penny, the latter being the reward of extreme patience by Geoff Wagg who had been bested all night because that was all the pocket money he had to spend.
Whopper of the Month (origin, of course New Zealand): Arthur Peters tells one about the two N.Z. sandflies who came upon a Tramper sleeping in his tent.
Says one: “Shall we eat him in here or outside?”
Replies his mate: “Let's eat here because if we carry him out there, the big ones will take him from us:“
(Snow says, having been in N.Z., he can almost believe this one).
Yes, they made it alright, or at least three doughty walkers proved they have what it takes. John Manning, Geoff Wagg and Mick Elphick completed the “100-miler”, only deviating from the programmed route by going up Black Dog Track and along Narrow Neck into Katoomba. The remainder, who threw in the towel somewhere along the line, have been terribly, terribly silent. Who blames them?
Noticed the Membership Sec. stuffing some bottle-like shapes into her bag the other night - probably a bottle or two of champagne for christening new members.
Dot and Yvonne went to Queensland to escape the naughty cold southern winter. Imagine their feelings in Rockhampton the other morning when the mercury dropped to 37. At the same hour of the same day in Sydney it was 48. That's Fate for you.
The S. & R. have some very new and appropriate words to describe their latest fiasco on the Grose recently. Leaving out the well known Australian adjectives, the rest boils down to something like a “Starr Turn”, with emphasis on the second “r” in “Starr”.
If you're after a wholesome sympathetic laugh, picture the pathetic sight of the Admiral (6'2” in his socks) unwinding himself from the back seat of a Renault (complete with 2 packs) after a two hour cramp. Such was the treat given the citizens of Berry on Easter Monday night en route from Bendethea Caves - must have looked something like a python emerging from a sardine tin.
Seven Weeks in New Zealand Part 1V
The first light of dawn lit up the ragged patchwork quilt of snow thrown over the sleeping shoulders of the Remarkables. It awoke the sleeping waters of Lake Wakitipu to blue life. It crept down the hushed hillside, through the eucalyptus and native trees, into the pavillion of the Queenstown sports ground. Three sleeping bundles stirred to life: “What's the time George?” Half past five. Time to get up. Remove the barricade of form we had erected at the shed entrance as a safeguard against possible grazing animals, roll up the 30f. of coir matting (the covering for the cricket pitch) which had been our bed for the past three nights - dip the face under the gushing tap among the white hemlock flowers - on with the boots - tuck in the shirt tails and tighten the belt - cook up a hasty breakfast on Snow's primus out on the grassy bank under the paling stars - stuff sleeping bags into packs, then off we dash to the bus terminus down by the lake for now we are away on the first leg of our real mountaineering adventure - a fortnight at Mt. Cook. It is a long journey hence the early start.
Old memories followed me as the bus sped overthe familiar ground I had traversed some half dozen times before- the well remembered pattern of green slopes and sheep and gorse - the same age-old wilderness of rock and worn-down tussock covered hills - the same dry heat- the same empty sky. And now at last the recognised lunch time stopping place at Lake Pukaki. Very soon now we would get our first glimpse of the Mt. Cook range, its peaks a sight to catch the heart, rising clear against the cold blue sky, its pure snowy beauty mirrored upside down in the still waters of the lake.
We got out with relief and to stretch our legs went down to the lake to have a look at the huge impressive dam construction. We had to wait for the Christchurch bus to come in with its quota of passengers for Mt. Cook, including the fourth member of our party, Whaka Newmarch, a New Zealand Alpine Club member who was obligingly devoting his annual leave to taking us Aussies in tow. At length the bus arrived and there was a great bustle of activity as passengers and luggage were off loaded. Our driver said something about moving off at 2 o'clock, that is in half an hour's time. Whaka and Snow and I were reclining under the shade of a little bush eating ice cream and fruit when the bush driver signalled that he was ready to move off, so we got in. But Goodness! Where is George? We called, but no answer. We sought him in all the likely places - I looked in the dining room and Whaka looked in the bathroom, and Snow was despatched to investigate the Gents to see if he had got locked in - but no sign of our missing one. We shouted “Hey George” north, south, east and west while the bus driver looked serious. An then we spotted him half a mile away down the Mt. Cook road photographing the dam! With relief we got aboard the bus and told the driver to shoot past George at great speed just to teach him a lesson. The driver was happy to co-operate so we sped down the road and passed a startled George in a cloud of dust and scattered stones with Snow and I leaning out the window and waving him goodbye. The driver at length pulled up and George came sprinting up the road like a flushed antelope and leapt aboard muttering that he had thought the driver had said he would be moving off in 2 hours.
