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.
271 JULY 1957 Price 9d
|Editor||Frank Rigby, 70 Beach Road, Darling Point. MU 4411|
|Sales & Subs||Jess Martin|
|Business Manager||Jack Gentle|
|Typed By||Elsie Bruggy|
|At our June Meeting - Frank Rigby||2|
|Your Walking Guide||4|
|Hatswells Taxi & Tourist Service (Advt)||5|
|“Youse Goin''iking are yer?”||6|
|Leica Photo Service (Advt)||7|
|White Ant Borings||8|
|“We are Lost Little Sheep” 7 Part 2. by 'Sheep Dip'||9|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop (Advt.)||11|
|Caloola Club Notice||11|
|Letter to the Editor||12|
|May Walks Report - Brian Anderson||13|
|S.B.W. Reflections in a Mirror||15|
|Seven Weeks in N.Z. - Part V - Dot Butler||17|
|Back to the Thirsty Thirties - Jim Brown||22|
|Federation Report - June, 1957||23|
|Good For Skiers - Good For Walkers - Paddy's Advt,||24|
Once more the vicious monthly wheel has turned full circle and caught the Editor without his traditional Editorial, and this on the eve of going to Press. The Typiste is threatening all sorts of dire things if she doesn't get her copy and the Reproduction.
Staff are poised for a colossal last-minute production effort. In the face of such formidable obstacles, the poor palpitating Editor has beat a cowardly retreat and begs for forgiveness, trusting that the remainder of the issue will more than compensate for the little bit lost.
Good luck and good walking.
At Our June Meeting
The President opened the Meeting with about 50 members present and conveyed that an apology had been received from Alex Colley who was sick. New member John Logan was welcomed and then the Meeting dealt with the usual routine business of previous Minutes etc,
From the correspondence arose several matters. Firstly, a letter had been received from the Spastic Centre seeking our assistance in some unskilled labouring work for the Centre in Frenchs Forest. The President asserted that we shouldn't knock back such a worthy cause and so Bob Binks volunteered to organise a Working Bee for Sunday, 14th July, and issued a call to all lusty workers.
Next a letter from the St. Bernhardts Home for Boys at Picton was dealt with. It seems the Home was asking us if we would be willing to give the boys a bit of instruction in bushcraft and camping and the President asked for ideas. Kath Brown suggested that they be invited to an Instructional Week-end, but when it was pointed out that a one day affair only was suitable, Kath moved that a special instructional day be held on a date to be decided. Frank Barlow ventured it was a pity that a full week-end camp was out, because only in this way could the real art of bushwalking be put across. John White volunteered to make the necessary arrangements for the said Instructional.
Then, there was yet another letter asking for assistance, this time from the Arncliffe branch of the Y.M.C.A. This group have organised an educational course for local young people, one of the subjects being bushwalking. Could we help out by supplying lecturers for the bushwalking topics? The President explained that this matter had been dealt with by Committee and that Colin Putt had taken on the job of recruiting speakers and organising the course of seven lectures.
Tine Matthews had written saying she would not be available as a Federation delegate as from July. Nominations were called for the post, but as none were forthcoming, it was left to Jack Gentle to “volunteer” and he was elected unopposed,
In yet another rollicking Walks Report it was revealed that the Walks Sec. has gone all poetical as you will no doubt see elsewhere in the Magazine.
In the Conservation Report, Tom Moppett said that a meeting of the National Parks Association had been held on 1st June. The main outcome of this was that an Advisory Panel had been elected to advise the Government Dept. which was in the process of drafting up the National Parks Dill. This Bill would be reviewed by the Panel when completed. All in all, the Association felt that at last some real progress was being made in this direction. Tom then foreshadowed General Business motions which would ask the Club for donations to the N.P.A.
Arising from the Federation Report, Ron Knightley moved that the Club officially object to the Mines Dept, re a proposed rutile mining lease at Maitland Bay. Motion carried.
In the general business, Tom Moppett moved that the Club donate 10 to the current publication of the National Parks Association. He said the bulletin was a follow-up of previous “Yarrawondas” and contained among other things the policies and aims of the N.P.A. and a comprehensive review of N.S.W. National Parks and the whole National Parks set up. It could exert considerable influence in the relevant Govt. Dept. and this was a good thing for helping the N.P.A. (and us), in getting what we wanted. Ron Knightley moved an amendment to increase the figure to 20. Frank Rigby questioned whether 20 was a bit out of proportion as there were about twenty-five donating bodies and only about 200 was required. When put to the vote, the amendment was lost and the original motion carried. The motion for a 1 donation to the cost of N.P.A. conferences was carried without discussion.
It was moved by Dot Butler that a letter be sent to the Kosciusko State Park Trust officially requesting the Trust to reserve the hut site selected at Perisher Valley by our Ski Hut Sub-Committee, Dave Brown explained that this did not commit us in any way, but would onwarc) that our site would not be jumped by anyone else. Motion carried.
On this quiet note the Meeting came to a close a 9.40 p.m.
S.B.W. SPORTS CARNIVAL - JULY 20th - 21st
After a lapse of many years, this once annual event is being revived this year when Bill Henly, in his favourite role, is the Sports Master. The location is at North Era.
Trains: Saturday - 12.09 p.m. Sunday - 8.59 Electric a.m. Tickets to: Waterfall Return fare: 5/7 concession.
For those who are keen on competitive events, there will be plenty of races for both the ladies and the gents, so get out your skipping ropes and be in good nick. There'll be races for the “young'uns” too so bring them along. The races will start as soon as the Sunday trippers arrive in the forenoon. For those who are too old or fat to run, there will be quiet walking competitions such as the Timing Event and the Orienteering Event. Roll up and enjoy the fun and games. Gilt-edged Certificates for the major events.
The President has asked us to draw attention to the rule that it is necessary to advise Walks Leaders beforehand of intention to come on Official Walks and that visitors must not be invited without permission of the Leader. This applies to Sunday Walks as well as Weekend Walks.
