Table of Contents
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown Street, Sydney.Box No. 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, Phone JW 1462
283 JULY, 1958 Price 1/-d.
|Editor||Geof Wagg, 131 St.Georges Cres. Drummoyne. UF 3435 (B) 1-2 p m.|
|Sales & Subs||Jess Martin|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Suffering For Prospectives||1|
|Famous Last Words||“Bull Moose”||2|
|At Our June General Meeting||Alex Colley||3|
|Anzac Weekend at Mt. Renwick||Dot Butler||4|
|Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service (advt.)||7|
|The Digby Disclosure||Joan Walker||8|
|Leica Photo Service (advt.)||11|
|Warrum - Bungling||Neville Picton||11|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop (advt.)||13|
|Letter From Edna Garrard||14|
|Letter From Dormie||15|
|Your Walking Guide||16|
|Kossie to Kiandra on Skis||Paddy||17|
|Paddy's Pretty Busy (advt.)||20|
Suffering for Prospectives
This softy softy stuff for prospective members is all very well, I suppose, but in my opinion it is too easily overdone. For my own tastes I prefer a trip that includes some genuine suffering - like rising in the dark and frost for a first-light start or some ice-cold swimming and wading. And of course the most memorable trips are those when some days later if you meet a fellow sufferer the conversation, goes like this:
“Have you seen old So & So? He's still hobbling.”
“No, but you should see poor Whatsisname - he can't raise his leg high enough to step into a bus.”
I suppose this can be overdone too, but there's no doubt that everyone is capable of doing trips into so-called “Tiger Country” if they're only reared to shed a few comforts and extend a bit of effort. I suppose the trouble arises when a person comes into the Club with no previous walking experience and is pleasantly coddled on his first few trips he forms the idea that this is bushwalking, and doesn't get around to trying any of the more rewarding trips, which are about as different from his experience as Gorgonzola is from Kraft Cheddar. Of course no-one can expect to step straight from rambles over Solitary to Kanangra and returns but at the same time a new bod shouldn't tremble with fear at the thought of going lightweight or only taking half an hour for lunch or seeing the sun rise two days in a row.
When I say I believe that a certain amount of suffering is a good thing, please understand I am speaking strictly of the physical side. Mental suffering, like being left lonely in a crowd, is the worst kind of cruelty and I can sympathy with the unsuspecting stranger stepping straight into our venerable clubroom full of bushwalkers. Also the difficulty a shy person must have in establishing a social foothold among walkers who, quite undeniably, tend to form compact groups.
On the other hand, prospectives must be prepared to make some kind of effort on their own behalf, and to help out we members who aren't particularly gifted, with a flow of light conversation, but who are always ready to talk if properly prompted.
To be brief, I think more ear-bashing in the Club and less spine bashing in the bush should be the order of the day and the Prospective Members Night to be held on 23rd of this month is a first-rate opportunity for a get together of old, new, and coming members.
Famous Last Words
WHY DON'T I KEEP MY BIG MOUTH SHUT?
“I know where we are now - Euroka is just over this ridge.” “This water is O.K. to drink - I've drunk it hundreds of times.” “Yes, I like lots of curry in the stew.”
“This is where hobnailed boots come into their own - just watch the way I climb round this pool.” “We needn't book seats on the train at Easter - there'll be tons vacant.”
“I'm glad I've got tough skin and don't burn easily” “Don't worry, there's ample water in the porridge.” “Lower me down oh the rope and if I can't go on you can haul me up again.”
“If it rains, I'll eat my boot.” (Splash-drip-splatter-munch-crunch-burp)
“Follow me. I know a short cut through this swamp.” “Watch me get in front and burn Manning off.”
EARBASHING PLUS! Brian Harvey says he has attended no less than fifty-six consecutive General Meetings and/or Committee Meetings. He should have a good idea of what has been going on.
At Our June Meeting
Our President, who was again in the Chair, opened the meeting with a welcome to new member Irene Pridham.
A letter from Allen Strom informed us that there was to be a conservation conference on 9th August. Ron Knightley and Alex Colley were appointed delegates and empowered to urge the creation of a primitive area in the Kosciusko State Dark, and to ask the Conference to remind the state Government of its promise to create the Greater Blue Mountains National Park.
The Treasurer's report, which recorded a carry over of L1,160 to next month, sounded satisfactory to everyone except Frank Ashdown, whose attentive ear caught mention of a sum of L7 paid to the Launceston walking Club to Cover a deficit on sale of magazines. The President explained that the magazines had been sent to us for sale, but a number had disappeared, without being paid for. This, said Frank was a most unsatisfactory state of affairs nobody appeared to be responsible. Brian Harvey said that the Launceston Club has been asked to refrain from sending more magazines, to which Frank replied that this should have been done seven years ago. However, he was willing to accept the explanation given, provided it didn't occur again.
In her walks report Joan Walker said that trips should be advertised fourteen days in advance and that the advertised trips were usually well attended. A new walks programme is ready for filling.
Next the Secretary moved that the typewriter at present used for the magazine be transferred to general club use and a new typewriter be purchased for the magazine at a net cost of L50. The Club typewriter, he explained was 27 years old and generally decrepit. The best typewriter for the magazine was one with a 15“ carriage and elite type. A good sturdy machine was needed, one that would stand up to abuse, which he hastened to add, it would get when the Assistant Secretary was away and the Secretary operated it. Brian Harvey (Magazine Business Manager) estimated that elite type would cut down paper consumption by 20% and save L10 a year. Kath Brown confirmed that, in her experience, the typewriter had had its day. Recent Assistant Secretaries had used other machines. Ron Knightley told us we had some 370 in cash and bonds. On being put, Ken's motion was carried with only a murmur of dissent. Frank Ashdown voted for it.
