Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, c/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney. Box No. 4476, G.P.O. Sydney. 'Phone JW.1462.
No. 290. February, 1959. Price 1/-d.
|Editor||Geof Wagg, 131 St. Georges Cresc., Drummoyne. UW 3435 (B) 1-2 p.m.|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey.|
|Sales and Subs||Jess Martin.|
|Typed by||Grace Wagg.|
In This Issue:
|At Our January Meeting||Alex Colley||2|
|They're A Weird Mob||“Nino Burntoffa”||3|
|The Northern Hemisphere Compass||Geof Wagg||8|
|Caution On The Colo||“Pluto”||12|
|They Did Not Make It||Brian Harvey||14|
|The Importance Of By-Laws||Brian Harvey||16|
|Songs: Haul Away Joe, The Drummer and the Cook, The Overlander, Balm In Gilead, Bye An' Bye||19|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||7|
|Hattswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||13|
|Easter Walkers (Paddy's advt.)||18|
"Music Hath Charm..."
Maybe not many people would call it music at that, but still it's all a matter of opinion because there are many types and tastes gathered under that broad term.
And in the instance of the savage breasts (inferred by the title), some of these breast owners may feel inclined to claim that they are far from savage, but that too, must be a matter of comparison.
Still by and large there are few walkers who wouldn't agree that singing songs around a campfire is one of the most pleasant ways to spend an evening in the bush. To help keep up members' interest and enthusiasm, we hope to publish fresh songs from time to time and, in fact, in this very issue of the magazine you will find a foolscap sheet containing some of those, which, we hope, will meet with your approval. The idea is for the sheets to be halved and trimmed to fit inside the now song book covers and tied in with the old bootlace or whatever you use.
At Our January Meeting.
About 46 were present when the President opened the meeting. Bill Rodger's election as Walks Secretary had left a vacancy on committee to which David Ingram was elected. The President reminded us that several officers would not be seeking re-election. These ware the Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Conservation Secretary, Membership Secretary, Duplicator Operator and Literary Editor.
Correspondence included an invitation to attend a meeting of the “Bureau of Safe Walking”, but lack of details as to time and place will deprive members of the opportunity of attending.
Woods Creek was chosen as the place for the Re-Union, and Long Angle Gully in case of a flood. A reunion committee was elected consisting of David Brown, Geoff and Grace Wagg, Dot Butler, Bob Duncan, Don Matthews and Colin Putt as Convenor.
After an interval of two months, our new Walks Secretary, Bill Rodgers, presented an interesting account of the Club's official walking activities. This was compiled despite the failure of most walks leaders to submit reports, as requested.
Jim Brown announced that another car trial, not on the programme, was being organised by Brian Anderson and himself on February 28th and 29th. A high degree of disorganisation was guaranteed.
Bob Godfrey then moved that the club acquire additional camping gear so that we could provide two complete walking kits for prospectives. Bob said that the reason why a lot of prospective members never became members might be the cost of buying gear before they could become walkers. This would further the Club's object of “helping others to enjoy these natural gifts”.
Colin Putt said that he had been equipment officer of another club, and the scheme had worked well. The equipment should be rugged and robust - not necessarily the best. There was a hire fee and the person who had done the least number of walks had preference in hiring. Much of the gear was the discarded or superseded equipment of members, and perhaps our members could make a lot of gear available cheaply. Dot Butler thought an advertisement in the magazine might discover quite a lot of this sort of gear. Kevin Ardill thought we might be encouraging people to be lazy. A tennis racquet cost £8, but this didn't stop the teen-agers from playing. The gear might be returned in bad condition. Jack Wren agreed with the motion, but thought we should first find someone to look after the equipment. A lot of people had surplus gear, but they often liked to lend it to non-walkers of their acquaintance who might need it. If they had first claim on their gear when they needed it for their own friends this might encourage members to make it available. Ron Knightley supported the motion. He thought a “gear officer” might prepare a list of available equipment. Edna Garrad said that many wanted to take up walking when they could least afford it and should be helped. The motion was carried, and referred to the Committee for implementation.
Correction of telephone number.
Would members please note that Edna Stretton's telephone number on the current Walks Programme should road LJ.9586 and not LJ.5986.
They're A Weird Mob.
- Nino Burntoffa.
In Northern Italy, where I come from, people do not raise their eyebrows in surprise at the name “Burntoffa”. They do not raise their eyebrows, simply because they have never heard it, for that is not my name at all; but I had not the courage to use my native name in connection with what I am about to say.
At school I studied my English lessons well and passed with the highest honours. When my country went to war, I went to Intelligence as an interpreter, to interpret for all the prisoners we were going to capture. Because the traffic went the other way, a wise army decided that it could use my feet better than my head and transferred me into the Alpini. They were right; I never looked back - well, just once; just a glance, but I got such a scare I never looked again.