Your Walking Guide
DIG 'EM OUT OF THE ARCHIVES
The librarians have issued an appeal for several back numbers of “The Sydney Bushwalker” in order to fill in the blank spaces among the Club's copies. They are as follows -
No. 183 February, 1950
No. 196 March, 1951
No. 197 April, 1951
No. 221 April, 1953
If you can help the Club in this way, please see George Gray or Frank Young.
12.13.14 Splendour Rock Area. Good medium weekend walk. Tracks all the way except area around Mobbs Swamp. Two medium hill climbs - one up Black Horse Gap, the other Red Ledge Pass. Test Walk. Return Fare 22/2
(This walk altered to July 5.6.7) Mt. Kiera District. Easy walking. Medium climb up Rixon's Pass. Excellent coastal views all way, especially from Mt. Kiera. Water, supply near top of Rixons Pass. Return fare 16/3.
14. Waterfall Area. Easy grade climbs onto Westmacott and Woronora Trig. Medium along Heathcote Ck, Return fare 5/-. 20-21 ports Carnival For details see Page 3.
26-27-28 Wiseman's Ferry - Launch Trip. Three basic requirements for this trip. a) Make sure your insurance is paid up to date. b) Bring plenty of waterproof gear © Be prepared for the worst. Cost from leader.
27-28 Grand Canyon Tourist type track all way. This is definitely not rough as shown on walks programme. Very good creek and cliff scenery. Ideal walk for prospectives. Return fare24/9
28 Scouters Mt. Easy to medium walking. Little scratchy near Scouters Mt. Medium test walk. Return fare Conces. 5/-
August 188.8.131.52 Splendour Rock See Leader's comments page 5.
2-3-4 Kanangra-Katoomba. Walking medium to rough. Extensive variety of mountain views. Steady walking pace will be required to cover the 42 miles. Return fare include car 54/9
3-4 Instructional Weekend at Moorabinda - Easy spine bash. Return fare Concess. 5 -
9-10-11 Nattai River - Blue Gum Ck. Area. Easy to medium track walking to Little R and Blue Gum Creek. Mod, going up Little R. and Blue Gum Ck. Very pleasant river and sandstone cliff views. Medium test walk. Return fare 21.9.
10-11 Grose River Area. Mostly road walking to the river. Med. to rough walking along Grose (only afew miles). Excellent swimming if you're an Iceberg. Interesting test walk. Return fare 16/3.
11. Cowan Ck. Area, Medium type test walk. Typical Kuringai Chase country. Return fare about 5/-.
BANK HOLIDAY WALK SPLENDOUR ROCK
The leader, Brian Harvey, advises that tickets should be purchased for Blackheath and not Katoomba as a car will be used for transport down to Carlon's Farm on the Friday night when camp will be made on Galong Creek. The walk is designed for all-comers particularly for those who have not yet seen the great view from the Rock. The Saturday night camp is planned for the Eastern side of Mt. Mouin where it is hoped water will be found if no rain in meantime.. The camp will be fixed there until Monday when the return trip will be made via Clear Hill and Narrow Neck Plateau, with tea at Katoomba. Cost about 34/-. Very warm clothes recommended. Advise Leader early is transport has to be arranged.
SUNDAY - August 11th 9a.m. train to Pymble; 9.34 bus from Pymble to Warrimoo Road. Then 11 miles of creek and ridge via Cowan Creek, Ryland Trig and Bare Ck. to St. Ives. NOTE: Train time on Walks Programme is wrong; extra half-hour in bed is allowable. Leader - Ron Knightly.
"Youze Go'in 'Iking Are Yer?
Peter Miller (With acknowledgements to “The Newcastle Bushwalker”)
To those of you, and there must be many, who have been asked this appalling question, I extend my heartfelt sympathy, Explanations fall unheeded and the next questions concern gear.
“Do youze take tents”?
“Do youze ave sleeping bags”? “Do youze carry a compass”? And so on.
Having asked these lesser questions, the person who is thirsting after knowledge is leading up to the question which gleams through his fuddled mind, “Do youze take any Sheilas with you”?
When you admit that some young ladies do go bushwalking (emphasising the words 'ladies' and 'bushwalking') the seeker of knowledge omits a throaty “haw” and cannot be convinced that bushwalking is done for its own sake and not for any other.
To ignore or mumble replies to the questions listed above would leave the seeker of knowledge just as unenlightened as before so we must do our best to educate these people who take such an interest in our weekend activities.
I find it hard to convince the uninitiated that the word HIKING is strictly taboo in bushwalking circles. It is as popular as a pork chop in a synagogue and does not convey the true meaning of recreational walking. BUSHWALKING is uniquely Australian and the word should be cultivated for that reason alone. There are HIKERS in the world but they are quite a different body from BUSHWALKERS as we know them. Anybody can HIKE but bushwalking is an art, A HIKING party conjures up the picture of a straggling collection of people intent on walking three miles at the most, and ill equipped for even that. With a bottle of beer apiece and Grandma bringing up the rear they are complete. A BUSHWALKING party, on the other hand, consists of a group of well trained, well equipped people intent on a certain object and who walk with the maximum amount of skill and comfort and who impart their knowledge to new members. They have a leader and take all precautions against being delayed (bushwalkers are never lost) and come hell or high water they always enjoy themselves.
It is hard to convince an outsider that a tent that folds up to about twelve inches long by five inches diameter will keep the rain off three people. We know that a sleeping bag is a prerequisite to good walking and that compasses and maps are always carried, but even these details must be imparted to the questioner.
The fact that bushwalkers are usually mixed parties is the hardest one to explain. Dubious fathers have even accompanied their daughters to club meetings to see what goes on. They went away assured as have all other doubters. The person who asks the question about the “Sheilas” does so in the hope of gleaning some juicy titbits of scandal and is sorely disappointed. Despite jokes made by Jack Davey there has been no scandal in the club and there never will be.