About a mile from the Hermitage is situated the Alpine Club's Unwin hut. Here the boys got off, about sundown, while I went on to the Hermitage to check up on our fortnight's provisions which Donnie had been asked to mail through from Queenstown on his way home. I also wanted to renew old acquaintances with people I had known and worked with there many years ago. In his little Swiss Chalet among the flowers and trees I found dear old Duncan Darroch who had been a guide with me during the war years. Duncan is an artist too, and when I was working there every wall of the Hermitage was hung with his oil paintings of the surrounding peaks. Now frail with the weight of years, his wide set dreamy eyes still light up with their sudden gentle passion when he speaks of the hills and the sea. Duncan undertook to track down our food. The two boxes were found all right (Chalk up a good mark to dependable Donnie), also Snow's tent which we had baded on to Don at Glenorchy to get rid of its weight, but he had forgotten to leave his/my boots, which meant I would have to wear mine/his for the rest of the trip. Perhaps this sentence needs some elucidating. Well, Don and I both take size 5. We had two pairs between us, kindly donated by Marie Byles, one of which was too narrow at the toes and let the water in, and the other pair though waterproof was too short. So Donnie and I had been taking it in turns at having dry feet and bent up toes, or, conversely, wet feet and pinched toes. Mad how many times have I stressed to trampers and mountaineers that their footwear is THE MOST IMPORTANT item of their gear: There is a moral in this somewhere, I'm sure, for those who care to look for it.
For old time's sake I wandered through the Hermitage. It had changed beyond recognition. The homely interior has been streamlined and modernised and now has the atmosphere of a hospital clinic. All Duncan's pictures (except one) have been taken down and the bare walls stare back at one with clean, blank, glazed, aseptic indifference. Gone is the crackling log fireplace around which guests and climbers milled and crowded together in the old careless days. Instead the room are manacled with steam heated pipes which keep the guests decently and sterilily spaced from one another and keep the temperature oppressively high. (As one Alpine Club wit was once heard to remark, as he vainly sought relief by leaving the dining room and adjourning to the equally heated foyer - “Out of the frying pan into the foyer) In keeping with the clinic atmosphere, the waitresses are now all shining blondes in spotless white linen uniforms, who never put their thumbs in the soup. Ah me, for the days of Fat Nellie the Cook and the plump little back-country waitresses who would serve you in their socks like as not, and the battered tattered mountaineers who now would feel self-conscious and ashamed if projected into this well dressed throng. Ah well, I wasn't staying at the Hermitage - and I went off in search of Mick Bowie, the chief guide, for information. There he is, good old Mick with his giant frame so honestly built, his little rabbity moustache, the slyly humorous twinkle behind his eyes.
“Conditions in the mountains are good,” said Mick who is possessed with an acutely sensitive instinct for the weather's tricks, “Everything is climable.” This good news was received with the enthusiasm it deserved.
An entertaining evening was spent at the Bowie's house with Mick and Mrs. Bowie and the children and several other guests, but now Good Night good people - one must get some sleep, and leaving the small cosy lighted dining room, in one step one was out into the velvet shadows and the night. With a rush the mountains suddenly seemed to shoot up on all sides. The summits gleamed with a soft white radiance casting the lower slopes into a vast immensity of shadow, and over all, remote and far, was the arching dome of the sky spangled with summer stars. The old enchantment stole over the heart - one felt strongly the stillness and mystery of the place - in the deep silence one could hear one's own heart beating, counting off the seconds as they fell drop by drop into the deep pool of eternity holy ground.
Next morning bright and early we all boarded the Ball hut bus, quite forgetting our boxes of food, but someone pointed them out to us at the last minute, so despite our subconscious desire to leave behind the dried apricots and potato powders they came after all.