There being no other general business the meeting closed at 9 p m.
A CALL FOR HELP FROM THE SECRETARY
Can someone assist in tracing the following members whose addresses are lost, strayed or overdue :
Mrs. Thelma Walker, last known at 455 Marrickville Road, Dulwich Hill.
Mr. Ben Bishop
ANZAC Weekend at Mt Renwick
6.30 am Thursday, 24th April, saw three of us setting forth from Camden through a fierce deluge in the Dalai Lama's car. The windscreen wiper was working, but she had a broken main spring. Four hours later we reached the Tomerong turnoff ten miles out of Nowra. Here Stitt was to meet us and show us the way to Sassifrass, but as the Stitt motor bike is slightly more decrepit than the Duncan buggy it would be straining optimism a bit too far to expect him before midnight, so we decided to get in a few hours' sleep while we were waiting. It was still raining and the ground was a morass so we gave up the idea of putting up a tent and prospected round for a likely looking shelter. A storage shed at the back of a shop had distinct possibilities, so we went to a nearby service station to ask permission to spend a few hours in it. An old chap there offered instead to open up a vacant butcher's shop across the road for our use, and here it was we bedded down luxury on the concrete floor, having put a note for Stitt on the car windscreen to acquaint him of our whereabouts. At some unearthly hour of the night we were awakened by a torch flashing in our faces and were granted a vision of Stitt and little Dotty Barr wearing the whole waterproof clothing stock of Sterns' disposal. Store. This motor-biking can be a cold business. They told us the Puttmobile with twelve aboard had just gone through and suggested we rouse ourselves and do likewise. When our turn came to talk we suggested their bed down on the concrete with us and move on in the morning and meet the others at breakfast. As is usual in all Bushwalker agreements, they had their way and we had ours: they roared off into the night in the wake of the vanishing Puttmobile: we pushed the door shut, put a boot against it, and went back to sleep.
Some four or five hours later we were sitting up in our sleeping bags in the dark eating a baked rice pudding for breakfast, then we packed up by sense of touch, hoped we hadn't forgotten anything, and stepping outside our nice snug little retreat we drove off in the grey dawn in pursuit of our party. Down a hill, up a hill; see the white moths take their swift crazy flight through our headlights. Past open grazing ground; watch the stars pale and fade and the blue earth-shadow sinking down and down to the horizon. On through a belt of trees, a small huddle of habitations, several parked vehicles by the grassy roadside. A lanky figure drams itself out of a small one-man tent, like a grub emerging from banana skin, and puts his head through the doorway of the large vehicle. “Good morning you pack of blear-eyed sods,” says he affably. Comes a deep growl from within, “The same to you: Greetings - and anything else that can be had for nothing:” Ah, Bushwalkers, obviously. We have found our party. The Dalai Lama pulls his car off the road, looks anxiously at its broken mainspring, says “0 dear,” or words to that effect, And we join the others at breakfast round their small smokey fire. From a nearby shed in Major Sturgiss' paddock several figures emerge with cooking utensils. The occupants of Laurie's car had slept there, but those of the Puttmobile - the whole twelve of them - victims of an almost unbelievable inertia, had stayed right where they were in a heap inside the Puttmobile all night:
These pre-dawn breakfast gatherings are unique - there are never any two alike. Colin, crouched in the driver's cabin, is fighting a recalcitrant windscreen wiper which gave him trouble the previous evening. Various bods are crouched over smokey fires insulting each other's breakfast. Bookie in his pyjamas and shorts atop is a sight to delight the heart as he drifts vaguely and good naturedly about with a number of lurid paper-backed novels clutched in one hand and a plate of food in the other.
Over by the shed a couple of bods are scuffling in Major Sturgiss' paddock. “Hey, hey: take it quietly you two,” comes the admonishing voice of the Dalai Lama, “or Colonel Caviare will rush out and shovel you over the fence with a long-handled shovel:” (Speaking of long-handled shovels, the one you see there doesn't belong to Major Sturgiss - it belongs to Colin, and it's going to be carried twenty or thirty miles through the bush so that Putto can dig a hole with it and make a Maori oven and cook up a side of sheep he has in his pack.)
By now it is light. Colin gives a triumphant flick to the windscreen wiper. It works: “Right,” he roars, “moving off in five minutes”. Jane hastily hands him his breakfast. The rest of the party cram everything into their stomachs or into their packs according where it belongs, and in five minutes time the door of the Puttmobile is slammed shut and we are moving off. How's that for order among the troops: We go a couple of hundred yards, then the vehicle pulls up and Colin gets out. “Sorry,” he says, “but you've got to walk. If I take the car down this clay hill after all this rain I won't get her up again.” So out everybody got, shouldered packs, and off on the nine miles of road-walk to the old sawmill site. Pete's motor bike wasn't deterred, however, and we watched him skidding off ahead with Dot on the pillion and the sidecar laden with packs and impediments, including the long-handled shovel and the half side of sheep.
Three hours later we met up again; that was because we had now reached the sawmill and the road didn't go any further. The party was all assembled, then we followed a steep timber track and dropped down into Viney Creek, and an even steeper pull up the other side. Next a fair bit of sidling around a mountain with a fine rock chute of a waterfall to give it character; and throughout the long day someone or other was to be seen all for the love of Colin lugging the long-handled shovel through the rough.
Somewhere along the way we had lunch. The party soon showed signs of settling into the usual pattern typical of large groups: a small advance guard of “flyers”, a large grout of “Middlemen” and a small tail-end of stragglers. Someone who had “been there before” kept with each group, so we were all able to follow our fancy with an easy conscience. By late afternoon it became obvious to our leader that he wouldn't get the party through to the site he had hoped for, so another spot about an hour short of the original one was selected and we carried on. Towards sundown we passed through a high upland swamp dotted with tarns that shone blue-white in the last light of day, and just ahead rose a long wall of sandstone like a miniature Ayres Rock fringed with trees. Here we made our base camp in the failing daylight, collecting bracken for our beds and wood for the campfire while one by one the little tents appeared under the trees.