The opportunity for it does not arise. Bushwalkers are individuals who break away from some of the laws set down by our society. Why we go out in the wind, sun and rain is a hard thing to explain even to ourselves and we do not really have to explain it to anybody.
The next time you hear the question “Youze are going hiking are yer?”, be prepared for the inevitable questions that follow and have your answers ready.
White Ant Borings
June has been true to form and produced the usual crop of brides. Dave Roots took unto himself a wife a couple of weeks ago, so probably he won't be seen on so many exposed rock faces in future. Ern Munns and Jan Rudder where married on June 15th - Ern, tells us he intended spending part of his honeymoon on the Cox which proves that marriage and bushwalking can be combined right from the start. All best wishes to those concerned from the Club.
Seems the S.B.W. has stolen a march on somebody. During Queen's Birthday weekend five of our daring rock-climbers (or should I say mountaineers?) made the first ascent of Tallaterang from the Clyde R. side and there's a moth-eaten but sentimental sweater of Bob Duncan's somewhere on the mountain to prove it. Clive had that sweater, man and boy, for 15 years,“ says Bob with tears in his eyes). On the same day, ten S.B.W.'s made a successful ascent of the Castle from the eastern side, about half a mile back behind the Byangee Walls saddle. It could easily be that part of this route was also a “first”. What next?
The Admiral does it again. Having missed the last train from Blackheath after his long weekend jaunt in the Mountains, he struggled to his doorstep at about 0500 hours Tuesday, to be greeted by a now well-trained and long-suffering Mother with, “What, again???”
The current Opera “White Antics” and that S.B.W. evergreen “Bo-Pee” were inflicted quite successfully on the River Canoe Club on the night of June 21st. The R.C.C. member who proposed a vote of thanks described S.B.W. as a “remarkable” Club. How the memories and reminiscences were stirred up by that magic word of a thousand meanings - and how right he is.
Have you heard about the White Ants' Annual Picnic? Jim Hooper, Brian Anderson and Frank Rigby set out in the latter's car on a private escapade to Yerranderie, intending (bless their innocent souls) to do a Church Ck Kowmung Lannigans Ck. - Colong Caves - Big Rick round trip. The whole gallant idea was eventually watered down to a leisurely jaunt to Colong Caves and back. (1100 hrs. start on Saturday, 1430 hrs. start on Sunday). No, this does not prove the Termites' abilities as there was no decent solid material, on the trip to white ant, anyway.
Lost and Found Dept. Lost bushwalker-motorists found two new routes into the Pidgeon House - Castle area, Snow's road finished on a mountain top north of Drury's Farm and is not to be recommended as a starting point for walkers (unless you're feeling tigerish). George Gray drove his Austin to within two hours walk of the Clyde R. Yadboro Ck. junction - a masterpiece of lost(?) manoeuvering. It is further revealed that this route is negotiable by Land Rover to within 32 mile of the junction. Looking ahead a few years we can see the whole ghastly thing now in the mind's eye - cars, bars and scars littering the beautiful and untarnished summit of the Castle.
Who was the member who had to completely undress himself to squirm out of a narrow chimney on the rock crown of Pidgeon House? This is really getting next to Nature, isn't it.
"We Are Lost Little Sheep"
Part 11. By 'Sheep Dip' Sub-Section: “Clots on Con Creek”.
In our last exciting chapter(?) you will remember it took us a page and a half to cover the first half day's walking. Our position was our lunch spot, above a cliff face on the Main Range, waiting for the leader to find us a way down. It was there we had all stood asking ourselves silly questions etc. etc. etc. (Yule Brynner style).
“Well, how do we get down?” asked the party. “I'm afraid we'll have to drop over the edge, here,” replied Heather, with that “Suffer you peasants” look on her face.
When the party had calmed down and Digby had put his teeth back in, the bods adjusted their parachutes and began scrambling over the side. One hundred near vertical feet of crawling brought us in sight of our “required” ridge. The only thing now separating us from the ridge was a 60 ft, rock face. At this juncture George began his spearhead of attack. Slowly but safely he found a negotiable way down. The male members after a short deliberation decided George's way was safes but just in case it wasn't, they would let the girls go down first. Of course working on the assumption that if there was a weakness - well needless to say the usual cries were heard on the rock face :
“Can't reach the next foothold, legs too short.”
“Ah hell, can't get under this ledge, legs too long”.
As most of the party was down, Ern and Frank Young began lowering the packs. We all thought what business Paddy will get out of this, as the packs coming down were being mangled and mashed on the rough rock surface.
Down the ridge at a “back-side” sliding pace we descended, in the hope of reaching the Deua River before dark. But no, fate was against the party. As the last glimpse of light faded, the tired mob began organising camp.
Heck, I've nearly finished this second grim episode and only covered, in all, one days walking. The Editor has warned me I'll have to end this story next month as he can't stand the loss in sales since I started writing.
Next morning the party rose quite early, about 7 o'clock. It wasn't long before we came across a deserted farm house, then another, and another again. By this time it was Saturday night and we were on Con Creek. Manic heavens, that's two days covered, two to go!).
It was now 2100 hours as the full moon began its slow majestic crawl across the heavens. The temperature was dropping rapidly and so was the level of all the rum bottles. One by one the Bendethra Bashers began wriggling into their sleeping bags, trying to keep those last calories of heat within their bodies, Also the thought of Heather's last statement about moving off at seven o'clock hastened our desire for sleep.
Crack - Crack - Crack - Thank God, someone was lighting a fire at last. Soon the flame began to lick around the frost coated wood throwing warm rays into the frozen sleepless sufferers. Now the old bushwalking tea billies appeared on the fire, their watery contents reflecting the moon and the stars in the still, dark sky.
Yes, the impossible had been achieved. Here was a party at 5.15 a.m, cooking breakfast, packing and preparing to move off while the leader was still asleep. At six o'clock Heather's head appeared between the tent flaps only to be withdrawn suddenly. Than from inside was heard a maniacal laugh. “I can't believe it, they're up, half packed and ready to move off and its only 6 a m”.