This is perhaps the place to tell you about our food. I think I can quite safely say IT WAS ALL PETE STITT'S FAULT. (It's wonderful how brave I am when he's not around to contradict me). To make a short story long, Pete had told us that dried vegetables and fruits were practically unobtainable in N.Z. so we'd better take what we needed from Australia. Accordingly I worked out that we would need dried fruit at the rate of about 2 lb. per person per week, i.e. 2 multiplied by George, Snow, Donnie and myself, multiplied by 4 weeks in Don's case and 6 weeks in ours, which came to a collossal total somewhere in the vicinity of 40 lb. This rather startled me, but I went down to the local grocer's and told the little lass behind the counter that's what we wanted and let us have it in equal amounts of apricots, apples, prunes (although Donnie, after several months in National Service, strongly objected to their inclusion), peaches and figs. From Paddy I bought a quantity of potato powder (I forget now how much but there was plenty - ask George), and lb. of Onion powder which smelt vile, but Snow says a stew is not a stew without onion, so we made him carry it. I packed all this tucker into a beer bottle box and as it was so heavy we decided to send it from Sydney to Auckland with Snow on the Oronsay so we other three wouldn't have to pay surcharge on the plane. On the day of departure Snow and Pete and I drove down to the wharf with the luggage. The cop on duty wouldn't let us park in a perfectly good vacant place on the wharf, so we had to go round about half a mile and park in a back street. Then we set off in procession to the liner, Snow wearing a huge pack and carrying an overnight bag and an ice axe and a parcel of boots or some such, then myself with a 60 lb. box balanced on my head trying to pretend it was nothing and we do this every day of the week, and a rather uncomfortable Pete swinging along in the rear with his plaster leg and his crutches and my red handbag with the green feathers clutched in his mouth like a retriever with a mouthful of macaw, muttering muffled threats against the cop, and he had no right to stop us parking on the wharf and there he is, will we have him on, the sod: The cop was rather apologetic as we staggered past him, and whatever remarks Pete made were muffled through the red cloth of the handbag, so the peace was not disturbed and I dumped the box of food in Snow's cabin and that's where we leave it till a week or so later when we unpack it at Wellington and find that the quantity of dried apples, peaches, figs and prunes is practically negligible, but the almost inexhaustible amount of apricots would make a weevil whoop with delight, and as for the potato powder, well everyone should be told now that a billyful dry is the equivalent of a bucketful wet. Whenever we would feel in our packs for some tucker and our fingers would encounter the irregular unyielding torso of an apricot-packed food bag, or a soft sandy yielding bag whose contents were always and unquestionably potato powder - or even at the mere mention of these foods - George would give a hollow groan, Donnie would be patiently philosophical, and Snow and I would burst into paroxysms of laughter and collapse helpless and writhe on the ground, and our ribs and diaphragm would positively ache for half an hour after. Now I'm home again I often think wonderingly, “Why should the mention of dried apricots and potato powder cause such a cataclysm of laughter?” but when I'm in the company of Snow I realise that no other reaction is possible.
Anyhow, there we are, together with said tucker and about 20 tourists, unloaded at Ball Hut at about 10.30 a.m. on 13th Jan.
“The Glory of the Open Spaces. There is no life like it, this living in the clear fresh air of the country. I think it was Thorean who said: 'Truly, our greatest blessings are very cheap', and who among us will dare refute him? Sunlight, water and the rain, the freshening winds and the air we breathe, speech, light, love, slumber and the starlight night,…all are ours even without the asking. Do we ever give it a thought? I wonder….”
- From “Sunlit Trails” by Archer Russell.
Federation Report - May 1957
Tine Matthews, Minute Secretary.
RUTILE MINING AT MAITLAND BAY. Bouddi Natural Park Trust advises of two further applications made to the Department of Mines for rutile mining leases, this time at Maitland Bay itself. It will be remembered it was decided not to protest against the leases granted recently at Kilcare (Putty) Beach, since here there was an access road already, and flat nature of country at back of beach would cause slight damage. However, the areas now under consideration are in the heart of the Park, with steep hill sides, and mining operations would seriously injure the natural plant cover. Council decided to support the Trust in its protest to the Mines Department, and hopes members of Clubs will do the same, as individuals and through their Clubs.