As is usual, everybody was early to bed to catch up on some sleep after the lack of it the previous night. I discovered I had left my tent in the butcher's shop at Tomerong turnoff, but it was a perfect night so I wouldn't have put it up in any case. As we dropped off to sleep on our heap of bracken under the stars the only thing we regretted was that our heads were down the wrong end. At dawn we awoke to find Venus still shining in the sky, its crescent shape visible through a telescope, as well as one of its tiny satellite moons. You don't notice these little things unless you have a trained twilight observer at hand to point them out.
Don Matthews; one of the “been-there-before” boys, led us off in the direction of Mt. Renwick, by swamp and tree-clad slope and wallaby parade under the cliff faces. After an hour we came to the site which Colin had originally decided would be our base camp. Here were several tents erected, belonging to members of the Kameruka Club. The occupants were away climbing, but we were able to tell exactly what each member had had for breakfast and possibly tea the night before by studying their unwashed plates and billies. Snow and Geof put un their tent and those who would be staying here the night dumped their camping gear, then away we went for Mt. Renwick. From a high hillside we looked down on an extensive swamp and were amazed to see a flock of sheep and hear the tiny tinkling of a sheep bell in that rugged country. From a high rock outcrop we looked across a gorge and were startled to see two small figures like a couple of mountain goats half way un a rock face opposite we held a shouted conversation with them. They were Kameruka members and they asked us had we seen anything of Barry. Barry was their leader and Barry was lost. But no, we hadn't seen him. Thereafter throughout the day, whenever we encountered any near or distant Kamerukas on rock faces or silhouetted against the sky we would shout out, “Has anyone seen Barry?” But nobody had.
Lunch time found us seated on the top of Mt. Renwick with Don coursing restlessly back and forth, spotting occasional members of the rearguard part, but never the whole bunch of them. Geof, Grace, Snow, Donnie Newis and Bev, with their hearts set on getting a glimpse at least of the tail of the Castle (they knew they wouldn't have time to climb it), ate their lunch like men on the march, ready to spring up at a second's notice and be off.
From our lunch spot the incredible stratified mounds of rock ranking up Irambank, like a cluster of bee-hives, looked so inviting that we planned to go across and climb them. But first we would climb up yonder rock wall and have a look at the tail of the Castle. Strangely, this took some time, and by the time we had selected the right ascent route it was too late for those of us who had to return to base camp to do anything else but bid farewell to Geof and party and set off for camp and the side of sheep in the Maori oven.
We took a short cut back, and met a couple of Kamerukas on top of Mt. Fletcher, but in answer to our shouted enquiry, they had not seen Barry. As we plunged down a steep gully we heard voices ahead, and what was our surprise to run into Colin and the rest of our party making their way back, so we slowed up and went with them, and by a very nice piece of organising Colin got them back to camp before the sun went down.
Well, now the big moment was come when the Maori oven would be opened up. First the too earth was shovelled off, all nice and warm to stand in. Next came the layer of hot rocks, then the six inch pad of bracken, exposing the side of mutton wrapped in a white cloth, (one of Jane's discarded sheets). For the sake of those who like to know everything about a Maori oven, underneath the beastie was another layer of bracken, and a lower layer of hot rocks. But the dozen or so ravenous Bushwalkers who clustered around the pit were not interested in anything but THE FOOD. Colin hacked it up with sweeping Viking slashes and the mob fell upon it. Before long everyone was grease to the elbows, not to mention fat all over the face. Everyone, did I say? Ah no. Who is that pathetic little figure sitting lonely by a guttering campfire, one hand over his eyes and the other clutching a writhing stomach? Take a second look before I tell you, so you won't call me a liar. It is indeed none other than our Club's champion food accepter, the man who has never been known to turn down a free hand-out - in other words DUNCAN! And why is he not running true to form? The sad truth is that he has got a cold in his stomach - a cramp, if you like, and he just couldn't face it.
Sunday. Space is running out, but I've got to get us back home. We left in the early dawn and retraced our steps across the swamp and round the hillsides and past the waterfall where Yvonne's pack, being passed down a rock face, got out of control and nearly landed up in a deep gully below, but a flying football tackle just saved it. We ran into a belt of nettles climbing up out of Viney Creek, then up the timber slide to the sawmill site and Stitt's motor bike. Here Geof and party caught up, so a few of us settled down with them and ate lunch while the others went on to lunch further along the road. Pete and Colin drove off on the motor bike to fetch the Puttmobile. The weekend had been fine after all and the clay road would have dried out. We watch our two worthies and the long-handled shovel disappearing along the road, and after lunch we follow after meeting up with the others along the way. It was now a case of seeing how many miles we could put in before the Puttmobile should return and we would have to board the infernal machine. Jane and Rona and I stepped it out to such good effect that we only had to ride for the last three miles. Then all into our respective vehicles and it's “Home James and don't spare the horsepower.”
And so ends another saga of Ulysses Putt and his crew. One of Colin's compatriots called Arawatta Bill has made history in New Zealand by climbing his way over the Alps with the aid of a mining shovel. Perhaps a fitting tribute to Colin would be that he has achieved the summit of Nt. Renwick with the aid of a long-handled shovel.
The Digby Disclosure
Not as many walkers on the tracks as in the good old days? You should have been in Blackheath this Queen's Birthday weekend. Booted bods stamped their feet on the pavement, pack-laden walkers dodged round the local population, leaders besieged Hatswell's doorway with demands for transport and S.B.W. retired quietly to a cafe to indulge in their favourite pastime - eating.