Just in case they changed their minds and decide to go back to bed, Heather took the precaution of moving off at a quarter to seven.
Over the last twenty or so years bushwalkers have learnt of various “antidotes” to protect themselves from many of Mother Nature's creatures. Nevertheless Mother Nature in her own peculiar way has given us ways of counteracting many things such as snake bite, spider bites etc. Well, believe it or not she has given us a way of protecting ourselves against prickly bushes. How does she do this? By giving us George Gray. Of course the obvious way to protect yourself against these bushes is to avoid them, but before you can, you must know where they are. This is where George comes in. He, without a doubt has a natural genius for finding prickly bushes, as those who followed him up Con Creek will agree. Not only has he a genius for finding them, but he always manages to find them when you're knee deep in mud.
“Oh, George Prickles Gray, what torture you put us all through!”
Heather, George, Ern, and Brian now squat with serious faces around the map. The situation was looking bad. The map didn't agree with the country, and the country didn't agree with the map. For five minutes the puzzled blank faces stared at the map,wondering what decision to make when came the questioning voice of Rigby to Joan : “Gee, Joan, just why don't they consult me first when they have a mapping problem?”.
Whereupon the Leader, much to Digby's embarrassment, immediately shoved the “map” under his nose and demanded in that tone which only the gentler sex can muster, “Well, do something!”. A hole in the ground underneath Digby's feet was seen to open up and swallow him in one gulp.
So you're still with me, eh? Well, don't miss the final episode next month under the sub-title of “Troggin' an' Groggin'” (Tea, sea!)
CALOOLA CLUB NOTICE
The Caloola Club is organising a Coach Tour of the country WEST OF THE DARLING RIVER during the period August 25th to September 6th, Travel will be by Caloola Club Coach and there will be stops of a day or so at selected spots where there are features of particular interest. The proposed route is as follows Sydney-Cobar-Wilcannia-White Cliffs-Mootwingee-Sturt's Meadows- Fowler's Gap-Milparinka-Mt. Sturt-Poole's Grave-Tibooburra,- Wanaaring- Bourke-Brewarrina-Walgett-Pilliga-Narrabri-Gunnedah- NewcaStle-Sydney. For about 2,000 miles the cost will be 15.
Party will depart the Clubroom, 31 Byron St, Croydon at 9.00 am on Sunday, August 25th. Bookings open on July 8th and a deposit of L7.10.0 is required. Further enquiries and details from the Leader, Allan M. Fox, 2 Yathong Road, Caringbah.(LB 7304) or from the Booking Clerk, Mr E.M. Dingeldei, 42 Byron Street, Croydon (UA 2983).
Letter to the Editor
(In reply to “Whiteanting Again - or Laziness?”)
With reference to “Dedant's” letter appearing in the May issue, I draw myself up to my full 5' 0” with some indignation and make reply.
“Dedant” does not seem to realise that the inauguration of the Operas helped to tow the Club out of the doldrums in which it was stagnating a few years ago and which caused one member to declare at a General Meeting “that the Club was dying on its feet”. Much credit is due to the Writers (“the bibulous blighters”) for their untiring efforts over the years and which should be an example to those who never stir themselves. A Reunion campfire without a new opera would be as a boiled egg without salt and pepper as many now eagerly anticipate this annual (and sometimes more frequent) event of a fresh score appearing to meet the occasion. Indeed, the camp-fire would be dull without one.
An early appeal has been made every year by the Social Secretary to members to put on a sketch or act at the camp-fire but the response has been miserable, and we should all be thankful for Male and his merry crew.
It is not the responsibility of the camp-fire sub-committee to organise entertainment and on this point “Dedant” contradicts himself/ herself when he/she says “a rehearsed camp-fire is rarely a good one yet he/she blames the organisers for not having rehearsed acts: It is enough for the sub-committee to arrange transport, fire-woods axes, supper ingredients, directions signs, latrines, etc!
The nail has been struck on the head, however, in suggesting that many have been struck by a wave of laziness in not contributing to the general entertainment, if even by joining whole-heartedly in the community singing. Many of the comperes have sung themselves hoarse while members lie dozing full-length in their sleeping bags, in an endeavour to get anything beyond a concerted squeak from the audience. This is probably due in some respect to the present trend towards being entertained but unable to entertain one-self either individually or in joint effort. Unfortunately our Social Programme encourages the retrograde aspect of sitting in the darkness whilst one or perhaps two do all the entertaining.
The statement that the Operas monopolise the evening is rot. The whole entertainment generally occupies from 2 to 3 hours and out of this no Opera has run for more than about 40 minutes. It is to the great credit of the Opera stars that their act has caused so much attention to be focused on them for 30/40 minutes that everything else was sublimated, and “Dedant” was left with the impression that they carried the evening, which they did! The “gallery”, to use “Dedant's” expression, has plenty of scope in the other 2 hours.
I agree that people who can't sing can easily put on a sketch solely by the spoken word. Until such time as members get off their ever-widening posteriors and organise a few “lurks” amongst themselves the Operas will certainly be “the most”!
May Walks Report
Brian Anderson Walks Secretary.
With your permission Mr. President, and also Mr. Wagg forgiveness for breaking out in his field, I'd like to begin the May Report with a poem.
I was staggered, I was aghast
As I took my pen to task,
To write the sordid May Walks Report.
It appears that all the walkers
Even some of our notorious talkers
Had taken to the bush, at last.
Some walks were hard, some were easy
But we'll all agree most were freezy
Except for “them” who had their rum.
Nevertheless the month of May
Had one hundred and eleven walkers gay
To make the walking figures read mighty nice.
Moving on to the statistical side of the report, we find that seventy two members, thirty-one prospectives and six visitors had attended eleven programmed walks. Two walks had failed to start. My own in the Robertson district, due to lack of starters and Alex Colley's walk over Solitary - Alex being sick at the time.