The Alpini were great troops and the Italian Alps are great mountains. I loved them - not love as a man loves a woman, you understand; more as a fisherman loves a fish. When I came to live in Australia, the sign in the office where I got my visa said, “Katoomba - playground of the Blue Mountains”, and showed snow-white cliffs surmounted by sky-blue trees. I knew that I must quickly find someone to guide me over these magnificent alps.
Carefully following the instructions of the information service, I found the hostelry on the corner and behind it, as expected, the sign “Ingersoll Hall”. A light shone wanly from the door. I stepped gaily in and up a flight of stairs to some doors through which came sounds of voices and laughter.
Carefully, I adjusted my tie, smoothed the lapels of my coat and glanced down to ensure that my shoes had not become dusty. I must not give these people a bad impression of the Alpini. For a moment I stood before it - the doorway to my dreams; to the mountains with the pure white cliffs and the sky-blue trees.
Opening the door, I stepped in. Immediately, I wished that I had not - that I had remained outside with my dreams of the white cliffs are the blue trees. What I now saw was not at all like what I had imagined. You will not be insulted, I hope, but I had expected - well, something civilised.
Before, I had time to recover from my shock, a gentleman pushing past me suddenly stopped and said, “Lookinfersumwun?”
“I - er -…” I hesitated, at a loss for words. I had also studied Greek, Gaelic and Yiddish at school. Alas! The poster had not indicated that the people of the Blue Mountains spoke some unfamiliar tongue. Not knowing what other language to try, I said, “Excuse me; can you speak English, please, sir?”
“Spikenglish?” he said. “You kidddin'!”
Ah! He had spoken some English. Perhaps he knew some more. I ventured further.
“This is the hikers' club?” I asked.
His eyes bulged a little; his neck muscles stood out like cornices; he looked at me threateningly and said, “Whadidusay!?”
“The hikers' club?” I asked again. “Please, can you tell me how to join the hikers' club. I wish to hike in the Blue Mountains”.
He did not answer at first, but turned away and called out to another gentleman who, like himself, had neither tie nor coat on: “Haydigby. Come and cop this.” The gentleman summoned came over and the first gentleman asked, “Wotsyername, mate?”
“Please?” I enquired. I realised by now that he was nearly speaking English, but the only word that I had really understood was “mate” and we were not on a ship.
“What is your name?” he said slowly.
“Oh! my name? It is Giovanni Ascalienti Burntoffa. I am called Nino.”
Turning to the gentleman, Haydigby, he said, “Nino here wants to join the hikers' club and hike in the Blue Mountains, ha ha ha, ho ho ho,” and they both burst into uproarious laughter so that I felt embarrassed and more than a little resentful. However, they soon became serious and Haydigby said, “Cheerup, Nino. Pardon us, but you just talk a bit funny, that's all.”
I talked funny? Truly, they were humorous men.
“Never mind,” continued the first gentleman. “About joining, we'll fix you up, and we'll soon cure you of the hikin' habit. Here - come anmeet ED.”
Again, I was puzzled. I was quite whole and healthy, but they were going to fix me up. I wanted to hike in the mountains, but they would cure me of hiking. They were indeed difficult to understand.
As they led me across the dimly lighted hall, I saw that it was not packed with people at all. It was only in the immediate vicinity of the doors that one gained that impression.
Approaching a very attractive lady they called, “Hay Ed! Prospectiveforya. Nino,” they said turning to me, “meet Eddie Stretton, our Membership Secretary. She'll put you through the mill.”
The mill?“ I asked of the lady who came towards me with such a charming smile.
“Don't let it worry you, kid,” said the lady and the charm of her voice and the warmth of her smile were so comforting - and the fact that she spoke English - that I felt a desire to put my arms round her and hug her. I have felt the same desire often since.
However, another man hurrying past called out “Hi, Ed. Rakinemin?” and Ed turned away to call to him, “No. Not muchinkitty tonight. Onethough. Thisbloke”. Alas! She did not speak English for long.
She was a very intelligent lady and once she realised that I spoke only English, she instructed me in the formalities involved in becoming a member of the club, and explained very patiently that the club was composed of a superior race of beings who should not be confused with hikers.
Bushwalkers. I let the word roll around on my tongue. It was a good word. “If Shakespeare were alive,” I thought, “he would have used such a word often, and appended many epithets.”
After bidding me write some information down on a paper form, she introduced me to the club Treasurer, whose only remark was, “Gladterseeya, Nino. Nuther tenbobin kittyEd, eh?”
Having completed these rituals, the charming lady said, “Come and meet some of the folks, Nino.”
One, called Jack, was introduced as The President, and others were introduced in various ways. I learned that Edna was not the only secretary; in fact, there seemed to be quite a number who were either secretaries or assistant secretaries.