We could get no transport to Morong Creek until the next morning, so over tea we considered how to spend the night. Camp in the bus shed? - vetoed by those who had done it before - the grounds behind the hotel? - vetoed by the waterbag who guessed how that would end - the park down the street? - we had all, seen the thick frost already there - but why does the leader look so pleased?
Well, it would seem Ern Munn's party bound for Newnes were spending the night in the family weekender and if we cared to join them ..?
Okay, Digby, you can take full credit; it was a mighty bit of bludging. So it was that the boys slept on the lounge room floor while Price and myself, being the weaker vessels, enjoyed the luxury of beds, (Inequality of the sexes - ain't it Wonderful?). We were a keen party - Don Reid had flown from Canberra for the weekend - Neville Rhodes, a visitor, was returning to Davies Canyon for the third time to complete his series of shots, I had been trying for nearly three years to join a trip there, and so it was that we were up and waiting for the car while the stars were yet in the sky.
We waited while the first fingers of red crept up the horizon, waited while the clouds turned crimson, while the glistening whiteness in the valleys lost its ghostly character and became fields of frost. We waited till Ern was roused enough to offer us tea and then Hatswell came.
The weather chopped and changed as we drove towards Morong, but just as the car stopped by our timber track it decided what it would do - it snowed. Into this we stumbled to eat a late breakfast and finally moved off towards Baldy Harry at a time the leader will not let me mention. A cold wind moved us briskly down Sally Camp Creek so that lunch found us above the first falls. While our billies boiled over one of Jack Perry's mighty fires we considered the prospect. A pretty mountain stream with little falls and rapids plunged suddenly down a great cliff into a deep and still pool then fell again another hundred odd feet to the creek below.
Slowly we made our way down that scree slope, watching with equal care our own footing and that of the person above us. It was here I began to suspect a sinister feud - myself the victim with Don intent on at least stunning me with a rolling stone. Here, also, I disproved the tale that the nettle, firmly grasped, does not sting, for I sure hung onto that nettle bush.
Into the canyon, past the falls we had seen from above, clambering along the banks and across the creek, a cry of despair from Frank when he at last wet his feet, five minutes, no more, and we stood above the second falls. Well, we knew of many who had been down here before - an abseil off that log - fifteen feet to the ledge - make your way along it then down that steep rib to the creek so many feet below - but it was but an hour or so to dark and no-one was sorry when Digby said no go for that night.
A few months ago in Tassie we often used to ask “How lucky can you be?” Well, now I know, lucky enough to camp warm and dry in Davies Canyon. Beyond the spray from the falls, protected from the wind that blew down the canyon, handy to a pile of driftwood (next party please note: this no longer exists) we found a rocky platform. In an area not fifteen feet square we “pitched” our tents - thank goodness no prospectives to witness it - without a single tent peg. Ours was probably the most unorthodox - fixed slantwise from cliff well to ground and covering a narrow raised shelf on which two bods and a log (to keep the bods on) could just fit.
A layer of greenery between us and the rocks (conservation? Yes - of the party), a drizzle of rain in the air and it was a snug camp until about 10.30 when I was forcibly wakened.
“The rain,” said Digby, “It's coming into the tent.” Rain: No fear, that was ice on our groundsheets. Taking advantage again of the inequality of the sexes I nobly offered to hold the torch while Frank crept out into the drifting snow to lower the end of our shelter and arrange our packs as a weather break. All was quiet for another six hours when the corner of the tent slid gently off its perch onto Digby's face. As he stumbled out into the dark a voice cried piteously from another tent, “You're not getting up now, are you?”
However it was still dark when we were ordered from our bags and very, very cold. As the night died the scree slope seemed to shine through the dark, to gleam, glisten and finally, in the early dawn, show as a snow-covered slope. We turned around and the opposite wall of the canyon and the driftwood pile were covered in snow. Against the wall tree-ferns and bracken, their fronds veined heavily with white, stood darkly. The tents were edged with tiny drifts and the cold spot Bev complained of resolved itself into a sheet of ice nearby.
No loitering today; while three of us broke camp Frank, Neville and Jack again investigated the descent. Returning to camp they declared themselves willing to give it a go. We thoughtfully sent our leader down first and waited out of the wind while he worked along the ledge a bit. A call to Neville and Jack and the leader reappeared - getting somewhat wet in the process. We were all relieved when he declared it might be O.K. for Manning, Wagg & Co, but he preferred to travel over something firmer. So up the steep hillside we clambered, fingers and toes frozen by the snow, dodging falling stones again, until mid-morning found us on the ridge above. You have heard of mile-a-day country - well, we now looked back on yesterday's lunch spot no more than 500 horizontal yards away but separated by so much vertical effort.
On this ridge occurred an incident for which I cannot praise the leader too highly. Sheltered from the wind we found a party of three melting snow for a cuppa and enjoying a late breakfast. They had pulled out of the creek above the first falls and were intending to spend the rest of the weekend at Caves House. Did this wonderful example of white-antism tempt our lender? No - instead he must have inspired the three to continue through to Katoomba for they also placed themselves in the hands of Neville the Navigator and followed us back to the creek.
A navigator, who has been there before, is a great comfort. Down, down the ridges we went, and here, there being no rocks to set rolling, Don hurled himself bodily down the slope. The culmination of this feud came the next day when he apparently induced Boy to push a pumpkin sized gibber down onto me - the quickest bit of footwork I've ever done removed me from its path, and the splash as it reached the Cox brought the others running to see who had fallen in.