Seven bods had set out on the first week-end to cover the one hundred miles between Hilltop and Katoomba but sad to say they all chickened. John Manning managed to get Geof Wagg and Mick Elphick into Katoomba via Black Dog, but the other four led by Colin Putt fell victims of the spirited voices' that float out from the Royal George at Picton.
Peter Antoniades' walk on the Sunday ended at Audley instead of returning back to Bundeena. Peter was accompanied by four members. Brian Harvey's walk, the following weekend, which had been labelled as a “Special Walk for New Members and Prospectives” proved very popular. It attracted one of the original “Tigers” Tom Coffey who had not been on a walk for ten years. Grace Noble who hasn't been walking for many years and visitor Jim Cuthbertson of the Brisbane Bushwalkers also attended. In all thirteen walkers made up the party.
Five bods attended David Ingram's Sunday walk and six joined Jim Brown on his early Saturday morning walk. Both trips proceeded as programmed although Jim's walk in the Dapto area nearly went to the “dogs” Saturday evening, when the party camped by the railway line surrounded by partially burnt sleepers for firewood, a telephone and an outlet valve on the water pipe line. The only convenience lacking was a T.V. set.
Once again the ever increasing difficulties of getting transport in and out of Burragorang Valley hindered a walk. Stan Madden's trip over Baloon Pass had to be altered as no cars were available. He finished up at Couridjah via Blue Gum Creek. Six bods were with Stan.
On Betty Sisley's Instructional Walk at Euroka, twenty three attended, seven being prospectives. The following weekend Alan Wilson led nine others down Fitzgerald Creek. Indeed this trip is just made for White Ants. Although Alan had morning and afternoon tea, two hours for lunch, he still kept running out of ground. The distance stated was sixteen miles, but the party all agreed it was more like eight. To save face for the Walks Programme Alan led the party back up to Blaxland thus justifying the distance stated.
The last weekend found 35 trippers on the three walks. John Scott's ramble was very successful on the Shoalhaven River. However, it is rumoured that Snow was a little “browned” off on the Saturday morning due to a few miles walk before breakfast - Ah, we now know his weakness. Our New Zealand friend caused a sensation by carrying buckets of water 2000 ft. up in order to have a wash at the top.
Bev Price with twelve others on Kedumba Creek also stated that Don Reid has a similar hygiene complex, only he prefers to dive into Kedumba Creek in the middle of winter fully clothed and with pack on. On the Sunday Jess Martin with a party of 12 led her trip as programmed.
SPECIAL NOTES: Leaders would you please lend a helping hand, and fill in a report after your walk and hand it to Walks Secretary.
Train Alterations, The 6.33p.m. Friday and 12.30 p.m. Saturday trains to the Blue Mountains no longer run. The new times.are 6.26 p.m. Friday and 12.54 p.m. Saturday.
S.B.W. Reflections in a Mirror
You will all surely remember the GREAT S.B.W. FAUX PAS OF 1956, as published in last year's May issue of the Magazine, and somewhat unfairly titled “It was all Snow's Fault or Bludging with Brown”. Briefly, the story revolved around a cunning S.B.W. conspiracy in a Mountains train to secretly bludge in on a C.B.W. caving trip to Jenolan (the C.B.W., of course, having official permission to cave, or that, anyway, was the excuse given for the bludge). Well, all this skulduggery might have gone off swimmingly except for the presence of a certain “traveller” in the same compartment of the train. Much to the embarrassment of our wayward members, the “traveller” was eventually exposed as a member of the C.B.W. en route to Jenolan, who had digested (or indigested) the whole dastardly plot. Oh Boy, were there some red faces around the Mountains that week-end. In fact, the Admiral's has never quite returned to normal.
Now we have the other side of the story in all its triumph. By kind permission of the C.B.W. we publish below this very interesting article from a recent issue of “The Waysider”. Ed.
“The Man in the Corner!'
Amidst the bustle of Central Station one Friday night, a young man attired in old sports trousers and time worn windjacket, with a pack on his back and a parcel under his arm, entered the dog box carriage of the Mountain train and seated himself in the corner.
The opening of the carriage door caused the man in the corner to raise his eyes from the magazine which had absorbed his attention and observe the new arrivals. The party consisted of a tall young man clad in shorts and boots, accompanied by three young ladies. After stowing the party's packs in the luggage rack, the new arrivals began an animated conversation. Our friend in the corner, curious though not wishing to be observed, glued his eyes to his reading matter, kept his ears open and with occasional furtive glances, prepared for an interesting journey.
The travellers were evidently walkers of the S.B.W. who had planned a trip to Colong Caves. This had been cancelled due to the condition of the roads, and they now found themselves poring over two proposals. The first, to spend the weekend in Blue Gum Forest or alternatively, to go to Jenolan Caves on a caving expedition. The tall young man who appeared, for want of a better name to be called “the Admiral” started to speak with some gusto.
“The C.B.C. are going to Jenolan. They have gained permission after a long battle so perhaps we can sneak in with them.” The man in the corner, who appeared to be looking intently out of the window, rocked to and fro.
“Of course, we must be very careful not to spoil their chances as they are only on probation” said the Admiral righteously.
The conversation turned to a variety of topics, from past trips to anecodotes of Club identities, amongst these a fabulous character called the “Dalai Lama” being mentioned. As the train neared Penrith, plans were set afoot to mislead a certain character named “Snow” who was due to board the train there. Evidently the coming arrival had an aversion to leading trips comprised only of ladies. The plan was to stow a pack in the annexe of the dog box and for the Admiral to alight as soon as possible and become lost in the crowd until after Snow had made his entrance. Alas, as with all well laid plans, Snow and the Admiral ran into one another and so boarded the train together.
Plans were again discussed, Snow casting questioning glances at the man in the corner, while his eyes surveyed the luggage rack counting the number of packs. Pangs of hunger assailing Snow, he produced some sweets and offered them round. Still mystified as to the status of the stranger, Snow proferred the bag of sweets to him but these he politely declined. A whispered consultation took place and Snow learnt that the stranger was not of their flock.