“This man, Jack,” I said Edna. “He is a very important man, yes?
“Well, now; he's the President, if you reckon that's important, Nino”.
“The President of the company I work for - it is a very big company; you understand - but the President, he has just one secretary. And this man, Jack, has many secretaries?”
For a moment the lady's eyes danced with mirth and I was afraid she was going to laugh at me, but all she said was, “Your President just hasn't learnt to organise like our Jack, Nino.”
Soon she hurried off to talk to someone else and I was left alone with my wonderment and a document entitled “Walks Programme”.
Looking at the dates, I observed that one expedition, scheduled for the following weekend, was listed as “Katoomba - Clear Hill - White Dog - Strongleg - Marooba Karoo - Mt. Cloudmaker - The High & Mighty - Kanangra Walls”. The names thrilled me and I was filled with great yearning to climb a mountain which had such wonderful titles for its various aretes and couloirs. It was at Katoomba; the Playground of the Blue Mountains; land of snow-white cliffs and sky-blue trees.
Seeking out the gentleman who first had accosted me, and whose very name, I learned, was Snow (his parents must really have been lovers of mountains, I thought), I enquired of him, “Snow - this expedition at the weekend; perhaps you could introduce me to the leader?”
Snow looked where my finger was pointing and said with a laugh, “Don't let that kidya, Nino. Digby, the white ant, won't even go half way.”
“Please, Snow, I do not understand. Digby? White ant? That is a termite, is it not?”
“Termite! You sedit, Nino. Digbyrigby; the original Termite Terminatus. The Black Duke of Anthracite himself.”
I was surprised. Digby, a duke? Yes, I was indeed surprised. He did not act like a duke. However, if he were the leader, then the expedition would probably resemble those famous explorations of the Duke of the Abruzzi. I was more desirous than ever of joining the party.
Soon, I stood before him.
“Your Excellency,” I began, “I wish to ask…”
He stepped backward; his jaw dropped open; his eyes bulged; and he swayed as if he were drunk.
“Hey, cumorfit, Nino,” he interrupted, “what's this excellency stunt?”
“I am sorry, but I have only just learned that there is royal blood in your veins.”
He looked more surprised than before and a group of people nearby commenced laughing impolitely and making sarcastic comments.
“Hear that? His Excellency, Digby!”
“Royal blood? Royal mud, more like.”
Digby spoke again: “Now, look here, Nino. The name's Digby. Just plain Digby. No title. Where'd you get this excellency business, anyway? That bloke, Brown, put you up to it?”
I did not understand, as I simply said, “You are the Duke of the Anthracite, yes?”
There was more impolite laughter, but his excellency soon recovered and said, “Just a nickname, Nino.”
“You are not a genuine Duke, then?” My visions of an expedition like that of the Duke of the Abruzzi began to fade.
I stated that I wished to join his expedition at the weekend, if he would accept me. I explained hurriedly that I had my own boots and rope, ten point crampons, pitons, carabiners and Prussic slings, and that I had already climbed the Matterhorn, the Weisshorn and the Pic d'Ahrens; so if there was nothing more difficult on this expedition…
“Hey, justaminute, Nino. Whodayathinkiam? Ed Hilary? This is a walking trip. No crampons. Got that?”
“Please?” I asked, feeling a little foolish once again.
“Look, Nino all you want is a pack, a fleabag and yer grub.”
“But I can join the expedition?” I persisted, not understand his vernacular.
“Yair, you can come. Yer orright, mate. But no crampons. No rope. Strike me! This ain't a Colinputt do.”
I went home that night in a haze of wonderment. No rope. No pitons. No crampons. Then how could it be different from hiking? I was soon to learn that there are, indeed, some differences - but I shall need a while to recuperate before I have the strength to finish my story.
Sanitarium Health Food and Vegetarian Cafe.
Easter is just around the corner…
In preparing light-weight foodlists for the four days, remember the advantages of the “Sanitarium” dehydrated foods. Also biscuits - they're much lighter than bread! Keep your weight down and your food value up!
Visit the Sanitarium Shop.
13 Hunter St., Sydney. BW1725.
There's nothing easier than sitting on your tail watching the scenery go by, especially with the blue sky above and a fresh breeze blowing against your face. Folk who enjoy that kind of recreation, plus a swim at lunchtime, should come on Brian Harvey's Launch Trip down Cowan Creek on Sunday 22nd February. 8.10 a.m. train to Turramurra, bus to Bobbin Head. Cost of boat about 10/-. Bring a thermos for morning tea afloat, and your swimming-cossie.
Ring Brian Harvey JW.1462 (B) or BU.1611.
The Northern Hemisphere Compass.
- Geof Wagg
If you've ever heard the expression used, that so and so is a “charlie”, and you've wondered just what exactly is meant, then read this story. This is about a real charlie.