Down the creek we stopped for lunch - nine walkers in the “roughest country in the State” (vide Tuesday's Sun), isolated in the trackless hills, but surely that was a voice, a hail from the opposite hillside.
Dropping (almost literally) into our midst were four more walkers. Thurat Creek yesterday, Davies Canyon today was their programme. Not for us, thank goodness; their whirlwind progress down to the Cox made us glad to be rabbits.
What can I say about the rest of the trip? Describe the falls of the lower canyon? Spectacular - breath-taking - words cannot tell that thrill as one gazes at some natural masterpiece. Tell of that narrow chasm down which the waters passed? Or of Guouogang looming high above us into the clouds? Or that last peaceful camp on Kanangra River with a starry sly and grassy banks - hard to realise just a few miles from the harsher, grander country we had seen.
The Monday dawned fine and clear, but only two of the party saw it. Jack and Neville, intent on early trains, moved off when planned, the rest followed somewhat later. Down the Cox to White Dog - time flying away from us - we are convinced this stretch of river has been lengthened since the map was drawn - up the ridges, Deberts, Clear Hill, (but stop we must, despite the hour, for the view from Kelpie Hill and Tarro's), then Narrow Neck, the track at its swampiest and scratchiest worst, stretched before us. Jumpers out and torches on, then the final rush as three of us delayed the train till Don and hot spring rolls came running up the steps.
We bypassed some of the canyon and had to hurry through much of it. I like to think of this trip as but a forerunner of a more leisurely enjoyment of the canyon's beauties, with no deadline at Katoomba to hurry us on.
Anyway, it was a mighty trip.
Monologue by Frank Ashdown late on Friday night: “Anyone got a torch handy? Can't find mine, but it's in the tent somewhere. Not that I can't go to bed in the dark, but I want to find it to make sure it's not turned on.”
Warrum - Bungling
What happens when a new member of the S.B.W. gets posted away from Sydney? Does he give up Bushwalking, or does he instil in all those he meets the Bushwalking spirit? In most towns, I think the former; in this one, a bit of both. This, however, is what happened to me.
Saturday, 18th January, 1958 - A letter in the mail. “Oh hell,” says Neville. “What's up?” says Mum. “This envelope looks like the ones they use to send out postings.” “Well, open it up.” A note .. “You are requested to commence duty 4th February, 1958, at Coonabarabran Intermediate High School.”
“Where the hell is Coonabarabran?”
A map was dug out (all school-teachers have one handy for such emergencies). Coona was placed about 100 miles North of Dubbo (I wasn't really sure where Dubbo was) and slightly more west of Tamworth. The next fortnight was spent planning and packing. “Well I might as well toss in a sleeping bag and rucksack. The map placed the Warrumbungles up there somewhere and I've heard Henry Gold and a few others raving about that area, and when I'm in Sydney next weekend I might as well buy a map of the area.”
So off I went to Coonabarabran, which turned out to be quite a nice little place really, comparing favourably with many larger country towns.
1st February - arrived at Coona.
2nd February - “Night drive out and have a look at this Timor Rock.” So out I went. Timor is a volcanic plug (Trachite) about 500 - 600 feet high. By its base runs Shawn's Creek, which in dry weather runs mostly under the stones, but provides good water if you boil it. The Rock is about eight miles from Coona.
Reports from the townspeople vary.
e g. 1 - “Timor is easy to climb. So and so took a six year old child. e g. 2 - “Wouldn't touch Timor with a forty-foot nole. A Scout Master fell about 75 feet and broke a leg or arm or something.”
e g. 3 - “I've got a photo of a family group on top.”
This last proved to be a photo taken at the old “Bottle Rock!' (which has now fallen) which was, I believe, about a third of the way up. However on 2.2.58 I hadn't heard these reports so I set off up. Almost up. Got to within 40 feet of the top and things got a bit dicey. Well! I might go home and come out some other time end go right up.”
8th February - “Come on Harry. Let's go up Timor Rock today.” “What's it like,” says Harry. “It's a bit steep on the front but we'll have a look around the back.” So with Jill and Elaine as cooks at base camp we set off round the north side of Timor.
“We might get up this way.” “Not b likely.” “Ah well, let's have a look around here.” “Hang on. What am I supposed to stand on.” “That bit of rock there. Down a bit. Half an inch to the left.” “Hell:” “Funny: That bit of rock didn't look to be loose.” “Up this crack here.”
One hour later. “What's holding that thumping big rock over your head.” “Can't get past the damned thing.” Well,. we might as well go down. This rain might make the rock a bit slippery anyway”.
14th February, off to Sydney to buy textbooks etc. While there I bought a camera and 100 mm lens, a couple of rolls of Kodachrome, and of course, a haze filter.
23rd February - back at Timor. Same crew with two new climbers, Monty and Mac, “Let's try the west side.” “Hell: It's sheer rock.” “Let's try the SX, corner on the West side.” Half an hour later. “Let's go back down.” Quarter of an hour later. “How about the creek side at the western end?” “We'll try here.” “Look, Nev remarks: This must be the way up. Come on.”
Half an hour later. “Harry.” “Yes.” “They are my tricoune marks. This is the way you can't get up.” “I'm hungry, let's go back and see if lunch is ready.” “It should be, it's 3.30.”
1st March - Timor. Same two cooks. Harry, Monty and I are climbing - Mac has been posted to Molong. We have 100 feet of rope for coming down and for belays if we need them. Harry and Monty prefer to slide down the rope rather than abseil, but are showing interest in the easier form of travel. By now we know that the way up is the western end of the creek side - the last crack almost - the crack being shaped like a C, crescent shaped. This does in fact provide a route to the top. The climbing is not what I would call easy and in a few places I felt it was much easier to think about food or anything rather than the horrible mess which would result if one fell 200 feet straight down without even the odd rock to bounce off on the way. Apart from that it was a good climb, although the pint of water we carried was not really enough. Well we were thirsty. The view from the top does not show any of the other main features except Moora, but does provide some excellent scenery when looking over Coona and across the flat with the Coolah Mountains in the distance and just a hazy glimpse of the Main Divide.