The Admiral and Snow began a discussion on caves and gear. With eyes glued to the luggage rack above the man in the corner, the Admiral exclaimed in a stage whisper “Easily seen he's not going caving with that pack!” The shoelaces of the man in the corner seemed to require urgent attention and he must have been cold, for convulsive movements shook his frame.
The party turned their attention to a discussion of a coming weekend trip to Katoomba. One suggestion, was to have a night at the picture theatre. The Admiral suggested that the party contact Joe Lyons who besides being the Manager of the picture theatre was also a member of the C.B.C. The man in the corner was seized with a fit of coughing.
The train stopped at Valley Heights where all the party except one young lady named Heather alighted to stretch their legs. An air of expectancy hung over the compartment. Heather cast a sidelong glance at the man in the corner who was also in the process of casting a sidelong glance at her. A look of resolution crossed her countenance.
Quote she: Answered he:
“Where are you going all by yourself?”
“To Jenolan Caves”
“Are you going caving?”
“Are you going with a Club?”
“Yes - the C.B.C.”
“I thought so the way you were laughing to yourself.”
A stamping of feet, the opening of a door and the conversation came to an end. Nothing of much import occurred as the train continued on its way and apparently Heather did not see fit to make known her discovery to her fellow travellers.
As the train neared Blackheath, the man in the corner rose to his feet and taking his pack from the rack, prepared to alight. Cries of “In our midst” and “We'll have to go to Blue Gum now” reached his ears. The Admiral decided to save the situation and somewhat weakly he said “You're going to Jenolan with the C.B.C. are you? Why didn't you go up in the cars with Jim Weston and the other?”
The man in the corner stepped on the platform and turning to face the bevy of enquiring faces I replied - “I AM Jim Weston. Goodbye”
Seven Weeks in New Zealand Part V
10.30 a.m. on 13th January found the four of us, together with two boxes of tucker and about 20 tourists, unloaded at Ball Hut on the Tasman Glacier. The tourists trailed up to the hut for morning tea while we squatted among the stones dividing our provisions and gear into to lots, one to be taken with us for a week up the Murcheson glacier, and the other to be left at Ball Hut and collected later for a week up the Tasman. Then with Whaka looking a bit restive, but not unduly so, (he was the only one who knew how far it was up the Murcheson to the Steffan Bivvy), we set out about 11 o'clock to cross the moraine and broken ice hummocks of the Tasman, then follow down the lateral moraine on the other side to the cleft between the hills where the Murcheson joins the Tasman. The tourist B had already 7 departed with two guides to view the Hochstetter befall (the largest icefall in the world outside of Alaska) - a couple of hours up the Tasman, and we followed, down the steep well-worn track over the grey moraine boulders which reflected the sun's heat with a burning intensity, so it was not long before we Aussies had shed our pants and socks and were walking in swimming trunks and shirts and sneakers. We came unexpectedly upon one burnt out tourist resting on a sharp rock. He was well rugged up from the soles of his feet to the lobes of his ears as a protection against the sun and looked a bit abashed at our state of nature as we passed by. There has been a tradition - nothing but boots for trampers and mountaineers - (“Boots” says Snow - “The Curse of New Zealand”; ) - but we found that for valley and glacier doings bare feet or sneakers were far superior. This heresy, I am happy to say, is now being backed up to a certain extent by new settlers from Europe who have introduced rubber-soled footwear to the N.Z. mountaineers. For actual climbing I still prefer leather soled boots and nails, but one feels easier and more at home without them in the valleys.
There was about a mile of rough, tumbled, broken ice to be crossed to reach the other side, and it took us several hours. We Aussies, who had now been out four weeks tramping and climbing and back-packing, were tough and fit and acclimatised, but as we looked at Whaka on his first day out struggling along under his heavy pack we thought back to our first days at Ruapehu when with one light pack containing only our lunch we had barely managed to stagger four miles up the road to sink exhausted on to the chair lift and be carried to the top of our mountain, and we wondered whether Whaka was feeling as shockingly decrepit as we had felt that day, but his unfailing cheerfulness didn't give us a clue. On the highest point of the moraine wall opposite we stopped for lunch - a chance to lighten our packs by a pound or two. Here we discovered that Whaka, who is one of the world's chosen people for kindness and thoughtfulness, was lugging a surprise Christmas cake and a quantity of fresh fruit and vegetables put in especially for us because he “felt we would appreciate some fresh food after living for so many weeks on dehy.” We had lunch, and in packing up Snow and I found that a certain amount of these luxuries somehow found their way into our packs, but we still felt unhappy about the weight Whaka was carrying.
The lower Murcheson is a wide scoured-out glacier bed with millions of pebbles and rocks. The Murcheson River meanders in shallow scattered runnels through this, but it was half a mile away from the bluffs under which our route lay so we didn't even see it. The sun shone with ferocious enthusiasm as we laboured slowly up the valley, taking rests at intervals in whatever slight shade we could find. When the noise of our feet crunching on the pebbles ceased it was quiet beyond belief. And hot: Goodness, if only the air which changes its course from week to week if it thinks fit, would swing over this way a bit so we could have a dip and cool off. We wouldn't mind 'even just a small trickle so we could have a drink. This craving for water began to assume fantastic proportions as the hours went by. We see Snow squinting up at the pitiless blue sky. “Do you know what?” he says, “I bet it's raining like Hell at Howden: ”(If you can remember back to Pt, 1 of this story you'lI recall that Howden is the place just north of Milford Sound Where the annual rainfall is 33 ft)
As we sprawled among the boulders during one of our periodic stops, suddenly Snow sat up excitedly and shouted, “Look: Water !”, and Sure enough, lust a short way off shimmered a wonderful expanse of shining water. George got out his camera and I grabbed a towel - nothing was going to stop me from having a swim - and we chased off after Snow, not noticing that Whaka Continued to lie extended in a small area of shade without moving. Snow had stopped so we were able to catch up to him…, and we wondered at the strange look on his face. “It's gone,” he said incredulously in a hoarse whisper. The awful truth-dawned on us. We got down low to the hot pebbles, and there was our shining lake once more just a mirage which quivvered and shone through the fluid haze, and as we straightened up again the illusory waters vanished. Without a word George put down his camera and I put down.my towel and we both turned on Snow and thumped him. Then we returned to Whaka feeling somewhat foolish. “Ah,” said Whaka from his couch of stones, “So it was only a mirage, eh'?” and his wide grin made us feel we ought to thump him too.