The idea, if I remember correctly, was to do a marathon Sunday walk in order to demonstrate just how easy this type of walk really was - no! Don't laugh yet! Read a little further and have a really good one. And the next thing, although I can see now that I shouldn't have done it, or if I did I should have kept a wary watch for the twinkle in his eye, was to ask Malcolm to suggest a route as I had not the vaguest idea about Sunday walk country. Of course Malc suggested one (and I'll bet his eye twinkled) but all unheeding I copied it straight on to the Walks Programme without even viewing it on the map. It read:-
“Mt. Kuring-gai - Woodnuts - Bobbin Head - Cowan Creek - Bare Creek - Gordon Creek - Gordon”
I don't know if I can remember the names and conditions of all the members that started with me, but I can think of a few and I'm sure that others will occur as we go along. There was me (although I still sometimes get to wishing that I hadn't been) and there was Snow and Henry Ford and Heather Joyce and George Grey, and there was Stitt with his broken leg either still in plaster or just out, and a chap he picked up with from Bessarabia or Mesapotamia or Indonesia or somewhere. Oh yes, and there was Jane Putt too, who brought a friend of Colins from the Melbourne Walkers called Pat. Somehow Jane got the idea that we were leaving on the 6 p.m. train on Saturday night, whereas it was the 6 a.m. train on Sunday morning and I didn't realise her error until the last minute and had to send an urgent telegram. Then Jenny Madden thought she might come, either just before or just after Bruce was born, but as things turned out, I'm rather relieved that she didn't. So you see it was the kind of trip that you could say it was imperative it should go right - a trip that was taking place before the critical eyes and under the turned up nose of the world. You could say I should have been more circumspect about letting all these observers come on such a trip. You could say practically anything and be right - now!
Well, I had misgivings that morning right from the moment I opened one eye and saw the weather. It was the kind that causes most people to roll over on to their other side and go back to sleep. The kind that when you're outside, the sir droops so low you have to stoop to get under it. Anyway, I got up. The only bright spot in the morning was dragging Snow out because he felt even worse than I did.
We had something for breakfast that tasted like sawdust and discussed the transport problem. The problem was because some people with vehicles wanted to use them, but felt thwarted because the walk commenced and ended at far divergent points. Finally, it was resolved that Stitt should drive to Gordon (the proposed finishing point). Snow and George, with as many passengers as could be crammed in, would drive to Hornsby where we would all meet and proceed by train to Mt. Kuring-gai (the proposed starting point). Then after the walk Stitt would be able to drive the other drivers up to Hornsby for their cars and they in turn would drive back to Gordon for their passengers. This all sounds most involved, and, in fact, it was.
The only snag was that we finished the walk at another place that wasn't Mt. Kuring-gai or Hornsby or Gordon, but this didn't matter because Stitt had pulled out of the trip and gone home about midday, so he wouldn't have been able to drive anyone anywhere anyway. So that clears that up.
When, at Hornsby, all the starters were assembled and boarding the train, I noticed that Stitt was swinging from a thong on his wrist, an evil looking geology pick. I didn't think to ask him why he'd brought it, but I remember it made me feel rather uncomfortable.
Another unhappy incident occurred after we alighted from the train at Mt. Kuring-gai. I suddenly realised I had no definite idea of which side of the subway led in the right direction, or which road we should take. In a flap I dragged our the map and right there in the dim light of the subway began to puzzle it out. Presently I was rescued by some members who had apparently missed me, and frankly I was very grateful, although I did feel rather embarrassed as they dragged me into the light of day and the despising gaze of the party. I felt this augered not well for the future and so did they.
After this I relegated myself to the end of the line and everything went swimmingly all the way to Bobbin Head. As a matter of fact, “Swimmingly” is a very appropriate term because from about Woodnuts on, it rained like there was no bottom in the sky anymore.
Beneath one of the picnic shelters at Bobbin Head, everyone gathered to wring water out of their socks, hair, etc., in preparation for the next stage, up Cowan Creek. We seemed to be doing fairly well because it was still only 9 o'clock or so and I thought to myself that most Sunday walkers are just catching trains about now and felt almost happy again. So happy, in fact, that I thought I'd have another try at leading, perhaps to redeem my reputation. Little did I suspect the ignominy still in store. And yet the track along the bank seemed definite enough - how could anything go wrong.
I suppose you've seen that track up Cowan Creek. It ducks round behind Halvorsen's boatshed then, like most such tracks, follows faithfully the peculiarities of the bank. After about half a mile, the bushes began to hang over quite a bit, so I guess that this marks the extent of the average picnicers excursions.