NATIONAL PARKS ACT. Following on the recent deputation to the Minister for Lands re a National Parks Act, draft legislation is now in preparation. At the request of the Minister, a criticism of the recent Victorian National Parks Act has been prepared and been sent to the Minister. Basic provisions of a National Parks Act should be:
1. Permanency of National Parks
2. An Authority to manage Parks (on which the Conservation Bodies will have nominees)
3, A National Parks Service to plan the Parks and manage them,
4. A. substantial annual grant from the Budget,
FEDERATION BALL - The Ball is to be held on Friday, 13th September, at the University Refectory Hall. Tickets will be £1.1.- and it is hoped they will be available by the end of next month to Clubs. Depending on the sale of tickets, the dining annexe will be booked, if numbers are likely to exceed 160. Please contact Miss J. Meaker (S.U.B.W.) or P.W. Driver (R.R.C.) for any further information.
MEETING OF CONSERVATION BODIES - The next Conference will be held 1st June in the W.E.A. Hall. Delegates from Conservation Bureau will be Messrs B. Peach and T. Moppett and X. Stewart will also attend. Any interested bushwalkers are invited to be present at this Conference,
Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs
To the silent wilderness
Where the soul need not repress
Its music, lest it should not find
An echo in another's mind,
While the touch of Nature's art
Harmonises heart to heart. - Shelley.
The Fed. Reune and Epilogue
(Hitchin' mit trimmins) — Taro.
I think this was the friendliest and easiest of all Fed. Reunes hard to say exactly why - it had that light feeling in the air we sometimes get.
The absence of so many elders turned it into a Carnival of Youth and this was emphasised by the all-night chain of song, laughter and shout - and be dammed to the drugged old fogies!,
The campfire was worthy of one William Henley Esq. of Croydon Park and the still night made it a cert. Paddy overcame his shyness and managed to compere with great skill even though there was a difference of easily 50 between his front and back sides. The whole show ran well oiled without the sign of an oilcan - it was more like a close family reunion than an interclub affair. I missed the chatter of the babes and the whiskers of the aged - but this was a Carnival of Youth and how we all missed Yvonne at sing sing time
But the law of compensation is in action and we have a new songbird in the Club, a dove from the far Mediterranean flown. She sang - in a soft true expressive voice - some strange wistful songs of her homeland; her name - Georgia. What a surprise! Even the tongues of flame eased their prattling to complete the deep stillness as she sang. How fortunate, above all, are we bushwalkers, to hear music in such fashion - the glowing sparking logs, lighting up every leaf, twig, branch and trunk of the listening trees; black ceiling, star and moon spotted; we, the elect, reclining at ease in chosen company; what gilded hall could compare? There was nothing to do but let the hours drift by with song and sketch so witty - coffee and trimmings laid on - chatter chatter - no trains to catch - no going home - time and clocks forgetting - blest bush.
Always for me, at Euroka, the highlight is the early Sunday walk down the creek to the big water; and with a chosen few it was done a lovely sight was the big waters a water colour fantasy delicately rippled. The look down rock at the track's end is a good spot for awakening sleep echoes. I had the flute and tried four notes of a chord, and lo! Amazingly out of the silence it floated back to me like the song of a stroked harp. In a lifetime of fluting I heard it for the first time in its richest form.
So back to camp went we bushwalkers, passing many a lovely clean limbed and colourful reuner. There seems a tremendous amount of day to spare in wandering from camp to camp so with the Ashdowns we ambled back and found we had 2 hours to kill for the next train. Frank and Jean made straight for the highway to deliberately hitch. I followed in the hope of getting a bus for I can think of nothing more humiliating than standing by the roadside pleading for a lift.
And then something happened: A sizeable utility going west slowed down, turned and stopped alongside us. Frank seemed to think it did this for us (brave Frankie) and bold as brass piled on. I shyly asked if it included me - “of course” - and in two ticks on soft cushions we were gliding home at 30 m.p.h. Frankie asked me how I liked being humiliated - I was obliged to agree with this brand. Next, we slowed down, driver got out, asked would we like fruit and the Pommie liars roared out “No”; and even as a non-fruiter I roared out “YES”. (Must teach these Pommies how to allow people to be affable). So back he came and thrust the bag at them and soon it vanished. Again, not much later, he stopped and said would we like some chips. Again the liars roared, “Then”, said he, “You must.. You are now my guests.” And out he came with 3 only bags of hot chips, the scent of which broke down the Pommie resistance; and so, while iggerent S.B.W.'s were waiting on Glenbrook Station we were spinning in a beautiful breeze and delicately nibbling chips for miles and miles.