It was a long day, We began to spread out and straggled on in ones and twos. About sundown we made it. The little Steffan Bivvy looked brightly inviting on its rocky outcrop as we trudged up the final rocks and thankfully dumped our packs. We fetched water from a clear mossy spring, cooked up a meal on a most ingenious outdoor fireplace (we had collected firewood as we came along - a few whitened roots- and some dead vegetation lying among the stones), then early to bed an we planned to be away next morning to a dawn start. But before our bunks claimed us we took one last peep outside the hut at the purple mystery of the hills and the glittering star-haunted night - eternal verities which, while we slept, gave shape and substance to our dreams.
Dawn saw us up and about and soon we were on our way again plodding up the interminable moraine under the weight of our heavy packs. As we struggled along, more or less together, suddenly George gave a sharp cry. He had stepped on a loose rock which moved under his boot and threw him forward down a hole. His head struck a jagged rock, the blow being accentuated by the weight of his pack striking the back of his head as he fell. We rushed to his assistance. A long gash in his forehead was bleeding copiously and George looked pale and shaken. Restraining a wide-eyed Snow who was about to give George a horrifying description of his injury we staunched the bleeding and checked up for a fractured skull. It seemed all right so we bound George up with a most impressive bandage and passed out a few tonic remarks, “Aren't you lucky George; it's nothing. Just a surface cut. (Shut up Snow)”.
Whaka asked would George prefer to return to the Steffan Bivvy as it was only a couple of hours back as against a whole day to reach the Murcheson hut, but “I'm all right” said George, and to prove it he doggedly set off at a fast pace over the tumbled rocks I kept with him in case delayed concussion might set in, and soon we had left Snow and Whaka far behind. Hour after hour passed by. Away and away stretched the moraine like an unending fever in the brain till there was nothing left in the world but that end less wilderness of grey and purple rocks. After interminable hours we came to the last of them and stepped out on to the hard ice of the Murcheson Glacier. George was still going strongly so we kept on, although we could see no sign of the other two, and neither of us knew just where to look for the hut. Finally the hard ice gave way to soft snow and here I stopped to put on my pants and boots, but there was no holding George who had the bit well between his teeth. He disappeared around a distant shoulder of snow, and as I was finishing lacing up my boots he reappeared shouting that the hut was visible just ahead on a great mound of snow and rock. So I joined him and together we struggled up the steep slope to the hut and cast off our heavy packs with a sigh of relief. George had a pot of tea made by the time Snow and Whaka came toiling up the slope, and it was four weary climbers who ate their evening meal and lost no time in falling into their bunks and into a deep dreamless sleep.
The next day, although fine and suitable for climbing, we decided was a rest day. We spent the time reading and talking as we lay among the hot sunwarmed rocks outside the hut. We cooked and ate huge meals. George and Whaka got to work on the construction of an ingenious waterworks. Snow (not Snow but snow) was shovelled on to the large sloping expanse of sun heated rock. This melted and the resulting water was led by means of short lengths of metal conduit down to a waiting kerosene tin. Very effective. Whaka gave a demonstration of glissading down a snow slope on the seat of his pants - F. Winterbottom Esquire, As we lay in the sun we studied and learned the names of the peaks on the range opposite and selected the one we would climb tomorrow - Phyllis. But when we woke up next day we were startled to find that the beautiful sunny weather had vanished and it was raining and snowing. We kicked ourselves for having wasted a day yesterday. However we had much fun in the hut, reading and singing and stamping around, and Whaka who is a magician of the first order, kept the troops entertained for hours. We studied the barometer from time to time, and were pleased when Whaka announced that tomorrow would be fine. It was.
Dawn saw four exceptionally frisky bodies shooting down the snow slope from the hut, laughing in the early morning light. We crossed the Murcheson Glacier and embarked on the long plod up Phillis through limitless fields of snow. The weather was perfect and almost windless; the snow was in good condition and life was a grand affair. Snow viewed the world through rose-coloured glasses (metaphorically speaking). “Gee Whaka,” he cried enthusiastically, “This is the best day we've had!”
My glasses coloured the landscape in beautiful amber sunshine. Whaka took his off from time so time and closed his eyes down to mere slits as a protection against the light, but none of us seemed to notice that George, finding his a bit awkward over his head bandage perhaps, had taken them off altogether and gazed on the brilliant shining landscape all the afternoon with his big beautiful eyes wide open to catch every glint of glare that was offering, with the result that when we got back to the hut after having achieved our peak and stood on the summit in brilliant sunshine with the world at our feet, George was beginning to suffer the first agonies of snow blindness. Poor George! As if a bash on the skull with a sharp rock wasn't enough to put up with without this extra affliction. The next couple of days were sheer Hell to George. We closed down the shutters of the hut to keep the light out, and in darkness and pain George sat on his top bunk and suffered without one single whisper of complaint. Snow and I, worried and perturbed, would hover round like a couple of sheep that uneasily gaze at a companion that is down: “Can we do anything for you George?” “Can we read to you George?” But Whaka, knowing that a man must go through his own particular Hell alone, just passed him up his meals, and pads for his eyes, and a few quiet words of encouragement and waited - and two days later George was sufficiently recovered to move on.
WALKS NOTICE – See Australia
Come along and enjoy a pleasant weekend July 27th-28th. Blackheath to Blue-Gum (car to Perry's). Then after a night in the forest a delightful walk to Blackheath via Beauchamp Falls and the spectacular Grand Canyon.