We were no average picnicers. On we strode while the rain poured over us in unbelievable volume, loading every bush and branch so that to brush it was like being doused with a bucket of cold water. Rain saturated everything we wore and every word we spoke; trickled down collars and sleeves and dripped into eyes and ears; then every so often - splash - a branch would give you another bucketfull in the face. Henry Ford marched beside me tactfully passing on handy hints about the route. Stitto strode behind me swinging his confounded rock pick. After a while I offered to carry it and he peacably passed it over, much to my relief.
Just about then the main track started up a ridge end and we reached the extremity of Henry's prior experience. I wasn't so worried, however, because just across the slimy rocks of a side creek, I could see a continuation of the track. Ha! Ten paces later and round a corner, it vanished into a mass of rocks and tangled shrubbery.
“Better going in the creek,” I proclaimed. The creek rocks were awkward and slippery and, as well as that, the valley seemed to be dividing into about twelve different parts.
“If we climb up this side, we can't go wrong,” I decreed, and they credulously followed me. “Anyway, we'll be able to see where we're going,” I murmured.
From the top it became clear that our way was dissected by side creeks and we should actually have climbed a dividing spur in the centre about half a mile up. Down we went again, sidling in what seemed the right direction, but once in the gully, the misty rain closed in and just what was the right direction?
I wish to say here that I'd never used a compass before and I've never trusted one since, but I thought a compass might be useful, so I asked if anyone had one handy. Next thing this little chap was standing before me, holding out a compass and wearing the most trustworthy grin you've ever seen. Now I couldn't for the life of me remember seeing him on the trip before, although I suppose he must have been there all the time, and besides, I had other things on my mind, so I thanked him and took the compass.
“By the way,” he said, “it's a Northern Hemisphere compass.” And when it comes to snap decisions, I'm just the bloke to make then, right or wrong, so I said, “Right! We'll turn the map upside down.” So it was that we picked our route with the north direction of the map orientated to the south point of the compass.
Everything worked out well. We cross the creek here, take that ridge there, should be able to see that trig etc. etc.” I suppose the creek must have been flowing in the wrong direction, but the map was folded up small and I didn't notice that. Anyway, we crossed the creek, climbed the ridge, found the trig, lost half the party and settled down to wait. After much “hallooing”, they turned up and we pressed steadfastly on, marching along a track we'd found. Gradually we drew ahead of the group around Stitto, whose broken leg was troubling him some, and in this order we came to the road - which wasn't on the map!
The explanation came easily - too easily. “Old map, new road. Civic progress overtakes the cartographers.” And so we pressed on hoping to reach Bare Creek for lunch. Still we were uneasy. The road wasn't leading in quite the right direction and, come to think of it, that trig back there hadn't been quite right. Better have another look at the map.
“Look,” said Henry, “If we turn the map around like this. Now say we came up this ridge instead, there'd be the trig, the track, this road and even those houses there.”
As soon as he revolved the map I been to feel uncomfortable, and the discomfort increased with every word he spoke. My immediate thought was, “How on earth can I keep this from the others”, but even as I thought, I saw it was too late. They emerged from the scrub, looked at the road, then along it to where we'd halted. Someone took out a map and they all gathered round pointing at the map and at the country around. Stitt scratched his head in a puzzled way, then George pointed to the other side of the map. Slowly I saw the map revolve, they pointed to the map, the road, at me! They were all looking at me. Suddenly Stitt's voice rang out, “You fool Wagg!” and as one man they began to advance threateningly in my direction. The people in the houses around stopped whatever they were doing and stared, while the children ran to the fences determined not to miss a single stroke. Nearer and nearer they came, a row of blazing eyes, clenched fists and stomping feet. Nearer - nearer - stomp: Stomp! STOMP! STOMP!!
I don't recall what happened (I suspect Henry must have won them over somehow), but the next thing I remember, they were discussing what to do. As far as I can recall, Stitt and his friend from Indo China went one way and the rest of us went another. We seemed to go down a steep ridge side to a creek where we had lunch in a kind of cave. After lunch we climbed up another ridge, which they said was the right ridge, although it didn't look any different from mine. We walked a long way along a track until we came to a main road, but they just ignored this and crossed over as quickly as they could (between cars) and plunged down into the scrub on the other side. They said this was Bare Creek or Bear Creek - I don't know which - but from the way the cutting grass and other shrubbery grows, no-one could over have called it Bare Creek. On the other hand, we didn't see any bears either.
Anyway, we shoved painfully through this dense rhubarb and the afternoon wore itself away with little to enliven it except an eight foot carpet snake, which coiled itself around Henry Ford's arm.
The shades of night were falling fast and we were just beginning to face the thought of being overdue when someone said they could remember having had afternoon tea here on a trip led by Dave Ingram. This made us feel quite safe again to know we were on the beaten track, so we choofed along and presently came to a track, which came to a road, which in turn became a highway with a bus stop. We waited a while, but as no buses came, started to walk again along the highway. It was a terribly long way - about as long as the rest of the walk; and when we got near the station (which I can't remember the name of) they started to take to these back streets. These were all as black as the inside of a whale with his mouth shut and I reckon if Henry hadn't known his way about, we'd have been there yet.