We still don't know where the magic came in - it could not have been any glamour act by Jean - her 74 inches of brake material would see to that: They dropped me at Parramatta with the warmth usually reserved for rich uncles; a fine cove, lovely wife, and child -
AND they were New Aussies: Old Aussies have a lot to learn when it comes to catering for hitchers.
(As one of the 180 odd Reuners, I echo your sentiments entirely, Taro. It was a friendly and easy Fed, Reune, no doubt about it. The story of your hitching episode runs something like Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother - any chance of a loan of the magic wand sometime? - Ed.)
This Months Puzzle
You will recall the 18 mile day walk on Sunday 28th, April led by our former Walks Secretary from Mt. Kuringai Station through the Southern portion of Kuringai chase and part of Lady Davidson Park to Gordon. There was considerable discussion and inquiry as to whether the walk was to start at 6.0 p.m. on Saturday or 6.0 a.m. on Sunday. However, start it did with a good roll up frOm Mt. Kuringai Station at about 7.45 a.m. on Sunday, a showery morning. All went well until about 3 miles south of Bobbin head along Cowan Creek near where the track turns up to the Sphinx. S'L considerable manoeuvre seems to have taken place hereabouts, and the party, supposed to be heading for Terrey Hills, arrived in North turramurra. Nothing daunted, the normal route for that point was resumed in due course, but, sufficient to observe that the party caught the Pymble bus from St. Ives instead of the train from Gordon Station to get back to the City when daylight faded. What gives?
(There is now a probability that Geoffo may be seen again on various official day walks in this lovely area to find out what makes it so awkward to traverse from one stated point to another.)
CLUES. 1. According to various maps, there are at least two branches of the freshwater part of Cowan Creek with Kuringai Creek running down between them. 2. Maps usually give very peculiar results when read upside down, to say nothing of compasses which point south instead of north.
Whether these two opposing fagtors were combined is not at all clear. 3. Finally, lots of pepple get misplaced in the maze of Sydney's suburbs suppose it could happen to bushwalkers.
April Walks Report
Brian Anderson, Walks Secretary.
Maybe it was the wonderful “Indian Summer” during April that attracted eighty-three walkers into the bush. This figure as compared with last month's total of seventy seven is a small increase, but a favourable one as far as the Club's walking activities are concerned.
Of the nine programmed walks, only one failed to go due to lack of starters. This was Jean Wilson's trip in the St. Helena area.
There were no official walks on the first weekend as it was reserved for the Federation Reunion. The President reported that eighteen walkers (including three visitors) represented S.B.W. at the Reunion.
Snow Brown led the Friday night trip the following weekend which was programmed to go from Yerranderie to Katoomba. Due to some fantastic transport bungle David decided to call it off in favour of leading an alternate walk in the same district. He led his group of three members and four prospectives to Colong Caves down Lannigans Creek to the Kowmung River then up Church Ck. back to Yerranderie. David pointed out that the only alarming incident was the case of the bare bottomed Dalai Lama. In fact the Dalai Lama had the cheek to say that someone had “swiped” his trousers.
On the Sunday, David Ingram was accompanied by five members, two visitors and one prospective to Uloola Falls. David expressed his disappointment that a total of only nine walkers were present as more had notified him of their intention to join the walk.
For the first time in many years the weather over Easter was near perfect. Although there were only three official trips I'm sure with so much abundant sunshine some private walks were organised. John White reported that his party of eleven members covered the trip, Yerranderie to Shooters Hill without much ado.
This of course was the opposite to Colin Putt's trip which approached near chaos. After reaching the Kowmung River via Morong Ck. it appears the walk developed into a game of Bobbies and Bushies. The game lasted until Saturday morning when Eric Pegram was found fast asleep between two rocks. Due to Ben Bishop spraining his ankle the party headed back to Kanangra. Monday was spent frightening the tourists with exhibitions of rock climbing on the Walls.