Prospectives especially welcome,
Tickets Return to Blackheath. Leader Jack Gentle, Train departs 12.54 p.m. ex Central.' 'Phone XM 6121 or.LA 6041 (Business)
Back to the Thirsty Thirtees
The fantastic wet seasons of recent years, notably 1950 and 1956, were due, of course to the Atom Bomb. And since the appearance of T.V. in Australia with its crop of antennae sprouting from roofs and chimneys, there has been a suspiciously dry spell. On this surmise, and presuming that television installations will outstrip atomic developments, we are in for a protracted drought.
There's another way of looking at it. Sydney's average annual rainfall, based on about a century of scientific records is roughly 47 inches. Since 1947 (ten years if you count on your fingers) there has been only one year that produced less than the normal, and several exceeded it by a matter of twenty or thirty inches. Unless we decide that Sydney's weather has become wetter and is going to stay wetter, we must expect some compensatory dry seasons. Like the present one where, up to mid June, the rainfall is 10.7 inches, much less than half the average for the 5 months from January 1st.
Naturally by the time this is published (if it is) the whole prospect may have changed; should that be so, put this aside until it becomes dry again. Dry as it was during much of the 1930's and early 1940's, when water restrictions were imposed every summer, when dry westerly winds in summer coloured the sky red with dust from the inland, when the Cox and Kowmung sometimes ceased to flow for months at a time, and their tributary creeks were bone dry boulder paths.
That's just to bring it closer hone from the walking viewpoint. For there's not much doubt about it - if we go back to conditions of the Thirsty Thirties, we'll have to re-orient our walking ideas somewhat. We have all become accustomed to finding water pretty much when and where we want it, to being able to start a trip with a fine, reckless disregard of where we must camp. It has seemed almost an affront when a creek shown on our maps has been dry.
Fortunately, mere droughtiness doesn't mean a cessation or even a limitation of walking. If that were so, the numerous walking Clubs that mushroomed in Sydney during the Thirsty Thirties were off the beam somewhere. What it does entail is more cautious planning of trips. Even in the driest spells of the bad years, there was always water to be found in the beds of the main Blue Mountain Rivers. The streams didn't flow, much of their length was bare sand or jambled river rocks, but always there were pools to be found. That didn't apply to some of the tributary creeks, and a camp on a main watercourse was often vital.
Ridge walking was (and may be again) quite a hazardous enterprise unless the ridge assuredly ended in a negotiable way down to a major stream. This business of finding a flow, or even pools, in the higher arms of little creeks was a long shot.
Racking the mind, I discover I've become pitifully hazy about definite permanent water in places I ought to remember. I would suggest that others who were walking in the dry era of 15 to 20 years ago may be equally vague, and it may pay dividends to look up old magazines of the period before trying new and doubtful country.
As I recall it, however, you didn't waste time looking for water in small gently sloping gullies where the stream bed was sand or gravel. A good steep declivity, with much verdant ferny growth at the bottom, held promise, and usually rewarded the battle through lawyer vine and kindred rubbish. On a hanging swamp, like Corral Swamp, which tapers gently to a sudden cliff-fall, generally gave water where it fell over the escarpment.
There are some assured sources from near perpetual springs too. They may demand a long pursuit, or even digging, but the water was there. The very green-ness of the surroundings amongst the generally parched landscape sometimes suggested these (as witness the spring on an arm of Budthingeroo Creek on the Kanangra Road - no one has used it lately because no one walks the road now).
Rather inadequately, I must admit, there's no royal road to divining water, unless you have the gift of using the forked stick.
The main thing, I believe, is to adjust our attitude to the possibility that we're in for a spell of dry seasons, to acknowledge and recognise that the presence of water will govern where we go and when. Oh yes, and we should feet it fixed in our skulls that water, like the prosperity of the Thirsty Thirties (also the depressed Thirties) is NOT “just around the corner”.
Finally, when you do find water, don't be too fastidious. There are probably just as many dead mosquitoes, wags and other excrescences in the puddle of pale brown fluid in the next gully. But maybe you'd better boil it quite thoroughly.
HEAR YE HEAR YE
Print in the words ENGAGED and BUSY across the page of Friday, 13th September in your little blue books. No, you don't have to embark on a voyage on such an ominous date, but surely you ARE going to the FEDERATION BALL at the University Refectory Hall.
This is the BIG social event of the bushwalking year and even to be just seen there is to have made your mark. And even if you're not seen, you'll still have a ton of fun. Tickets are £1.1. each and Social Sec, Heather Joyce will be only too pleased to oblige. This is YOUR ball.
COLOUR SLIDE EXHIBITION The exhibition will be held on the night of July 31st. The deadline for your entries is July 17th and there is a limit of six slides per person.
Federation Report June 1957
RESIGNATION OF PRESIDENT
Mr, Norm. Allen resigned from the position of President owing to his appointment to a country school. His going is regretted.
ST. HELENA PERMISSIVE OCCUPANCY.
Due to the proposal to include the area in the Greater Blue Mountains National Park scheme, Federation decided to defer payment of its yearly rates until it had consulted Mr. T. Moppett in the matter.
Paddy Pallin is holding a wrist-watch found between Clear Hill and Debert's Knob at the end of May. Inscribed on the back are the initials “M.N.”
No treasurer's report was tabled. The position of the Federation's books is extremely serious and the yearly audit may be an adverse one due to apparent inattention to the keeping of regular accounts.
Clubs are requested to submit walks reports, even if they contain only itinerary and leader's name, and phone number, Walks secretary, please note.
The recent advertisements in “The Sydney Morning Herald” have resulted in at least two prospective members of clubs and three members.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
C.Mar raised the question of augmenting S. & R. funds possibly by a levy (on a per capita basis) on clubs. Matter deferred to Annual General Meeting in July.
The National Trust returned the Federation's “Affiliation Fee”, advising that it did not require affiliation fees.
R. Knightly. Delegate,
THE STORK'S CORNER. Once again that big bird has visited S.B.W. members and brought a son and heir to Mr, and Mrs. Bill Gillam - all are doing well. Congratulations.