When you try to climb a rock three times and fail, and get up on the fourth, you feel really good. Timor, I guess, rates low on the scale of difficulty, but judging by the looks on Harry and Monty and the way we felt - well - Hillary and Tensing couldn't have felt much better at the top of Everest.
“Hell! It's three o'clock. I'm starving. Let's go back down and find some FOOD.”
YOU DEFINITELY CAN'T BANK ON IT
You can't bank on August Bank Holiday - but those walkers, who, by their devoted attention to their jobs throughout the year will have earned their relaxation on Monday, 4th August next, CAN bank on a minimum of feet-vetting on Brian Harvey's Bank Holiday walk, which entails only two crossings of the cold Cox, and even those may be avoided, if we can sneak through Goolara Portal on the left bank. To encourage the Lower Income Group by saving the added train fare to Blackheath and the 7/6 car fare to Megalong Post Office, it is now proposed that the walk will leave Katoomba via Nellie's Glen on the Friday night to camp at the Old Pub site. Thence down the Fix Foot Track to Old Father Cox, up Breakfast and Glenalan Creeks to Glenalan Crossing. This latter section will cover an interesting and little-trodden portion of ,Rc C. Creeks, involving the by-passing of several picturesque waterfalls and pools. Tea at the All British Cafe, Katoomba. Total fares - 24/-.
Brian Harvey - Business BUI611 private JU14A2.
Letter from Edna Gerrad
Maria Theresien Schlosal, Hellbrun, Salzbert.
5th June, 1958. Dear Bushwalkers,
Here is a brief record of my trip to date. Please excuse z for y as I can't get used to this machine in the short time for which I have it.
Went first to Bangkok and found that very colourful and interesting - things like the King's Barges which are 150 feet long and very much decorated. Did you see the film “The King and I”? They used one of the barges in that. Temples with large gold Buddahs. A lot of the life of the town is on the canals. Went out and saw the markets, which comprise barges carrying fruit and vegetables, but was rather horrified to see the locals swimming and cleaning their teeth in the canals into which all the rubbish goes.
Went down to Cambodia and found Ankor Wat fascinating. It is very necessary, in my opinion, to read it all up before you go as the guides' English is very poor. It was very hot in the East and at all the airports in the Middle East; at all times of the night the heat was really shocking. After looking down on the muddy Nile and Ganges it was wonderful to fly over the Blue Mediterranean.
Greece and Southern Italy looked glorious from the air with high mountains, snowcapped, with glaciers in places coming down to the sea. Italy was very interesting and Florence and Venice are very tempting to females, with lovely things to buy - clothes, linen, leatherwork and glass. However, I managed to be pretty firm with myself. The churches were interesting and saw the Pope at St. Peters. On the whole I was glad to leave the cities and was thrilled with the mountains of North Italy. Had several lovely days at Cortina and went to the Gross Glockner, which is a magnificent mountain. On the way the fields were full of brightly coloured flowers and everywhere they have been haymaking - I love the smell of newly cut hay. There is very little machinery in Italy and most of the farm work is done by hand, and they use bullocks and donkeys. Had a lovely day's walking at Cortina when I followed a stream through the woods. Fortunately struck a Rhodesian girl who also liked walking. We had rolls and wine at an inn, for lunch. Had some difficulty with the language in Italy as their season has not started, However, I saw the country and went over the lovely passes.
Austria is coming up to all my expectations. Loved Vienna. Had an interesting tour of Vienna by night and visited cafes in the Vienna Woods, finally seeing a very good floor show at a night club. They gave us wine at each stop and champagne at the nightclub. Bz midnight I could have done with a good Australian steak. Yesterday went to Berahtesgaden and was very thrilled with my glimpse of Bavaria. Hitler seems to have picked out a remarkable spot for his Eagle's nest. We inspected the underground fortifications. The Konig See struck me as rather like the sounds of New Zealand. Have been to Wolfgang See and had tea at the White Horse Inn in tourist fashion.
Often wish I had some S.B.W. friends with me. Regards to all.
OF VEGETARIAN GLUTEN STEAKS
Tasty meatless meals with a high protein value. They come in tins, and only need to be fried. A very satisfying substitute for fresh meat. Delicious when cooked in butter.
Letter from Dormie
Sunday, 18/5/58. Dear Bushwalkers,
Today I took up residence in a private boarding establishment in this, the chief city of the Republic of India, after having been for nine days at Darjeeling, over 7,200 ft. above sea level in the Himalaya Mountains. It is hard to believe that where Snapdragons and Calendulas grow in a normal way, and the ordinary business of life proceeds in a normal fashion, the altitude is higher than that of Mt. Kosciusko, our highest mountain. True it is that you have dense mists that come down from nowhere, making general visibility very poor, but still the people move about in dense throngs, greeting each other in the market-place and in the tortuous lanes that wind and descend everywhere. Although for cheapness (8 rupees per day, equal to 16/- in our money) I boarded where Indian meals only, were served, yet I was able to relieve the monotony by going to a place called Glenory's, where every dish under the sun was served “a la carte”. Here I had my evening meal to the accompaniment of the latest recorded music from the United States.