To the South, Heather Joyce led nine members, two prospectives and one visitor to Bendethra Caves. A description (?) of this trip begins in this Magazine.
The last Friday night walk of April found the leader, namely Frank Rigby, in a mild panic. His party was to consist of five girls only. Fortunately Arthur Peters turned up in the nick of time to save the day. He would have had a few more male members with him; but they were employed on a “Starr” turn in the roughest country in the world. Frank said the Wheeny Ck. trip was very interesting, but should be classed as rough, not medium.
On the Sunday, Geoff Wagg managed to collect twelve sleepy bods for his early walk in the Mt. Kuring-gai to Gordon area. According to his report the trip started rather slowly due to bad weather and Geoff reading the map upside down. Geoff explained it was an easy mistake in that type of country as he considered it to be the roughest country in the universe. Entertainment was added with Henry Ford's exhibition fight with a twenty seven ft. Diamond snake.
Summary of the month's walking statistics read - Members 63; Prospectives 12; Visitors 8.
The New Song Book
The following lists are the titles of songs which we propose to include in the second Club Song Book. As you will see we have gathered a great many songs which are being sung at the present time, in preference to old war horses, many of which were printed in the First Book. We have tried to include songs which are pleasant to sing and some of those with tuneful melodies; and further we have included a number of the originals of the “Operas”. (N.B. These do not include the originals of “One Eyed Rielly” or “The Ball of Kerrinore”).
If you have any suggestions for additions to the current list let us have them by the end of June so that we can give them consideration before the presses start to roll. We can't guarantee to include all or any such suggestions, but we will try hard to put in as many as we can.
Malcolm McGregor for the Commtttee.
By the Campfires Cheerful Glow
Ah, how lovely is the evening
Heigh, Ho, no body at home.
A boat a boat sails to the ferry \\We plan to walk the Wollondilly
Row, row, row, your boat
Wont you come into my parlour
Little Tom Tinker
Have you any work for the Trinker Mistress
The Kookaburra does no work
The Kookaburra sits on an old gum tree
Rose, rose, rose, rose.
I like bananas
My dame has a lame tame crane
Little Jack Horner
Music alone shall live
Go down Moses
Dese bones shall rise again
Swing low, sweet Chariot
Oh hand me down my walking cane
I got a robe
Fat little fella with his Mammies Eyes
My curly headed baby
Sinner please dont let this harvest pass
Old man Ribber
Old Ned Lazy bones
No hiding place
A 'Savin. Sally Brown
Blow the Man Down
A capital ship
Fire down below
Johnny come down to Hilo
HYMNS and CAROLS
While Shepherds watched their flocks
John Bunyans Hymn
Oh come all ye faithful
Once in Royal Davids City
Hark the' Herald Angels Sing
It came upon a midnight clear
Once a little baby lay
Who'd be a walker
Three crows sat on a wall
Little Green Valley
My big hobnailers
The Golden vanity
The cute little window
The paper of pins
The Banjo song
The married Man's Lament
Norwegian Ruk-Ruk song
Click Go the shears
Billy Magee Magar
The Trampers Lament
No Boots at All
Rolling down to Rio
The spinning Wheel
Turn ye to me
Nut Brown Maiden
In the Gloaming
Covered Wagon Lullaby
Three Lassies from Banyon
The Streets of Laredo
When my walking days are over
Honey you can't Love one
She'll be coming round the mountain
Wish I were a Red Roney Bush
Goliath of Gath
Little Liza Jane
The Bay of Biscay
The Lye Soap song
Lifebouy The Farmers Boy
The Foggy Foggy Dew
The Twelve days of Christmas
Cat's Nine Lives.
Deep in the wooded hills there is a place
Where tail and stately trees with quiet grace
Stand back to make of grass and flowers a space.
And I would reach that place as Day is sped,
And pitch my tent, and make of leaves my bed,
And hear the forest breathing overhead.
And when the golden shaft of light slant through
The aisles, O then to find the world as new
And walk barefoot through grasses drenched with dew
The golden clouds float o'er the sinking sun;
Golden the woodlands as I hasten on, And I would. reach that place as Day is done.