Well, at last we arrived at this station (whichever it was) and I've never been so glad to hit Katoomba station after any walk I've over done as I was then. It didn't even end the way a decent walk does, with a good comrady trip home together in the train, because bods scattered every which way to pick up cars and catch trains, etc.
Ever since then I have been off compasses and off Sunday walks, although I don't suppose it is fair to blame Sunday walking for everything that happened that day. In less rational moments I am inclined to blame everything, even the rain, on that blasted northern hemisphere compass.
Hooray F' Schafer.
Just had news from Germany that Neil and Christa are engaged. Christa returned to Germany with her parents a while ago and Schafer has just caught up with her again.
White Water - Blimp - Caution On The Colo (Again).
The water immediately above the rapids clocked a speed of one point three miles per hour. We waded upstream a hundred yards and released a dye marker in the current. Slowly and evenly, the dye spread it's greenness out like a nebulous serpent, then smoothly and sinuously glided its way towards the white-water. “Let's paddle down to those rocks above the rapids, John - we can get a good look-see from there. O.K? Let's go then!”
“Say guy! We're not steering so well - chuck out the sea-anchor and see if it has any effect.” A rock appeared from below the surface and dashed past the rubber dinghy with a bad-mannered gurgle. Paddle like hell, we've gotta make that rock, the water's too deep to stand. Hell's bells, we must make that rock. The creaming foam started a menacing grumble.
The dinghy slipped below the rock as they grabbed hard. John and Jim clung to the rock with little avail. “See if you can get the end of the dinghy out of the water, mate, I can't get a hold on here. Cra–ash!
“Quick, quick, those two rocks there - the “twins” - that's our last chance.” Below lay a deep pressure wave, and beyond, a line of rocks barely perceptible in the frantic current.
The dinghy forced itself between the twins. The sea-anchor draped itself outside of the right twin. Jim swept down, missed a handhold and grasped at the second rock. John made the right twin. The splash-cover ripped itself off the dinghy. “Safe for the moment at least.”
“Hey Jim. My leg's jammed under the rock.” Minus a superficial portion of his shin, John managed to get his leg free of the main force of the current. “Wot now, mate. We're definitely out on a limb - an island if you like - but it sure looks a long way from home.”
Either side, the growling rapids rushed down to the deep pressure wave and the line of rocks beyond. What prospects now? No one minds a bashing and a bumping over rocks and under the water provided they know they'll eventually recover, but here it was different. Down that-a-way there was a really good chance of becoming a part of the river - permanently.
“We've got to get out somehow.” How's about letting the dinghy go?” “I want to save it if we can, John. It's deflating under the water-pressure. If we let it go now, I think we'll lose it before it reaches the calmer water. Let's see if we can yank it on to the top of the rock.”
Momentarily, John slipped back into the force of the current. With a heave, the dinghy came clear from between the rocks and rested on top. They pumped more air into the dinghy with the hand-pump.
“Seems to me that our only chance is to get back up to the right on that rock over there, then dive into the rapid on the far side. We should be half way across it by the time we start swimming for that backwater lower down.”
Jim succeeded in reaching the rock. The current wouldn't let you stand. “Toss the dinghy over this-a-way, John. We'll hurl it as far as we can across the rapid over here - it might even get into that backwater.”
The dinghy sailed through the air and landed in the rapid. The sea-anchor dragged and curved nicely about another rock at the foot of the back-water. The dinghy held fast.
John's turn came next. If he made a mistake he might not make another one. After some fast bumps and scrapes, they reached the river bank, which all goes to show that a ride in a Manly Ferry could be a lot safer!
Hatswell's Taxi and Tourist Service.
For all your transport problems contact Hattswell's Taxi and Tourist Service. Ring, write, wire or call any hour, day or night.
'Phone: Blackheath W459 or W151. Booking Office - 4 doors from Gardner's Inn Hote1 (look for the neon sign.)
Speedy 5 or 8 passenger cars available. Large or small parties catered for.
- Kanangra Walls - 30/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
- Perry's Lookdown - 3/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
- Jenolan State Forest - 20/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
- Carlon's Farm - 10/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
We will be pleased to quote other trips or special parties on application.
Be In The Swim Jim.
The Swimming Carnival on 14/15 February is a good opportunity to re-une with your walking comrades - an easy weekend in the green cool depths of the Woronora River with only 2 miles walk from Heathcote. If you're not a swimmer, you'll enjoy the entertainment of seeing others work hard whilst you sit on the bank and cheer your favourite home. A good campfire on Saturday night will be “on”.