Although part of the Himalayas, the views from Darjeeling of the highest peaks were disappointing and frustrating because the mists already mentioned blotted out such distant scenery. (Kangchenjunga, 28,146 ft., the third highest of the Himalayan peaks, is 42 miles from Darjeeling.) The higher you climbed, the more likely you were to become enveloped in a dense cloud. Daybreak was the best time for seeing these “giants”; if you missed out on seeing them at 6 a m., there was very little chance during the rest of the day, because the rising sun only gathered un more and more evaporation clouds as the day wore on. But if you did see those “tops” entirely in the morning, you were rewarded with an unforgettable sight. The snow on the peaks glistened like silver in the morning sun.
On the first dawning of my stay in Darjeeling I saw them from my bedroom window, but did not photograph them at the time, because I just took them for granted, and mistakenly thought that any old time would do. However, the rest of the nine days at Darjeeling was like the musician's quest after “the lost chord”. I was vainly seeking the glory which for a short time only had appeared. I even climbed 6 miles up Tiger Hill with try pack to spend the night at an altitude of nearly 8,500 ft. above sea-level so that I might get a glimpse at dawn of Everest, over 29,000 ft. above sea-level, but all I recorded with my movie camera WAS a mere glimpse indeed, which one has to pick out from the surrounding clouds. The locals tell me that November is the best time for visibility.
Your Walking Guide
JULY Walk No.
68 Morong Ck-Paralyser-Guouogang. Medium Test Walk of ridges west of Cox. Climb of 2,500 ft. on Sunday, with views of Wild Dogs etc. See leader re transport.
69 Glenbrook - St. Helena -Springwood. Interesting walk of lower mountains. Mostly ridge-walking and good campsite at St. Helena. Cost 15/5.
70 Waterfall-Kangaroo Ck- Audley. A popular walk in National Park. Good track without climbing for an easy day. Cost - 8/4.
71 Jenolan Pine Forest-Black Range-Meglong Valley-Katoomba.. A medium walk with good track and easy climb to Katoomba. Cost - 44/9.
72 Perry's-Blue Gum-Lockley's Pylon-Leura. Medium Test walk camping at Blue Gum Forest. Climb of 2,500 ft. thence good track to Leura. Excellent views of Grose Valley. Cost - 27/9.
75 Bobbin Hd.-Cowan Ck-Cowan. Easy walk in Karingai Chase with track. Cost - 10/2.
74 Morong Ck-Kowmung R-Doris Ck-Kanangra. An excellent opportunity to visit the Kowmung made possible by private transport. Swimming might be necessary, with rock-scrambling and rock-hopping.
75 Instructional Walk Long Angle Gully-Emu Plains. Good campsite with an easy walk along creek on Sunday. Cost - 13/8.
76 Megalong P.0.-Six Foot Track-Glen Allen Ck-Clear Hill-Katoomba. An easy Bank Holiday trip with river walking and rock-hopping. Cost 23/.
77 Camden-Werriberri Ck-Warragamba–Erskine Ck-Glenbrook. A medium Test Walk to unusual country, some scrub on ridge tops, with track into Glenbrook.
78 Glenbrook-Euroka-Campfire Ck-Glenbrook. Medium test walk in lower Blue Labrynth. Cost - 12/3.
79 Spring Hill-Mt. Jellore-Jellore Ck-Colo Vale. Medium test walk with good views from Jellore. Patchy scrub with creek walking. Cost 32/3.
80 Glenbrook-Erskine Ck-Warragamba Dam. Medium walk with inspection of Warragamba Dam on Sunday. Cost 15/3.
81 Windsor-car to Scheyville-Cattai Ck-Long Swamp Ck-Maralya-Scheyville. A medium walk mostly creek walking cost 16/6.
Kossie to Kiandra on Skis
At Easter 1957 the Old Buffers added Anzac Day (and the day in between) to the Easter holiday and decided to walk from Mt. Kosciusko to Kiandra. It was, I must confess, part of a deep laid plan on my part to prospect the journey on foot before attempting it on skis. As it turned out we could almost have used skis on the first day, because we left the summit in a blizzard of wind and snow. It was so bad that by the time we got to Albina Hut my face was frozen and I could not talk. (The rest of the party being protected by Paddymade hoods thought it no loss!)
The next step to achieve my long cherished ambition was to find partners for the ski trip. I mentioned the matter casually to Mark Mealey and Rynill Abel of the Youth Hostel Association, and to my surprise they said it was a wizard idea, and dates were fixed there and then, (My surprise arose from the fact that as a skier I am only mediocre whilst they are pretty good.)
Gear was discussed at some length and we eventually worked out three lists. A personal list, a community list (comprising ski repair gear, tent, first-aid kit, chuffer stove end fuel) and a food list.
The tent was a three man “A” tent to which a waterproof floor had been sewn in. Loops were sewn at each side so that a ski could be threaded through and used as an anchor instead of pegs. One end was sewn up (weight 7 lbs.) For use in the snow each of us had a plastic foam hip pad in a proofed cover (8 oz. each). The stove and the tent were taken mainly in case we were overtaken by a blizzard, and were unable to reach a hut.
We took food for four days (the expected duration of the journey). In addition we had, with the help of a friend in the S.M.A. laid down supplies at Boobie Hut in case we ran out of supplies by being delayed by bad weather. As large a proportion as possible of the food required no cooking, so that, should we be weather bound away from a hut, we should not need fuel to prepare food.
About twenty years ago, Tom and Jean Mophett and Oliver Moriartv had done the trip from Kiandra to Kosciusko, but since that time the only party to attempt the trip nearly lost their lives by getting completely bushed. With thoughts of blizzards and nil-visibility in mind we tested the effects of steel stocks, photo electric light Meters and steel frames on a compass, and found that all these affected the compass quite considerably. After some experiment I found that a “Silva” wrist compass (liquid filled) -worked. It would give a true reading if held at arms-length away from the body despite a steel frame on the back, and a light meter in the pocket. Cane stocks were carried - aluminium would have done as well).