The S.B.W. Car Trial No. 2.
Don't be festered by the fickle finger of fate, be festered by the fickle finger of professionals. Come to the S.B.W. Car Trial No. 2.
Trial to leave western entrance (Queens Road) Parramatta Park, Saturday, 28th February, at 1.30 p.m. (1300 hours). You'll need the Liverpool and Camden sheets, Sydney Street Directory, paper, pencil and a weird sense of humour.
Saturday night and Sunday noon camp are both located at swimming spots. The trial should finish at approx. 11.30 a.m. (1130 hours) Sunday. Trial distance - approx. 100 miles.
Those wishing to go and without cars, please notify leaders. Those with bombs or Hillmans, please notify leaders also if you have room for one or two beds.
Leaders: J. Brown B0543 Ext. 299. B. Anderson B0259 Ext. 302.
They Did Not Make It.
- Brian G. Harvey
My recent survey from our records, over a period of three and a half years, discloses that 56% of Prospective Members do not become members of the Club. Add to this figure the number who try out a couple of walks as “prospective” Prospective Members and others who make enquiries about our activities either through our telephone or the mail, and we have roughly one-in-three admission rate - surely a low ratio!
From my experience, it is difficult to pin-point the reason for this leakage, though I have discovered another Club loses five out of six - an appalling figure. I offer a few reasons for the state of affairs:-
- A lack of determination - a fatal trait in any bushwalker - you must “keep right on to the end of the road” or the top of the mountain, as the case may be!
- The unsuitable location of our Club-room - a more central location is urgently desirable.
- The substantial financial outlay necessary for the minimum essential gear required for camping weekends, with little prospect of high resale value if walking not pursued.
- Influence of other weekend recreations - competitive tennis, golfing, surf-clubs. The true walker has no other weekend “vices”.
- Timidity or insufficiently forceful personality to enjoyably fraternise with Members or other Prospectives.
- Being “burnt-off” by inconsiderate leaders - pace too hot - allowing Prospectives to come on walks beyond their inexperienced capabilities or getting wet with great discomfort early in the piece.
- A feeling of the “cold-shoulder” or lack of sympathetic interest in their early attempts to join walks. Loneliness in the Club-room.
- Last, but not least, the discovery that scrub-bashing in the harsh sandstone country surrounding Sydney is not a Sunday-school picnic with string bag and one cut lunch.
With a Prospective Members list over the last three years varying from 30 to 45, it is difficult for the Membership Secretary and her couple of willing Assistant Secretaries to keep in continuous touch with each and every Prospective to ascertain “how are you going,” or to follow up absenteeism from walks or appearances in the Club-room. They can't attend the three walks every weekend to find out who is getting about, nor do they have the co-operation, to any great extent, of Walks Leaders in turning-in Walks Reports. Again, with so many personal enquires to be interviewed every Wednesday night, it is impossible to get among the flock and keep in constant contact to check their progress.
Whilst some members do go out of their way to make Prospectives feel welcome and assist them with friendly advice and interest, the majority, who seem to quickly forget the Objects of the Club to which they glibly subscribed on joining, are only concerned with their own selfish enjoyment. The Club, amongst other things, was formed to amalgamate those who esteem walking as a means of recreation and to form an institution of mutual aid in regard to routes and ways and means of appreciating the great outdoors. Perhaps next time they come in they might have a look around the Club-room and get to know a few or the personalities behind the new faces they'll see wandering aimlessly about, or perhaps they might even invite them on their private walk. Members can also help by merely attending Official Walks now and again to get to know the new bods and not merely regarding them as a passing curiosity in the Club-room. Just for a change, some Leaders might put on Official Walks which Prospectives could reasonably attend, and not some super-severe bash, which, boiled down, is only a private walk for the Leader's group of walking friends under the cloak of an Official Walk. The brunt of the preliminary, medium and test-walk types of trips are being put on by a different, conscientious and unselfish group of members every Walks Programme.
I would like to see adopted a system whereby a Prospective Member, on first association with the Club, was introduced to an active member of the same sex and age-group who would regard the Prospective as a “Protege” during the prospective membership period - not necessarily to go on the same walks, but to help continuously in the early stages with advice on gear, food-lists, suitable walks to go on and to be introduced to the Walks Leaders. Surely there are sufficient in the Club who would come forward to take part in such a scheme, by remembering the Club Objects to which they subscribed, and actively doing something about it! Any comments?
The Importance Of By-Laws.
- Brian G. Harvey
A By-law has been defined as “An adopted motion which has a continuity of effect”. For example, a motion passed as far back as 8th March, 1929 - “That the Walks Secretary shall compile a Schedule of Walks volunteered by members” still holds good and hence we have the Walks Programme. Such aspects are not covered in detail in the Constitution but are the very necessary machinery to run the Club on sound lines.