Despite all the extra items the average Weight of our packs was less than 33 lbs when we set off. We got a taxi to Munyang Power Station and immediately had to slide up to the surge tank. Rymill was in good nick, having spent the previous week at C.F.I.R.O. Hut. Mark and I were not acclimatised to altitude and soon began to pant. It is only four or five miles to White River Hut, but I don't mind admitting that I just about pegged out before I got there. The hut was blocked by a wall of frozen snow through which we had to chop to get in. I was so tired that night that every time I tried to get into my sleeping bag I got cramp. It took me nearly half an hour to achieve the comfort of my bag, as I was too proud to ask the others to help me.
Next day was bright and clear, and we were all in high spirits. “This is IT” cried Rymill again and again. Indeed it was a day for joy. The snow was frosted with jewels, and crunched under our skis as we went along. This world of snow was ours and we were the only people in it. We climbed up the long grade to the saddle and then ran easily down to Dicky Cooper Bongong Creek. We crossed and then started the slow grind up toward the Ghost Mountain. Lunch at the top and then across the plain; more climbs and then a good run down to Mawson's Hut.
Next morning was even more beautiful than the first. A million jewels sparkled in the snow. The marbled gums half buried in the snow glowed with colour, and there on the skyline was the Queen of the Range - Jagungal. How splendid she looked across the valley against the deep blue sky.
The bridle track crosses the Valentine River, climbs to the Cup and Saucer and proceeds by the ridge to Bulls Peaks. We decided to keep to the valley on the East of Jagungal, cross a spur from the mountain and find the ridge on which Farm Ridge Hut lies. We made splendid time and had lunch high up on the slopes of Jagungal. The only signs of life were the tracks of numerous rabbits and foxes. What the foxes fed on was evident, but how the rabbits got a living in these frozen wastes was quite a mystery to us. We also saw occasional heavy tracks of a lumbering wombat.
We made such good time that we talked gleefully of reaching Boobie Hut that night, and having a blow out on the food cached there, but alas, it was not to be. The track follows the Doubtful River, and then reaches Farm Ridge crossing a wooded ridge. We could easily have descended through a gap to reach the track but we decided to proceed straight down the ridge instead. It was a bad decision. The ridge was rocky and heavily timbered. The afternoon sun shone straight on the slope and created dozens of rocky rivulets from the melting snow. We tried to walk but sank thigh-deep in the soft drifts. Our skis tangled with roots and fouled rocks. It was terrible.
It was nearly dark before three tired skiers arrived at Farm Ridge Hut. We entered the hut thankful to reach shelter, and stopped appalled at the revolting scene inside. Three tables stood in the “Kitchen” laden with unwashed plates and mugs and half-empty food tins. To cap it all, there were three cast iron camp ovens full of mutton fat, two of which had their lids off. It appeared as if all the rats and possums and vermin for miles around had had a monster party. We nearly vomited. On top of all this we saw inscribed in charcoal on the rafters of the hut two inscriptions - “Despise not the hut that gives you shelter” and “Hikers - we loathe them”. Well, I can only say the mess did not seem like the sort of mess that hikers (or bushwalkers) would leave behind. We set to and boiled some water, cleared one table, and gave it a scrubbing with hot soapy water; we cleaned the floor as best we could with an old chaff bag and despite the poor welcome had a thoroughly comfortable night.
Next day was dull and overcast. We ran easily down the valley to the Doubtful River, crossed, it dry shod and grunted up the climb to the Doubtful Gap. A long run-down Digger's Creek brought us to Boobie Hut. There we had a hearty lunch, packed up what food we wanted and pushed on, recrossed the road leading to Junction Camp and descended to Happy Jacks River. Here, for the first time the snow ran out. We had to walk half a mile and wade across the river (ugh). We soon hit snow again and climbed to Arsenic Ridge. As there was no convenient hut we decided to camp and soon found a snug place amongst the trees. We had a warm night and got an early start the next morning. There's a tricky-bit of navigation to Table Top Mountain and through wooded ridges until the open plain south of Kiandra is reached. We reckoned we had about 15 miles to go, and by lunch-time at 1.30 we had only covered six of them. The weather was worsening. Heavy clouds now gathered threatening snow and we planned to camp in the snow. However we pushed on and suddenly we climbed a rise and before us was the plain. Away in the distance could be seen the wireless poles of Kings Cross near Cabramurra township and the quarry on Mount Selwyn could plainly be seen. “Land ho” shouted Mark, and with a sudden burst of renewed energy we pushed on and covered the remaining seven miles to Kiandra in great style. We reached there just after dark, having to walk the last mile owing to lack of snow.
Next day the blizzard came, but our journey was completed;
WHY DO WE DO IT?
Why is it when we have a few beautiful colour slides, tinged with memories, admired by our friends, why is it that we then expose these to the critical and unsympathetic gaze of a competition judge?
But there you are - we all do it. We can't help ourselves, that the time has come around again, hurry away, dig out your treasures and bring them into the Club by 16th July or you'll miss having them slated this year.
Oh: By the way, remember we're going to have two colour slide exhibitions and this one is for landscapes - no books, butterflies or birdies, and definitely none of Dormie's 5%.
FROM DOROTHY LAWRY
I am planning to fly over to Sydney on Monday, 22nd September and to fly back to Auckland on Saturday, 18th October. As the plan is primarily to see as many as possible of my old friends, I'll be popping into the Club, and going to Pete & Ray's for the Eight Hour Weekend, so I'll probably be seeing you all soon.
Brian Harvey's walk was labelled Special Walk for New Members and Prospectives but the personnel was 2 Prospectives, 3 members, EIGHT members more noteworthy for seniority than speed.