It is also very important that all members shall know what “continuing effect” motions have been adopted in the past, otherwise a comparatively new member, on being elected an Office Bearer, would have to rely on “word-of-mouth” instructions from his predecessor - a dangerous and unsatisfactory system which encourages deterioration in the execution and efficiency of a job which will have the eventual effect of lowering standards and causing ommissions. The only way is to record By-laws on paper for perpetuity. It has been suggested that the Honorary Secretary keep such motions “indexed” instead of having them codified as at present. It would be a sorry spectacle at a meeting to have the Secretary pore through the index and turn up Minute Books for past decades to find something bearing on the subject brought up at a meeting while members impatiently wait for the meeting to get on with it.
The Club has come a long way by adhering to its present system of published by-laws (which unfortunately have lagged of late in the matter of publication but a matter now being rectified) and in so doing, amongst other similar ramifications, has become the most active club in Australia. Just compare our Walks Programme with any other club, and the solid support of members of long association with the club.
By-laws are merely created by the adoption of a motion at any business meeting when they are immediately known and become effective straight away. Section 13 of the Constitution (see your copy of the new print) provides for the Committee to make by-laws which are equally effective immediately on all members, whether on Committee or otherwise. But such Committee-made by-laws are kept a secret until they reach the light of day on a Notice of Meeting circular before the next Half-Yearly or Annual General Meeting, when the meeting is asked to ratify the Committee By-law, which may have already been operating for five months. Indeed a ridiculous state of affairs.
Committee-made By-laws should be made “public” straight, away, and not stored up in the Committee minutes.
There is no need to have the red tape as at present provided in Section 1e of the Constitution, with 14 days notice required to cancel or alter. By-laws, as a rule, effect only that section of the actively-interested active membership, which is composed by the 50/75 members we see regularly in the clubroom, and on walks. They are the ones who are doing the work. The others are mere financial assistance and would remain almost entirely unaffected by a new departure. Those present at our meetings are therefore competent to make, alter and revoke By-laws, and represent a very good cross-section of the Club.
The following motion is to be considered at the next Annual General Meeting:-
“That Section 13 of the Constitution be deleted and the following substituted:-
'Subject to the provision of this Constitution, the power to make, amend and cancel By-laws is delegated to:-
(a) The Comrittee, subject to any such By-Law or amendment or cancellation being ratified by the next monthly general, half-yearly or annual general meeting, whichever occurs first.
(b) Any monthly general, half-yearly, annual general or extraordinary meeting.'”
The Committee By-law is thereby immediately brought before the business meeting and dealt with straight away.
Let's get rid of the hocus-pocus!!!
Social Notes For February.
Come with Kevin Ardill to the romantic South Sea Isles on February 18th. See his Kodachromatic record of the yacht trip to Tahiti, Samoa, Rarotonga and a host of other equally colourful spots. Genuine photos of dancing girls, etc. with Kevin's inimitable comments on the 5 1/2. A show to remember.
Don't feel out of it at the Reunion, because we're going to sing songs from the NEW SONG BOOK. If you don't know the tunes, come in on 25th February when Geof Wagg is going to run through them - so BRING YOUR SONG BOOK! There's a host of new songs to learn, so be in it. Song books are available in the Club-room at 2/- each - see Grace Wagg with the coin.
Wed and Gone, or, Half Seas Over.
Bev Price and Don Reid, who were married on Friday, 23rd January, have really got the game sown up. The very next morning they boarded their boat and set out for Europe and the British Isles, not on any brief cruise, but for three years no less. Of course, there may be occasional spells of mundane employment (though only to provide contrast and to keep in touch with reality).
Quite a number of bushwalking types were present, including the well-known traveller, Mr. F. Rigby, who wore brown suede shoes and his own whiskers.
Bev came down the looking her loveliest (i.e. nothing like the way I have seen her look in the middle of a Tassie button grass swamp) and Don must go down on record as the “most unconcerned by doubt and fears” bridegroom I can remember.
Anyway, they're off on their voyage now. Good luck to the happy wanderers!
With Easter looming up, now is the time to check your gear for repairs and replacement and remind your friends who wish to hire for Easter that bookings are now open. If you have any repairs to be done, we would like it now, as we cannot guarantee delivery if you leave it till the last two or three weeks before Easter.
A few new lines have appeared since our last ad.
Aluminium cooking foil: 5' for 1/- or 32' for 5/-
Nylon tent cord, extra strong and light, unaffected by wetting - 4d. per yard.
“Glaze”, a new silicone cream for treating leather and canvas. Excellent water repellent - 8 oz. 8/6, 4oz. 5/6.
A new line in framed rucksacks, extra adjustable capacity, new system of weight distribution - £10/1/6.
New members and old, ask for latest catalogue and price list.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney. 'Phone: BM.2685.